4 Tips to Boost Your Well-Being

well being

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters: our well-being. A sound body and mind encompasses various aspects of our lives: physical, emotional and social. Taking care of ourselves allows us to live a balanced and fulfilling life.

Move your body

A sound body houses a quiet mind. Exercise is the most powerful tool we have in improving our quality of life, including keeping our sanity. Whether it’s high or low impact activities, after releasing endorphins and increasing your heart rate, your mood is bound to be noticeably different.

Physical activity improves cardiovascular and muscular health. It also lowers body mass index and relieves stress for all body types. When exercise is a regular component of a healthy lifestyle, it reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels. These hormones are directly related to stress responses. When these hormones are well-regulated, periods of depression decrease and cognitive function is greatly increased.

Too much cortisol also results in stubborn abdominal fat storage. Exercise is nature’s way of providing pain relief and mood elevation. Anyone suffering from anxiety can experience some form of relief after 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, including indoor spinning, walking or dancing.

Stream an exercise video or simply use a jump rope and some weights. You can always use your body weight to achieve your fitness goals. At times of high stress, the body needs a release, which will allow you to get higher quality sleep, build muscle and relax your mind. Only 30 minutes of moderate exercise can actually release stress.

What if you are one of those people who hate to exercise? The easiest thing to do is experiment with a multitude of physical activities. Not everyone can run a marathon or contort into a downward dog. Exercise is personal and should be fun. Think of which activities you loved as a child. Chances are you can find adult versions online. Adult ballet is a great option, as are adult gymnastics and adult sports leagues.

Mix up your physical activities. For example, make Mondays your walking days, and Thursdays can be dedicated to scenic bike rides. Try to think of activities you can do indoors in the morning and a few outdoor ones to enjoy with your family in the evening. If you still have not found your new favorite exercise after a few days, make a playlist of your favorite songs and dance like nobody’s watching. In a pinch, you can also march in place while binge-watching. With so many benefits of exercise, you must truly consider it part of your lifestyle.

Get some shut-eye

Every person on the planet has had at least one night of lousy sleep quality. Tossing and turning can truly have devastating effects the next day and beyond. In times of severe stress and poor health, sleep may be considered a luxury.

The concern with poor sleep quality is that it can evolve into insomnia. True chronic insomnia is characterized by trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Acute insomnia results in low energy, worsening concentration and unstable moods. Sleep disruption will usually go away after a few days. If a person is experiencing at least three months of unsatisfying sleep, they should consider whether there are deeper underlying problems and consult a doctor.

To get restful sleep and avoid bouts of insomnia, be careful to stick to a strict sleep schedule. Naps should be limited to no more than 20 minutes. Any longer and you will take away from your night’s sleep. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.

Your body loves patterns and routines. Practice good sleep hygiene and only climb into bed right before you plan to fall asleep. If your mind associates your bed with work or play, it will automatically feel less drowsy when you begin the process of falling asleep by getting into bed.

Create a sleep ritual that does not involve your phone. The blue light it emits hinders your sleep quality because your brain cannot tell the difference between sunlight and your phone. Place your phone outside your bedroom at a designated time. If you worry that you won’t be able to hear it in case of an emergency, simply place it in a metal bowl to amplify any ringing or notifications.

Your mind does need at least 20 minutes to unwind from the day. Adult coloring books have exploded in popularity. The act of coloring serves as a chill pill for many. Find coloring books that you enjoy and pick up some crayons from any discount store. Pick a place in your house where you can create your nightly masterpieces. Set a timer so you don’t get too energized by your creations. If you aren’t the creative type, opt for some stretching or tidying up to unwind. Any activity that puts your mind at ease and prepares your body for sleep is a stellar option.

One sleep accessory that is getting rave reviews is the weighted blanket. These can be bought for a relatively low price for all the benefits they provide. Weighted blankets mimic the feeling of being swaddled as a baby and lead to more restful sleep for many.

You can also designate a specific fragrance that will signal to the brain that it is sleep time. Many people choose lavender or rose to evoke soothing memories or emotions. Avoid peppermint or eucalyptus because they are known for their energizing properties.

Reduce caffeine

Coffee, tea and hot chocolate help many wake up and conquer their day. Caffeine is one of the most widely used natural substances in the world. An estimated 54 percent of Americans drink coffee and 43 percent enjoy tea. The average daily caffeine consumption is a whopping 300 mg. Although there is truly an art form around grinding carefully selected beans, coffee can wreak havoc on your sleep.

Coffee inhibits your brain from being receptive to adenosine, the chemical that is responsible for your body feeling sleepy. This block, coupled with the fact your body immediately reacts to the caffeine, can disrupt your body’s internal alarm clocks that signal alertness and sleepiness.

Effects of coffee peak in your body within 30 minutes and stick around for up to five hours. Just because coffee helps you get through the day does not mean the effects go away when the sun sets. High levels of caffeine consumption during the day mean your body is so wired from the caffeine that you do not actually sleep deeply enough for your body’s liking.

Even if you stop drinking coffee a full six hours before bed, the caffeine reduces the quality of your sleep by a full hour. This creates a vicious cycle of needing coffee to wake up because the previous day’s cups are still being processed by the body.

If you have a ritual around coffee, you can create one for herbal tea instead. Explore loose tea or use tea bags. Boil water in the kettle or pot and allow steeping for a few minutes to unleash the full flavor.

Many people only like tea when they are congested or cannot sleep, but herbal tea is a great way to hydrate and relax. Herbal teas can also help with a variety of ills. Ginger tea aids digestion, dandelion tea can help with weight loss, and lavender tea can be immensely relaxing, especially when it’s part of a nighttime ritual. Nature is the way to heal most of the body’s ills. After your body has experienced proper hydration, a dependency on coffee or tea is not needed.

Create a space that’s a happy place

Finding a center of calm that you can always tap into may seem too good to be true. Modern life has us all rushing to the next big thing in hopes it will provide us with instant gratification. After our internal power is harnessed, we can release the fear of what is going on in the outside world and find quiet. This does not mean going into denial about current situations.

Mediation gives those who have a practice the space needed to see the bigger picture more clearly. Going within provides the only true way to lessen anxiety and focus on resilience.

A panicked train of thought starts a few thoughts before it becomes noticeable. If a person can recognize their thoughts are leaning toward the darker side, they can think critically about the situation at hand and reduce anxiety by returning to the present moment.

Many times, we feel a sensation or emotion in our bodies and attach a personal story to it. This could be something as soothing as a day at the beach or as unpleasant as a negative personal memory. Mediation gives us the inches of space needed in our heads catch our figurative and literal breath in such a fast-paced world.

By not allowing negative thoughts to gain momentum, self-soothing behaviors that include face and hair touching are not needed. Spending a few minutes in absolute quiet each day is a beneficial practice. You could even turn hand washing into a moment of mindfulness by being fully present during each step.

The first few times you practice mindfulness or meditation might result in frustration because it feels like nothing is happening; your thoughts might start racing. The goal is not to pause your thoughts. Your mind is designed to always be thinking of the next step in your survival and figuring out patterns. What you can do is simply observe your thoughts as they pass by. All thoughts pass. You simply have to let them.

There are many ways to let your mind unwind while still being awake. Mediation is a great way to fully live in the present moment. There are plenty of apps, such as Headspace, to help you find the quiet in the tiny spaces between thoughts. These spaces will expand once attention is paid to them. You can also select a song that does not have words that you can listen to at any time to tap into good energy.

Journal as a practice or to empty your mind as much as possible before going within. Start by making a list of what you are grateful for each day. This could be your pet, time with family or working remotely. Try to come up with something new every day to prevent the list from getting repetitive. Recall a pleasant conversation with loved ones, neighbors or someone you saw when going for a short walk.

Nurturing your physical and mental health can prevent anxiety from burdening your mental health and thus boost your well-being.


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