Daily rituals have been linked to long-term health. In Japan, which is known for its long lifespans, researchers have found that seeing “small joys in everyday life” makes life more fulfilling and might even be associated with living a longer, happier life.
For decades, researchers from around the world have been seeing a trend among the world’s oldest citizens: their usage of meaningful daily routines. Like Japan, we see this in Italian villages where centenarians work the land and ride bicycles each day. We also see it in America’s longest-lived population, the Seventh-Day Adventists in California, who devote their lives to following ritualistic lifestyle practices centered around their religion.
If you’re looking to create a daily routine that leads to long-term health, you might consider some of the following:
As it turns out, meditation can be good for you. In fact, America’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi for mental health.
With its focus on being more mindful in your daily life, meditation can help create long-lasting health. As a meditation practitioner, you will soon be able to bring your mindfulness practice with you wherever you go to ease your anxiety, reduce stress, fight depression, and possibly even ease your pain. Techniques might include learning to focus on your breath so you can remain calm while experiencing difficult situations or emotions, and developing a gratitude practice to soothe your mind.
If you’re new to meditating, you might consider taking a guided meditation class or attending a beginner’s meditation retreat. In addition to helping you take a mini-break by unplugging from technology, these experiences immerse you in a centered, Zen mind-frame.
Creative outlets can also provide long-term healing. Like meditation and yoga, NAMI recommends creative activities such as writing, art, music, or dance. These activities are good for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. For those who are living with mental illness, they can provide relief and improve quality of life.
Essential oils can be a simple and affordable way to take your health into your own hands. Oils such as lavender and sandalwood are commonly used for mental and emotional health, due to their abilities to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
In fact, studies have even shown that essential oils help cancer patients cope with their anxiety, even when they are terminally ill. Similar studies have shown that other oils, such as clary sage and bergamot, may have similar mental and emotional health benefits as well.
Meanwhile, oils such as marjoram are used for their healing properties, ranging from pain reduction to fighting insomnia by promoting a healthy night’s sleep. Because they are nontoxic and can be used from the comfort of your own home, essential oils can be a convenient way to promote good health.
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies. Did you know that exercise is good for your mind, too? Some of the mental and emotional health benefits include reducing stress, boosting mood, preventing depression, easing anxiety, and even soothing the mind.
If you dread going to the gym, here’s some good news: you can get these same benefits from your favorite physical activity. Take a yoga class, ride your bicycle to work, go for a walk on your lunch break, or find any combination of activities that work best for you. It will heal your body, inside and out.
Maintaining a Healthy Habit
Once you decide what healthy habits you’ll incorporate into your daily routine, the trick is just to maintain them. Try not to overwhelm yourself by implementing too many new changes all at once. Instead, focus on more sustainable changes through small, simple steps that you implement one at a time.
As you become comfortable with each new habit, you can always add another one. Above all else, be patient with yourself as you train your mind to continue working towards the long-term benefits. This will put you on track to enjoying the lasting benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Author Bio: Dorothy Watson grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn’t properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old. She became an advocate for mental wellness after witnessing how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn’t been properly addressed.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc.
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