Five Simple Steps to Take Right Now for a Healthier Lifestyle in 2015

Aggressive schedules, resolutions and to-do lists are fine if they serve to make your life easier, happier and healthier. But whether or not you adhere to your schedules, there are things you can do right now to make your life a little lighter, and brighten the lives of those around you.

  1. The first one that comes to mind is kind speech. I am reminded of the first of Don Miguel Ruiz' agreements. In his book, The Four Agreements, the first one he states is, "Be impeccable with your word." This not only means living up to verbal commitments, but speaking kindly to and about yourself and others. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "If you are motivated by loving kindness and compassion, there are many ways to bring happiness to others right now, starting with kind speech".

  2. Another way we can be healthier right now is by being aware of the importance of nutrition. Once we learn to eat mindfully, focusing on the taste, texture and meaning of what we are eating, we immediately cultivate a different relationship with food and we are better able to tap into our intuition about what we really want, rather than giving in to cravings, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."—Hippocrates.

  3. Embrace nature. Whether you live on a farm or in a high-rise apartment, there are ways you can appreciate nature. Take a few minutes to simply look at the sky and tune into feeling (rather than thinking) that you are a part of that grand expanse, looking at clouds, birds and flowers is particularly calming and centering. The trick is to simply observe nature without judgment and with as little thought and as much feeling as possible. Some people say this is as beneficial as meditation for reducing stress.

  4. Cultivate presence. Simply reminding yourself to stay in the moment, without worrying about the future or being depressed about the past, can go a long way toward maintaining a positive attitude. It is also beneficial to those around you. When you come home and you are greeted by kids, pets and others, take a minute to be present with them and give them your full attention. "The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."—Thich Nhat Hanh

  5. Take three deep breaths. "If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly."—Dr. Andrew Weil. There are many classes, books and audio programs that offer breathing lessons and many healing modalities are based on breath-work. Taking advantage of these would certainly be helpful, but right now there is an easy way to take advantage of the gift of your breath. No matter where you are or what challenges you are experiencing, simply take three deep breaths. Stop what you are doing and just breathe three times before returning to it.

There they are: speak kindly, eat mindfully, embrace nature, be present and breathe, our favorite simple ways to get more enjoyment out of life. Have a happy, healthy 2015 from your friends at Health Journeys.