Luckily for all of us, modern-day stresses do not have to run our lives, and they most certainly do not need to make us feel blue. There are awesome, alternative ways to take your life to a fuller and happier place, and it’s actually a fun and exciting process.
Getting in touch with your inner child, hiking, eating right, and busting out that yoga mat every now and again are just a few great ways to step away from adult stress and enjoy the world around you. Research has shown that even a short yoga session can decrease stress and depression. Put yourself on the road to a fuller, happier life today.
Here are 18 ways to get active, boost energy, and live your life to the max!
Invest more time in the people you care about. Spending time with those you hold dear is one way to increase your well-being. Research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (2006) involved 500 students and uncovered a few notable trends in happiness. The study found that spending more time with loved ones will increase your overall happiness and lead to a more meaningful life. This sounds like an obvious tip, but how much time do you really spend with the ones you love?
Release your inner child. We often take life too seriously. We all need to pay bills and live up to our adult responsibilities, which is great. However, it is important to take some time out of your week and be a kid again. What were the activities you enjoyed growing up? Have a kid day — play putt-putt, drive go-carts, maybe even take a trip to Disneyland.
Have sex! Sex is excellent for your health and can satisfy your mental and physical needs in ways other things cannot. Recent research involving 3,800 adults, which was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2015), found, “Those who have more sex and better quality sex, proxied by emotional and physical satisfaction with one’s primary sex partner, are happier.”
Turn a negative into a positive. It is no surprise that if you see the world in a more positive light, you will generally be happier. Is your glass half empty or half full?
Spend your money on experiences. A Harvard University study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (2011) found that spending your money on experiences will bring you more happiness than purchasing material items. Traveling, concerts, and weekend expeditions are all exceptional ways for us to live life to the max and regain our happiness.
Be more social. Social activities these days have boiled down to group chats on Facebook, which is not really socializing. Coffee with a friend, a night out for wine tasting, or cutting the proverbial rug on a Friday evening are all great ways to be more social and see friends three-dimensionally.
Take up yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to start your day, allowing your body to get more oxygen, while stretching out those stiff muscles. A 2004 study published in the West Indian Medical Journal found yoga to have excellent health benefits. It increases energy and also decreases stress and negativity.
Let go of grudges. Letting go of grudges will assist you in maximizing your life and improving your mental well-being. A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine states, “Chronic unforgiving responses (grudges) may erode health, whereas forgiving responses may enhance it.” Grudges will distract you from the good things in your life.
Get enough sleep. You cannot carpe diem if you’re too tired to tackle a Saturday morning hike or take full advantage of powder days in the winter. Getting enough sleep at night is essential for increasing your energy, boosting your immune system, and repairing your body for the next day’s excitement.
Hit the books! Maybe not the scholarly sort, but reading will sharpen your mind and give you a new perspective on life. If you yearn for adventure, but your vacation isn’t for a few months, crack open a book and live an adventure through words. Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air or Jack London’s Call of the Wild will allow you to escape or gain a newfound understanding of life.
Exercise to maximize your life and health! The Alternative Daily is always advocating more physical activity, and for good reason. Daily exercise will keep you fit and happy, and protect you from chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and various other unpleasantries. You have to be healthy and fit enough to conquer the many amazing things in life. An 8,000 participant study published in Preventive Medicine (2007) found, “Exercise participation is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness.”
Never give up on your goals. A 10-year U.S. national study published in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (2010) discusses the importance and benefits of goals during the transition into adulthood. And why stop once you’re an adult? Keep striving to meet your goals, make new ones, and follow your passions — you will maximize every day, week, month and year.
Boost your vitamin D levels. Get your vitamin D naturally by adding a bit more sunshine to your day. Studies have shown that 30 minutes in the sun every day can boost your mood and give you more energy. Wear sunscreen when appropriate, of course.
Spend more time with your pets. If you are lucky enough to have a pet companion, then you are reaping many benefits. Research from the University of Missouri has found that 15 minutes of pet interaction will increase your overall well-being.
Enjoy your work. Finding passion in your work can put a positive spin on your day and life. We spend the majority of the day, week, month and year at the office, so why not maximize that time. Finding passion in what you do is a crucial aspect of living to your full potential.
Meditate. Meditation and living your life to the fullest may seem counterintuitive. However, they are almost one and the same. A morning meditation offers up a plethora of healing benefits for your mind and body. A 2008 study published in Holistic Nursing Practice discusses the benefits of mindful meditation as a treatment for burnout. The study found, “Mindful meditation represents a complementary therapy that has shown promise in the reduction of negative stress and those extraneous factors that lead to burnout.”
Travel, and travel some more! Travel is one of the best ways to get out of the nine-to-five hustle and bustle and gain new experiences. You may enjoy the all-inclusive resort, but try to get away from the pool and free buffet and do some exploring. Travel is more than just hanging out at a resort. Hiking, let’s say, Machu Picchu is definitely one extreme way to begin living your life to the max. It also makes for a better water cooler story than salsa night at Sandals.
Eat more fruits and veggies. If you want to be around to live life to the max, it is essential that you stay healthy for decades to come. Fruits and veggies will not only keep you healthy, they will also give you the energy and immune health you need to enjoy all the activities you have planned. Research has found that eating more fruits and vegetables, while steering clear of the Western diet, will decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease, and the list goes on. Healthy eating habits are the cornerstone for living life to the absolute max!
If you want to step away from the humdrum of everyday life — which we all find ourselves in from time to time — then shake things up! Create your own personal “mission statement.” Keep pushing your limits and reaching goals. Exercising and eating right will ensure that you’ll be around for a long time. How will you maximize your life this week?
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.