Health starts with small things. Daily gestures and habits that we may not give much weight to but instead say a lot about our psychological attitude towards life and its difficulties. Knowing how to get the most out of every day and bring back the healthiest daily behaviors into our habits is the precious skill in life. We talk about this topic with Dr. Katia Rastelli, psychotherapist at Humanitas.
Eight ways to simplify your life
Finding self-help tips on the net is as easy as it gets. But are they really good suggestions? The best thing to do is always to follow the advice of doctors and specialists, the only qualified professionals in the field of health and wellness. Here are eight “approved” suggestions that can represent valid advice for all moments of life.
Moving is beautiful. Whether in your own room, up or down a few flights of stairs, or in fitness classes or during your running session. The ability to stretch, bend, turn, tiptoe and walk or run is a health boon for everyday life. You have to learn to “enjoy” your body. Physical exercise keeps the heart, mind and muscles healthy and trained and it starts from finding the pleasure of moving.
Health (including mental health) starts at the table. There is no doubt that what we eat can actively influence our day, our health and how we think and feel what happens to us. The “standard” advice, always valid for everyone, is to avoid processed or too rich foods, trying to keep a varied menu as much as possible and to eat according to our real sense of satiety. The secret is to focus on the variety of what we eat and not on the quantity. Colored fruits and vegetables, in addition to good humor, help to get more vitamins and fiber.
Express yourself through music and singing. Singing a melody or a song, playing, making music in general has a positive impact on health. You don’t need to possess extraordinary talents to appreciate it. Everyone has a favorite song, and singing alone, or in groups, helps release endorphins into the brain that can make us feel better during the day.
Spend more time outdoors. Fresh air and different landscapes stimulate the body and curiosity. Feeding yourself with different scenes and sounds to keep your imagination open, meeting new people or renewing old acquaintances, is a way to stay in balance. Doing what we love or trying something new is very important. Just as it can help you read a book or walk home by doing another way.
Sweet sleep. To get the most out of the day, you need to get enough sleep at night. Lack of sleep contributes to daytime distraction, depressed mood, poor decision-making, decreased immune function and even inability to lose weight. That’s why the quality of your day and your health depends on a night of regular sleep.
Helping others. As you sing, being kind to others, showing empathy, releases chemicals into your brain. Positive (albeit small) actions have a great effect on others and their performers.
Fill your eyes with beauty. Human beings seek and respond to beauty. Not the virtual and contracted one: the beauty of a city, the eyes of the beloved. Each of us knows what is beautiful for us and knowing how to recognize it means knowing how to make our lives better every day.
Giving value to the path rather than the goal. No matter where we are: joy and pleasure must always be sought in the journey, in the path to be completed and not in the result or in the goal to be achieved. Giving value to one’s body and time means searching for and finding meaning in one’s work and living to the full every day.
The synthesis of the psychotherapist of Humanitas
“The key word is to take time for yourself, regularly, leaving aside at least for a moment, past thoughts and future concerns – commented Dr. Rastelli. It is important to unplug, even just 10 minutes a day, to focus on the present moment, on something pleasant. This involves managing duties but also, and above all, giving space to pleasures. We need time to eat well, to cultivate our hobbies, to be with pleasant people. This allows us to develop a more positive approach to life, precisely because, at least in some moments, we manage to maintain the feeling of being the protagonists of what happens to us, developing a proper sense of self-efficacy.
As the psychotherapist points out, the old routines can be “broken” little by little, thanks to the small changes made in daily life: “If we do not have the opportunity to enroll in the gym or perform structured physical activity, it may still be useful to buy a pedometer. Spending more time outdoors then serves our body to produce vitamin D, useful not only to the immune system but also to maintain an adequate tone of mind. In the same way it can be useful to create regularity in the number of meals, 5 per day, possibly prepared at home and consumed in an atmosphere of relaxation. Let’s not forget that colors, scents, and aesthetics of the dish are important and sometimes able to really raise our spirits after a day of stress. Finally, we learn to ask others for their help. If everyone carries out a specific task and, for example, helps in the common management of the house, everyone will benefit from it by having more time to recharge with other interests”.