Four ways to live a happier and healthier year in 2021Dec 18, 2020 10:45AM ● By Dr. Sean T. Lordan
1. Show gratitude. Specifically, I am asking you to track what makes you grateful. Writing down one thing each day that you are grateful for will remind you that life isn’t all that bad.(Yes, even in the midst of a seemingly never ending pandemic.) Gratitude helps stimulate seratonin and dopamine in your brain to enhance your mood and overall well-being. My professional tip: buy a notebook and start your day by writing one thing that makes you feel grateful. If you have more time, then try something similar to what I do. I am writing “letters to my daughter” with a personal goal of contributing three letters per week for the entire year of 2021. The key is, if I miss a week I do not get down on myself. I may simply add an extra entry the next week. No one is perfect, so don’t give up if you forget to log. As you view the accumulation of what you have noted you are grateful for, you will notice certain topics begin to show up most often. Reflect on those items and spend more time each week nourishing those relationships and the areas that you’ve personally identified.
2. Start counting. For this you will have to find a partner! Use a food tracking application on your smartphone to record what you eat daily for one week. Next step, review it with your partner and pick out the flaws in each others’ diet. An app like mynetdiary will intake basic information from you in order to give you an accurate calorie count daily. You should be slightly under that mark if your intention for 2021 is to lose weight. Your partner’s role is to keep you accountable to your overall calorie count, and to provide tips to “swap this for that” for simple changes to make your diet more nutritious. If either you or your partner is having difficulty with this task, consider reaching out to a nutrition coach for tips. I use Valerie Legendre, a former Doctor of PT who now is a health coach helping people to meet their holistic health goals.
3. Make a commitment. Yes, I said it. However, note that I am not talking about spending two months’ salary at the jewelry store. Make a commitment to yourself and your personal fitness. In doing so, promise yourself that you will spend 20 minutes a day exercising. Exercise comes in many different varieties. Maybe one day it is a body weight workout streamed from YouTube. Another day is a combination of exercises from the free reports listed on my website. Perhaps another it is 20 minutes on the Peloton. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you chose; the key is that you are exercising consistently. Consistency is the ingredient essential to making gains. Equate this advice to faithfully putting $50 per week into the stock market. Overtime, your account will grow and pay dividends. What are the dividends associated with working out you might ask? The answer is simple. There are many. You will most likely enjoy a longer, healthier life, have fewer ailments, increased vitality, and overall reduced risk for disease. How’s that for starters?
4. Step out of your bubble, stimulate your brain. Choose one new activity for 2021 that will challenge you. The possibilities are endless. You may chose to join a book club. Maybe you will pick up a new hobby like pottery or surfing. Perhaps it will be a personal challenge to read 50 books by the end of the year. Your brain is adaptable and always changing to adjust to the world around you. The more you stimulate your brain with new activities, the better. Your brain releases BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) when experiencing something new, as it does during exercise! BDNF acts to enhance and improve connections among your brain’s synapses. If found in high enough levels, it has been shown to improve your memory and reduce your chance of Alzheimer’s dementia.
There you have it! Four tips to live a happier, healthier (and successful) 2021. May you have a wonderful holiday season, and may God bless you and your loved ones. As always I can be reached at [email protected] for any further questions or comments.