Vivir solo cuesta vida.
I saw these words spray painted in an alleyway in San Miguel de Allende when I visited Mexico. It means, “to live well only takes life.”
It was profound. I realized that my life was something I should pay attention to every day. I’ve stuck to those resolutions—they may be simple, but these happy life hacks could well make a big impact on your life.
Get Ready For 9 Happy Life Hacks to Live Longer and Better
Sure, it can be easy to just say, “live better! Be happier!” but we all know that things are much easier said than done. Just saying you are going to be happy doesn’t mean you’ll stick with it. Learning to live better can take some time, but it is well worth the effort. These happy life hacks will get you back on track to living your best life.
#1. Food Preparation
I get it. You’re a busy bee. Sometimes it’s just hard to eat well. When you’re working hard, the easiest thing to do is run to the corner store and grab a hoagie and a sugary soda. But what if you were able to eat healthy, for way less than the price of your rushed lunch?
By making a few meals all in one day, you’re always able to have a great option when you need it. People who plan and create meals have lower overall weight and more food variety, which is great for your health.
#2. Mindful Eating
You took the time to make a few delicious meals for the week. Great job. Now, let’s separate them into sensible sizes. That’s right; portion control is just as important as what you eat.
Did you know that people with more restricted calories live longer? You can avoid diabetes, high blood pressure, and joint degradation if you eat sensible portions enabled by a food prep routine.
By filling your plate with healthy vegetables, protein, fruits, and grains, you can have a great meal. Make sure to follow guidelines to keep your plate the right size. Place the correct size portions into Tupperware, so you have a meal to throw in your lunch bag every day.
#3. Move Your Body
It’s no surprise that staying moving keeps you moving. If you remember high school science, you remember “an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest.” Newton didn’t document it, but that holds true for the body as well.
It’s never too late to start moving. A 123-year-old man from Bolivia says that his long life is all thanks to daily walks. So get your body moving — if you can only fit in 30 minutes at lunch, it will help you live a longer, happier life.
#4. Keep a Journal
Bullet journals are filling up my news feed on Pinterest. I know I could never draw like some of these amazing people do, but you don’t have to be an artist to start writing down your thoughts — I bought a simple daily diary. I write down what I ate that day, how I felt, and if anything crazy happened. It doesn’t have to be much.
Think about it this way: If you’re a stress eater, you can start to see that pattern. If walking helps to reduce your anxiety, you can put two and two together. By keeping a simple journal, you can help alleviate stress, lose weight, and decompress after a long day.
#5. Oral Health for Your Overall Wellness
Brushing your teeth seems like a normal chore, right? It’s so much more. The World Medical Association even issued statements in their Tokyo Declaration that “life‐long oral health is a fundamental human right.”
Your teeth are so important to healthy eating. Older people who have lost teeth are at a higher risk of infections. Gum disease also contributes to heart issues, which can negatively impact your life. Take your time, brush well, floss, and avoid sugary snacks.
#6. Start a Library
With my phone close at hand, I find myself reading my newsfeed far more often than I read the latest bestseller. Even with reading tablets, you may not take as much time to relax with a book.
That’s a shame because book readers live longer. Studies show that there’s a significant increase in lifespan, especially with older people. When you activate your imagination by reading a work of fiction, you’re also waking up lots of different areas of the brain.
#7. Activate Altruism!
If you’re a kind-hearted person, you probably think of others. Volunteering your time in an altruistic way can make you more likely to live better and longer. It’s important to give of your time to help others, and not for selfish reasons (like Instagram likes or personal reasons). And being interested in others becomes a fulfilling experience.
There are so many ways to help out. You could spend time at a homeless shelter, clean up a highway, or volunteer for a crisis call center. Giving your time to others can help you live a longer and happier life.
#8. Come On, Get Happy!
Now, I know that simply yelling “BE HAPPY!” to someone isn’t going to cure them of depression. But by taking steps to increase your overall mood, life becomes really fun. Don’t think that what works for one person will work for you: studies have shown that each person’s genetic makeup is important in determining their feelings and mood.
Sometimes it means watching your favorite tv show. It may be some time outside and taking in nature, or painting a scene. In some cases seeing a therapist or medication can help you find new happiness. It’s important to listen to your body and your brain to see what works for you.
#9. Counting Sheep
My favorite hack is here: sleep!
I’d be dead without sleep — literally. Those with sleep issues can have a higher risk of gaining weight, heart issues, and overall poor health.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to make your space as relaxing as possible. Clear out the clutter and turn off the TV, and 100 percent put down your phone. Listen to soothing sounds and spay a relaxing scent, like lavender — which has been shown to increase relaxation and improve sleep.
Life isn’t set in stone. Even if you’ve been out of focus, it’s not too late to restart a great life. Taking the time to eat right, move your body, and sleep will improve many aspects of life.
I hope you find joy every day—even in small happy life hacks that’ll help you live better longer lives. Let us know what you think.