We all want it, don't we? More health, happiness, peace, calm and well-being? We often think it's easier to continue on the way we're going simply because it's familiar. We know how to measure success when it's in the form of numbers at the bank or recognition for a job title or promotion. What if we began releasing our attachment to these factors, and instead began looking at our state of health and happiness on a daily basis? Would what is driving you now continue to be your driving force?
The real secret to bringing more well-being in your life isn't that you need to quit your job, give up all your possessions and move to an off-the-grid yurt. Sustainable Third Metric living can be achieved much more simply. Here are 10 things you can try right now (or maybe just pick two!), to help bring a little calm, clarity and health into everyday living.
1. Go to sleep 20 minutes earlier. You know the deal: Lack of sleep not only makes us feel terrible the next day, but it also prevents our bodies from relaxing, repairing and regenerating. Luckily, a little goes a long way. This week, turn in just 20 minutes earlier than you usually do. Try adding an additional 20 minutes next week. Sufficient sleep can have one of the most profound positive affects on our health and all you have to do is nothing at all!
2. Drink mostly water, most of the time. Getting a taste for the clear stuff means saving yourself a ton of excess sugar, artificial flavours, chemicals... and moolah. Switching to water could save you as much as $5,000 per year, and as much as 2,800 calories per week, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Drink water for more money in your pocket and less time on the treadmill.
3. Clean out your closet. Digging through piles of clothes every day just to get to the stuff you actually wear? Lighten the load. Donate the clothes that no longer fit you (physically or figuratively) and start the day feeling organized and in control. Clear out that clutter and start to see things much more clearly.
4. Give and give often. It doesn't have to be money. Take a look around you and see if there are items in your home (basements and attics count) that you don't use anymore and are taking up space. Rather than throwing a garage sale or selling them on consignment, try giving them away. Make room for better things to come into your life, while also supporting the needs of your community.
5. Flirt with a farmer. Take the time to really connect with your food. Finding out where that head of lettuce came from and who grew it will give you a deeper appreciation for all the hard work involved in getting it to your plate. When we start to pay attention to where our foods comes, we also start to take note of what we're actually eating -- and when we pay attention, we make better choices.
6. Stop complaining all the time! Studies have shown that the practice of gratitude stimulates happiness centers in the brain, which in turn boosts immune function. Forget the whole "my commute was so much worse than yours," or, "my baby woke up more times than yours." Drop the misery competition and instead focus on the awesomeness in your life. The more attention you give to the great stuff, the more greatness there will be. I dare you to try this one!
7. Budget for experiences. That fancy watch or those designer kicks might temporarily make you feel like a rock star, but allocating funds to experiences instead could permanently elevate every aspect of your life. Instead of spending your extra cash on stuff, try investing it in a mediation practice, private climbing lessons or a weekend retreat. Invest in your own personal development and less on new phones and cable channels. It's easy to stay behind those screens but while you're there, life is happening in 3D.
8. Exhale, for goodness sake. On top of being completely unsexy, stress is self-perpetuating. The more stressed out you feel, the more shallow your breathing will be, and the more shallow your breathing is, the more stressed out you will feel as levels of adrenaline increase, followed by cortisol. Stop that cycle in its tracks by starting each morning with five slow, deep breaths, while pulling your shoulders back and lengthening your spine. Simpler than a yoga class, but were you even going to that yoga class every day?
9. Turn it off. Your phone, your computer, the television -- whatever it is, shut it down for at least an hour a day. Take a bath instead, or a walk with no destination. Start to pay attention to what your thoughts are telling you and what your life is telling you.
10. Ask yourself the big question. "Is this working?" Be brave enough to answer it honestly and you'll be that much closer to taking your first step towards YES!
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based nutritionista and sought after media personality thanks to her refreshingly humorous, engaging and real approach to healthy living. Her online cooking courses and health programs are improving the lives of people around the world. Meghan's bestselling book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health is creating a revolution in how people think about their health. Join Meghan's community on twitter @MeghanTelpner. For more visit MeghanTelpner.com.