It is a basic human drive to thrive and experience a joyful, life filled with purpose. Yet, despite the influx of the latest and greatest life hacks, self-help programs, and wellness products flooding the market , it is time tested, no-cost , and overlooked measures that ultimately help us to enhance and foster more excellent relationships with ourselves.
Here are a few simple tips that any of us can apply immediately to improve our well-being, enhance our health, and restore our peace of mind.
1. Live Debt Free
At some time or another, most of us have learned the stressful nature of debt. Studies have shown that high levels of debt can lead to, among other things, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, lowered immunity, and relationship issues. All of these can rob us of our well-being and cause us to lose control over our ability to manage our health and happiness.
One of the fastest and easiest ways of turning the ship around when it comes to debt is to commit to using only cash for purchases and eliminating the use of credit cards. Living within our means gives us an appreciation and a sense of fulfillment when we apply the resources we have, limiting our consumption and not wasting our financial resources on items we do not need. Saving money provides a sense of accomplishment, security and improves well-being.
While it is wise to have a credit card or line of credit squirreled away for a rainy day, being disciplined in our spending habits and paying down our debt can often do more for our sense of well-being and health than following the latest health trends and may-be even starting an exercise program.
Eliminating the stress of debt accumulation is a vital act of self-care which we can easily apply and commit to. Studies show that chronic stress makes us sicker and can contribute to life-threatening events such as stroke and heart attack more so than any other lifestyle behavior. Additionally, paying with cash in hand versus charging a credit card makes us more conscious of the amounts we are spending, giving us the opportunity to ask ourselves two important questions: “Can I afford this?” and “Do I need this?”
2. Organize Your Space
In our consumption centered culture, we are bombarded daily with endless advertising and are urged to buy and consume constantly. Before long we can find ourselves with living spaces packed with all manner of “stuff”, a lot of which serves no immediate purpose in our lives and, in many instances, has been collecting dust for years.
It is supremely gratifying to clean out and organize our spaces. Giving things away to the local thrift store or donating these unnecessary belongings to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, in addition to freeing up valuable room, also provides a greater sense of control and orderliness – all net positives for reducing stress and improving well-being. A study conducted by Dr. Nicole Keith of Indiana University found that out of a group of 998 subjects between 49 – 65 (a particular group of high risk demographic for heart disease), those who kept their homes orderly and uncluttered where healthier than those who didn’t.
3. Write Your Goals Down
We all have goals and dreams we want to realize. Whether they are of a personal, financial, social, or professional nature one of the fastest, proven ways to achieve those goals and manifest our dreams is to write them down. You can choose to keep them down in a journal or jot them on post-it notes or note cards and distribute them throughout your home or office. Prioritize your most pressing goal or need and spend a few minutes each day focusing on them. You can also elect to write positive affirmations toward the realization of your goal, reciting them several times day to keep it in focus in your imagination.
This inexpensive, proven method for creating the things we want in our lives can become an excellent life-long behavior, which is backed by research. A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University of 267 people found that those who regularly wrote down their goals and dreams were 42% more likely to achieve their dreams than those who didn’t. When one goal is realized or achieved, we can identify the next important goal and work on that specifically, using our desire to program our unconscious mind to make our ideal real. After all, thoughts actually are tangible forms of energy or “things”. By repeatedly thinking about something, we can help facilitate its realization.
Vision Boards are also very popular and provide not only an opportunity to produce a creative expression of our thoughts, feelings and desires, but can also serve as a daily visual reminder of what our desire and dreams are for the present and future.
Everything was a thought before it became a physical reality – the chair you are sitting on was a thought in someone’s mind before it was created. We can and do create our lives with our thoughts – so, to use the title of a best-selling book: write it down and make it happen!
Dave Ramsey: Cash vs. Credit Card: Which Should I Use?
Health.com: 7 Ways Debt Is Bad for Your Health
Psychology Today: The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness
HUFFPOST: The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams