10 Pillars of a Healthy Body and Happy Mind
Plant-based eating is certainly one of the foundations to a healthy, balanced, strong, and energized body and mind. However, it's not the only lifestyle factor that can impact how well your body and your mind function. Below are the 10 foundational lifestyle elements that I personally (try to!) practice to keep my body and mind balanced, grounded, and energized. Some are most effective when practiced daily (for example, plant-based eating, morning routine, and meditation) and some are effective when practiced whenever a little grounding and mood boost are needed most (connecting with nature and giving back). Even if you choose to implement one or two of the elements below, you may find your mood lifted, body energized, and mind more clear. Click on "read more" to learn more about each practice.
Research shows that simple adding more more plant-based foods to your plate can be beneficial to your health. Plant foods fuel both your body and your mind through their abundant nutrients and powerful healing effects.
Healthy sleep hygiene affects your hormones, which affect the way your body and mind feel and function throughout the day. Keeping a consistent sleep routine, eating the right foods, moving your body, and practicing breath work can all help you sleep soundly.
(even if for only 2 minutes a day)
You don't have to sit in lotus pose or even sit perfectly still to meditate. It's about taking a moment to quiet your mind and noting what peace feels like without the distraction of your thoughts.
A morning routine that feels good to you, whether it's a one-minute affirmation, five minute journal session, or 15 minute stretch, can be grounding and set the pace for the rest of the day. Find what feels good to you and fits within your schedule and try to practice it daily.
Doing something for others can be anything from giving a complement to a stranger (or a friend!) to volunteering with a local organization to donating time to your favorite organization. Acts of service and kindness can decrease stress and boost mood.
Drinking plenty of water and eating foods with high water content (plants!) can keep you hydrated, which helps your body and mind function at their best. Proper hydration can help you fight fatigue, decrease inflammation, and power through the day.
You don't have to go to a gym to move your body. Walking outside, gardening, cleaning, yoga, or any type of movement can be rejuvenating and invigorating for your body and mind.
In Sanskrit, "prana" means "vital force of life" and "yama" means to "gain control." When you consciously control the breathe, you'll notice your mind starts to clear, your energy starts to flow, and you feel the vital force of life throughout your body.
Connecting with nature can be walking barefoot in the grass, listening to the birds sing, tending to your garden, or noticing the trees on your morning walk. Connect with nature to reset and restore your body and your mind.
Give a hug, share a smile, or start a conversation from a place of love to alleviate stress and boost oxytocin, a hormone that increases feelings of connection. Research shows that love can lead to more happiness, better relationships, overall wellbeing, and longevity.