8 Simple Steps to a Healthier, Happier You

Work. Kids. Dogs. That one person in your office who is a complete arsehole and doesn’t realize everyone hates them (Note: if you don’t hate anyone at work – this is YOU). There are loads of things that bring you down, run you down and slow you down in life. It’s hard enough keeping healthy, but happy as well can sometimes seem like a strength. We’ve all been there. Even the happiest person can sometimes want to punch everyone in the face, go home, get in bed, watch Gossip Girl and cry over Blair and chuck. So here’s a few tips from your perpetually happy Essex girl to see you through. If none work just drink prosecco all the time.

1. Smile

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Obviously, this advice sounds like something you will get from a cheesy American man with whiter than white teeth from a Youtube video in a spam email. But guys, it really does work. Anyone who studied Brecht in Theatre Studies will be aware there are a LOT of people out there that think your external actions can create an internal feeling. So why not give it a try? If you flash the bus driver or the woman in Greggs a cheesy grin in the morning have you really got anything to lose?

Obviously, I’m not suggesting going around smiling at really hot guys when they are with their girlfriends because getting beaten up will damage your Chi, and you eye. But when you can, when you converse with someone, just curl your lips up (which takes less muscles than a frown) and see how you feel.

Here is a bit more on the science behind it all from Highland Dental.

2. Exercise

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I can absolutely appreciate that if you are feeling a bit low, exercise is the last thing on your mind. When you’ve had a shocker, nothing is more appealing than the thought of going home, shoving your hair up, putting on your jogging bottoms and eating five packets of crisps. But in the long run, you will feel even worse. I’m not saying you need to go and do ten kettlebell circuits and an abs class, even just getting outside in some fresh air for a walk will make you feel better.

Exercise releases endorphin’s, which make you feel good, and you will feel better about yourself when you realize you have done something good for you rather than fall into the habit of being lazy. It can be really hard to motivate yourself, which is why I go to David Lloyd. The lure of a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room post work out really helps me get through.

Granted, it’s a tad pricey, but if you check out their website they have all sorts of deals and offers where you can try the club for free.

3. Drink water

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I am actually the first person to get annoyed when I read all this advice to drink water. It’s like a miracle cure for EVERYTHING. Yes, I know I should drink water, but it’s soooooo boring. Why can’t the pink lucozade be good for you? or mango juice?

There is, however, 100% truth in all the claims about water. It really is so good for you. When you are a bit run down and feel like a pick me up, it can be tempting to go for high caffeine energy drinks or enough coffee to actually give you a tan from inside out, but this won’t help. Although you will experience a temporary burst of energy, it will eventually wear off leaving you dehydrated and on a sugar come down. A sugar comedown is not going to make you happy. A sugar comedown is going to make you act like Mariah Carey when one of her personal assistants forgets to put a ten foot golden shrine to herself on her rider.

So yes, water. The more you drink the better you’ll feel, even though it’s boring. Try a slice of lemon and lime to make it a bit more bearable.

4. Take some ‘me’ time

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Recently, I terminated a contract with a really big client. Before this happened, I didn’t realize how busy I had actually got myself. It wasn’t until I stopped having to work every weekend and evening that I thought about how much I’d let my ‘me time’ go. No matter who you are, or what you do, everyone needs a bit of time that’s just for them. You won’t be able to de-stress if you are constantly doing things for others and meeting demands.

There are loads of ways I like to get my ‘me time’, usually reading Vogue in the bath with some candles and pan pipe music (don’t knock it until you have tried it).

Even if you just take five minutes to go and sit in the garden alone, it’s still something you are doing for you. Do your nails, have a footspa etc. I sat and painted my nails Saturday, and realized it was the first time I had done so in months. So not only had I had no ‘me time’, I had been walking round looking like the equivalent to a cave women, as it is mandatory for all women of Essex to have nice nails.

5. Get a pet

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Not just because they are cute and fluffy, but because having a pet can be really good for your wellbeing. They can provide company if you live alone, and really give you something to focus on. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve walked in and said hello to the cats, like they are people. There is a reason pets are sometimes used as therapy for ill or disabled people.

Obviously, getting a pet is not a decision that should be made impulsively. I’m not suggesting you have a bad day then think ‘Sod it I’m going to get a Great Dane’, but you see what I’m getting at.

6. Do something nice for someone else

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Would you believe it, doing something nice for someone else will actually make you feel pretty good about yourself? Yes, stop, press, alert the media. The great thing about this one, is that you won’t find it hard to think of something nice to do for someone else, because who doesn’t want something nice done for them?

Visit an elderly neighbor or relative, bake some treats to take into work, the list goes on. Being selfish never got anyone anywhere, and you may just find the more nice things you do the better you feel. Probably in part due to the fact you will be surrounded by loads of friends. I used to text a joke to everyone in my phonebook every Friday. It sounds silly (and most of the jokes were shit), but people really did enjoy it.

7. Change your diet

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Put bad into your body, and you will feel bad. Put good in, and you will feel good. It really is that simple. There are loads of mood boosting foods that will make you feel great and are jam packed with vitamins that will improve your physical health as well.

Oats will boost your mood, and also slowly release energy into your bloodstream. Starting off the day with that morning bowl of porridge is not only good for your diet but will also make you feel good. Bananas not only contain and amino acid that helps boost mood, but they contain vitamin B6 which helps convert this amino acid into pure serotonin, which is the chemical that makes you feel good. Chop one up in your porridge and see how you feel by mid-morning, you can thank me later.

Omega 3, which is found in oily fish like salmon is also a mood booster, and it also helps the general health of your brain. Now I’m not saying you will become a genius if you eat a tin of mackerel, but it’s worth a try.

8. Have a splurge

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While I appreciate that not everyone can afford to treat themselves all of the time, it IS proven that shopping makes you happy. Like, with science and that. A little treat now and again never hurt anyone, and you really don’t have to go about buying £800 handbags, even a little cheap find in a charity shop can make you feel great.

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