Navigating your life through all of the unpredictable and predictable body, mind, and spirit challenges is very much like navigating your way through rush hour traffic. Dangerous drivers, accidents, traffic jams, crazy weather, and often indeterminate construction sites are just part of the daily challenges of driving. While neuroscience is allowing us to understand more about what’s happening inside us, we are still mostly in the dark.
Planning versus leaving it to chance generally ensures more lifetime success. But the truth is many things cannot be planned. Let’s focus on the ones that can be planned out, while understanding that the best laid plans can blow up at any time. The easy stuff first, which for many of us is not easy:
- Sleep is the number one thing we can do to ensure our health. The National Institutes of Health recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. Children need more sleep.
- Exercise is vitally important for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. 30 minutes five days a week will do wonders!
- Mindfulness Meditation is helpful for reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing immunity, strengthening the cardiovascular system, being more present, improving concentration and focus, and generally improving overall well-being. 20 minutes three times a week creates new neural networks.
- Develop strong relationships to allow for a positive support system.
- Eat clean, healthy foods.
- Be curious and engaged to stave off dementia.
- BE Happy.
For many of us, doing all seven of these practices can be overwhelming. We want to start out with sleep, work in exercise, and add a new practice one at a time until you are living your life healthfully. This is the foundation to navigating your life–At this point, evaluate how well you are doing. Do you have a purpose in life? Do you engage with others, look at the glass half full?
Next, analyze what will make you happier, have more fun, be healthier. Create a realistic plan to move forward, always with an understanding that life is fluid and unpredictable. Work is 1/3 of our lives. Is it only a means to an end, or do you enjoy it? Perhaps, a kayak is in your future or an animal companion.
Sometimes, talking it out is helpful. There is never any shame in seeking help. We are always available to listen, because Life is short and happiness can be a choice you make to enrich your life.