Not too long ago, my health took a nosedive: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. At some point, we all will hit a rough patch in life.
But, just as the clouds come and go throughout our days, these moments shall too pass. Here are nine ways I stay healthier, smarter, and saner.
1. Don’t lend your self-worth card out to anyone
I fell into the comparison trap and marginalized my life and self-worth while over-exaggerating the lives of those on Instagram and magazine covers.
It’s difficult to separate ourselves from those outlets when it surrounds us at every corner we turn.
But, we must remember that our self-worth card isn’t a Redbox rental. When comparing yourself to others, you’re just devaluing yourself. If you don’t show yourself compassion, then how can you expect anyone else to give you the proper respect and love that you deserve?
Comparing yourself to others and relying on external validation is a recipe to never be happy and to always think that you’re not good enough. Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel.
2. Take daily timeouts
Never enough time. No idea what I was truly thinking. Always traveling back to the past filled with regrets and guilt. Fast-forwarding to a future filled with uncertainties and anxious moments as I try to fill in the blanks to the unknown story I’m creating in my head.
This was my daily operating system before I started taking daily timeouts to celebrate being alive.
It’s tempting to always be in a “go-go” mentality, but sometimes, hitting the pause button on life is just what the doctor ordered. It’s important to hit the pause button on life and just take in the beauty around us.
Taking the time to find the beauty in the everyday events of our lives creates a happier individual.
3. Start a yoga practice
As a former meathead who would laugh at those who recommended yoga as part of a fitness routine, I can easily admit that yoga has provided tremendous benefits to my health and life.
I’m still early in my practice, but yoga has allowed me another space to work on my internal world and improve the way my body moves and functions on a daily basis.
4. Find a form of physical exercise that can serve as your outlet
Exercise for me used to be something exclusively for physical appearances. But over the last few years, exercise has morphed into something deeper.
Exercise centers me. It helps with my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It also helps me make more conscious decisions in life.
Besides helping with your looks, exercising can help with creativity, cognition, your longevity, and much more.
The type of exercising doesn’t matter as much as you moving for 30–60 minutes daily.
5. Start a daily gratitude habit
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wanted a better body, more money, more travel, and more women. But without gratitude, even when you get all those things that you think you want, you’ll still feel empty inside because you lack perspective.
It’s easy to take the small things in life for granted such as breathing, friends, music (especially Jamiroquai), freedom, food, and late-night conversations shared over wine.
First thing in the morning, I write down three things I’m grateful for. Life will never be perfect, but with a little gratitude, we’ll realize that it isn’t as bad as we sometimes let ourselves think.
6. Make sleep a no ifs and buts activity
Sleep is my secret weapon and when I neglect it, my mood, decision making, and healthy habits start to suffer.
I can’t say this enough, the perfect exercise regimen and diet won’t cover for a poor sleep regimen. Make a commitment tonight and beyond to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.
7. Have one green smoothie a day
When I started my health journey, I only focused on the external world. Vegetables were an afterthought.
While my outside aesthetic world looked great, my internal world was far from optimal. A green smoothie provides my body with energy to last me throughout the day as well as a way to get a plethora of minerals and vitamins. We need vegetables and fruits for optimal health, a green smoothie brings convenience into the situation and gives us one less excuse as to why we can’t get our daily amount of vegetables and fruits in.
8. Have a deep devotion to the long-term
Expecting instant turnarounds with our lives can lead us to give up on our goals or make short-term decisions with our health that gives us immediate benefits, but long-term frustrations and problems
The same philosophy applies to your relationships and business.
As I went along my health and business journey, I adopted the one percent diet where I only focused on improving my habits by a small incremental amount each day—instead of trying to hit a grand slam.
While it may seem insignificant, one percent daily improvement equates to a 365 percent yearly improvement.
9. Reframe your breakdown into a breakthrough
I was depressed over a year ago with harmful thoughts circulating inside my head on a daily basis, which led me to therapy for months. This low moment became the starting point to me accomplishing some lifelong goals such as becoming an author and traveling the world.
On the other side of those dark and lonely moments are life changing breakthroughs if we just alter our perspective and don’t give up.
This article originally appeared over at the Good Men Project.