Provided by Spine Care of San Antonio:

No one ever plans to live a stressed out and depressed life.  Unfortunately, it is easy to get down in the dumps and stay that way.  But you don’t have to; there are some things you can do to help clear away the dark clouds and allow the sunshine back into your life.  By making simple changes in your everyday routine, you can become a person that feels good about yourself and the world around you regardless of your circumstances.  Listed are seven ways to accomplish becoming a happier, healthier you.

1.  Do Good

It is almost impossible to help someone and not feel good about it.  Being kind is beneficial for the giver and the receiver.  So, find a way to be a blessing to others.  Your good deed can be as simple as calling or texting someone to let them know you are thinking about them to paying for a stranger’s groceries.  Practice random acts of kindness and see if you don’t begin to feel at least a little happier. 

2.  Chill Out

Stress can cause you to eat more which turn can lead to adding on the pounds.  That’s one good reason why learning to unwind is essential.  Unfortunately, in this age of cellphones, social media, and reality television, it can be hard just to relax and do nothing.  However, being bored can be extremely beneficial for both your mind and body.  Spend some time just resting in your favorite chair.   Strive to get up a little earlier each morning so you can take the time to stretch, enjoy a bubble bath or long hot shower, and maybe even listen to some music before starting your day. 

3.  Go Outside

Get out of the house or office for a while and head outdoors.  Spending some time enjoying nature can help to rebalance both your mind and body.  Taking a just a five-minute jog can improve self-esteem and confidence in addition to burning a few calories.  If walking is more your style, be sure to make your steps brisk, keep your arms bent at 90-degree angles, and your spine straight.  Whether running or taking a walk, make sure you draw in long, deep breaths while taking in all the sights and sounds of everything around you.   

4.  Sleep Better

Don’t be such a night owl.  People who stay up later consume more calories per day than those who retire early.  Keeping your bedroom temperature between 65 to 70 degrees and as dark as possible can help you sleep more soundly.  Your body translates the blue light in most electronics as sunshine, so be sure to turn off all devices at least two hours before retiring.  Messes can also send a wake-up message to your brain, so you want to keep your nightstand and bedroom organized and clutter-free.                        

5.  Watch Your Diet

What you put into your body affects not only your waistline but also your frame of mind. For this reason, it is important to include healthy foods such as Greek yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, grapefruit, and berries into your diet for an array of health benefits.  Also, drink water often to keep your brain from mistaking thirst for hunger and thus snack mindlessly.  Certain foods such as flaxseeds, cod liver, walnuts, mackerel, herring, and soybeans are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which contain proteins that fight inflammation and decrease body fat.  Strive to get at least two servings of these food items into your diet each week. 

6.  Energize Your Body

There are many ways to rejuvenate the mind and body throughout the day.   For instance, if you spend most of your time sitting, try to standing up at least once every hour.  Doing so can help to increase your energy level while lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure.  When not standing, sit up straight to improve mood and confidence.  Rotating the water in the shower from warm to cool can help to boost circulation. 

7.  Practice Gratitude

Learning to be content regardless of your circumstances is the key to true happiness.  One of the best ways to accomplish contentment is to count your blessings.  Look around, and you can always find reasons to be thankful.  Keep a daily journal and write down things you are grateful for and refer back to it whenever you begin to feel down. 

Unfortunately, there are times when depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  If you suspect you are suffering from a medical condition, please see a professional immediately.  For everyone else, it is best to remember that happiness is a choice.  You must learn to focus on the positive.  So the next time you begin to feel overwhelmed, try some or all of these simple tips for a happier, healthier you.

For information on pain management, visit Dr. McKee at Spine Care of San Antonio