ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

6 beneficial habits you should try.

Beneficial habits you should try.

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

For over a year, I have been attempting to make improvements to my life using self-development. Along the way, I tried out many habits, a handful with numerous benefits that have improved the quality of my life and will most likely improve yours too. Below are the 6 most beneficial habits that I have come across in the past year.

  1. Reading

As spoken about in a previous article of mine, reading as a habit took some time to get into motion. However, when I started reading, I had a few unexpected benefits. My focus was increased, I was able to concentrate on tasks for a lot longer and I was also able to learn a lot more and gain more information due to reading more books. I then was able to use the skill of concentration and focus on other task and increase my productivity.

Reading is not for everyone, but it is something that benefits everyone. Even just making a small change to your routine and reading one page a day could have you noticing benefits that you didn’t think you would get from taking the time to read a single page.

Other benefits of reading daily stated by websites such as Lifehack, Ideapod, and Thinking Mindset are:

  • Brain stimulation
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved Knowledge
  • Improved memory
  • Improved analytical thinking

2. Exercise

Regular exercise. The one habit that may seem most dreadful on this list. It is the one that requires the most effort on the list as it takes the most physical effect on your body. However, it is one I would recommend to everyone.

Exercise doesn’t have to be hours in the gym lifting weights or running for miles on end, it can be as small as going for a walk for 5–10 minutes down the road or skipping for a couple of minutes or doing 10 sit-ups.

Exercise doesn’t have to be exhausting, it’s been prompted too much as an activity where if you’re not giving it your all, sweating gallons and cutting of pounds like days of the week then you’re not doing it right. This is all wrong, exercise can be fun and relaxed. When I started making an effort to exercise daily, I found that general movement was a lot easier. When doing standard day-to-day tasks everything seemed a little easier to do.

Unlike gym addicts, I didn’t take the approach of working out until I was fatigued, I skipped for around 5 minutes, did some simple bodyweight exercises such as push-up, squats, and crunches, and in the end, it only took me 20 minutes. It was something quick I could do that would improve my health.

I also had several benefits that you could expect from regular exercise; my energy increased as I had more stamina, I looked in better shape and I felt healthier internally and mentally. My increased energy also increased my productivity.

Other benefits of regular exercise according to Healthline, NHS are:

  • Stronger muscles and bones.
  • Improves skin health.
  • Improved sleep quality.
  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer.
  • a 30% lower risk of early death.
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression.
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

3. Meditation

Meditation is the habit where I felt the most benefits and that I would recommend the most. As cliché as it sounds, meditation improved my ability to be present at the moment. I didn’t have fewer thoughts no, although I did notice that I was able to let go of thoughts better. I wouldn’t find myself overthinking as much or imagining some silly scenario in my head about if something bad was to happen in my day. I felt as if I was able to cope with situations better.

Other perks from daily meditation were increased mental strength, reduced stress, improved sleep, and I seemed better at handling situation and problem-solving. Almost like my thoughts were organised so I could Manoeuvre throughout the day much better. The Healthline list a range of benefits that others have noticed from participating in meditation.

At first, I kind of thought the habit seemed a bit naff. I’d heard about it in the miracle morning book. I had nothing to lose, so I thought why not try it, anyway. I didn’t know how to start and unless you’ve done it before you most likely wouldn’t either, so I downloaded an app called headspace which I have been using for over a year now. It’s assisted meditation, guiding you through each step and making the practice seem as smooth and natural as possible.

You may not feel all the benefits straight away, it’s the type of habit where you need to try it for a few days for the effects to compound together to feel the benefits. It can be done in as little as 5 minutes. If you have a spear break, give it a go.

Science-backed up benefits of meditation, as stated by Healthline and Shredify are:

  • Improved emotional health.
  • Helps control anxiety.
  • Improved attention span.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Lowers cortisol levels.

4. Saving money

Saving money is a habit that improved not only my financial situation but my mental state too. It improved my mental state due to having a nest egg, a safety net. If some unexpected payments were to arise I would be able to pay it with ease and less effort, I wouldn’t need to panic or worry about having to pay for things as I would have an amount that I could rely on to help me out.

It improved my financial situation by having money to buy things if I need to buy or wanted to buy. I wouldn’t have to wait till I got paid, I wouldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, it may have taken a few months for the money to start to accumulate to something that would be significant, but when you get to a certain amount, it is worth it.

You should try making a habit of saving a small portion of your wages every time you get paid, even if it is just $5 or $10, it all adds up. Just saving $10 a week gives you an extra $520 at the end of the year. I know some people say save rather than invest, however, if your car breaks down and you need to pay for it asap, an investment may not be able to pay for it straight away. It’s always good to keep a small amount of saving as a backup.

Benefits of saving money according to The Balance and Home Business are:

  • Emergency fund.
  • Limiting debt.
  • Saving for a big purchase.
  • College education.
  • Financial freedom.

5. Reducing your sugar intake/ quitting sugar

Reducing your sugar intake can have a host of benefits such as clearing up your skin, reducing blood sugar levels, improving heart health and bodily functions, improving your taste buds, improving dental health, and lots more.

To get into this habit, there are two methods you could try, going cold turkey and cutting out sugar all at once or gradually bring your intake down over time. There is no right or wrong. When I started this, I cut out all sugar at once. That way I wouldn’t be tempted to have more if I had one bit of sugar.

Try exchanging unhealthy snacks for healthier substitutes such drink water instead of fizzy drinks, eating fruit instead of sweets or even eating more fuller healthier meals so that you don’t feel the need to snack.

The first few days may seem hard at first, but it gets easier after about 3 or 4 days. If you do end up eating something which you should not be eating, don’t beat yourself up about it, just enjoy the snack and move on; start again tomorrow. Each time you do eat something unhealthy, try going a bit longer the next time, even if it is only for a day or two and slowly build up your mental resistance to eating sugar and so your body gets used to not consuming sugar for longer.

Benefits of reducing sugar stated by Medibank and Health:

  • Reduced risk of diabetes.
  • Reduced body fat.
  • Increased energy.
  • Improved mood.
  • Improved digestive system.
  • Clearer skin.

6. Drinking more water

Drinking more water benefitted me in a few different ways. It helped clear my skin (along with reducing sugar intake), helped keep my skin hydrated and improved the quality of my skin and it helped me stop snacking on foods as it would fill me up between mealtimes. Although the main benefit was clearing my skin as it would clean out my system, the other benefits were great too. The one unexpected result from doing this however was when I noticed that after drinking more water, I would feel more energized and less tired throughout the day.

It can be hard to increase your water intake straight off the bat. This is due to your body not being used to high intakes of water, you need to build it up. Start by drinking an extra cup of water or two on the first day, then gradually increase it over the next couple of days, until you are consuming the amount that you want to. You will need to go to the bathroom a lot more when you first start but after about a week your body should get used to holding more water and you won’t need to frequent the toilet so often. Try not to drink more than your body can handle and make sure that it is a comfortable amount.

Benefits of drinking water stated by Healthline and Medical News Today:

  • Maximizes physical performance.
  • Improves energy levels.
  • Treats and prevents headaches.
  • May help treat kidney stones.
  • Improves skin health.
  • Lubricates joints.
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you found it helpful and think it could help someone else, then please share it with them.

I’m an independent writer, writing mainly on self-development. I occasionally write on personal experiences, interests, business, criminology, books, and places. If you are looking for a way to try and better yourself, then please feel free to read some of my other articles linked below as you may also benefit from and enjoy them.

Thank you again, if you enjoyed it, please feel free to follow and 👏🏽👏🏽

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Louie J.

Louie J.

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Independent writer. Sharing my experiences on my journey with Self-development to help you with yours. Following a passion project. Follow to learn, lets go!