Thank you Blue Shield of California for sponsoring this post. They are committed to health and wellness, and they believe in tackling health issues before they start.

There is no question that happiness ties directly into our sense of well-being. When we are stressed, our bodies release hormones that increase blood pressure and sugars into the bloodstream, lending to the development of chronic diseases. When we feel happy, it helps keep our bodies maintain a baseline, and essentially helps our overall health. How do we stay happy? – Good question. True happiness is about finding a place of peace – not more money or another glass of wine. When we figure out what truly makes our mind, heart, and body feel at peace, we are getting to the core of well-being. Here are a few ways you can find that peace and live a healthier lifestyle.

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Physical Activity

Exercise is always a great way to help increase energy levels, shed unwanted weight, strengthen your bones (so important for women as they age), and it helps contribute to a sense of happiness. We feel better when we have more energy and less excess weight hanging on us. Get out and go for a daily walk, or rough house with the kids outside. Exercise doesn’t have to be planned time at the gym. Just get up and move.

Healthy Diet

This is a no brainer. We are what we eat, and most of us eat too many sugars, fats, and caffeine. Clean up your diet, kick some of those bad habits, and try to include more fruits, veggies, and non-processed foods. What we eat is what fuels the body and the mind. When you eat a healthier diet, it allows you to function at a higher level. That candy bar might make you feel good for ten minutes, but it leads to a sugar crash that can cause mood swings and a sense of distraction.

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Meditation

Many people find meditation a little difficult to practice. It can be hard to clear our minds enough to focus on meditation. But the biggest complaint people often give – I don’t have enough time. I will let you in on a secret – no one has enough time. We have to make the time. Choose ten minutes (yes, just 10 minutes – 5 if that is all you have) and sit in a quiet space where you can clear your head of all thoughts. They will come knocking or breaking down the door of your mind – try to keep them at bay. Use a guided meditation if necessary. Meditation isn’t meant to be easy. It is meant to teach you how to control your thoughts, and find calm in the storm. Give it a try and stick with it, even when it doesn’t seem to work. It might be the ten minutes a day you need to save your sanity.

Less Alcohol

Frequent alcohol consumption can cause weight gain, irregular sleep patterns, sluggishness – not to mention damage to organs with long term use. It also increases the risk of certain cancers. Try taking a break from alcohol to help get some good rest, stabilize your mood, and let your body return to a healthy baseline.

More Sleep

We tend to be a nation that is overworked and exhausted. Stop spreading yourself too thin. Try to get to bed ten minutes earlier. Just ten minutes earlier each night means over an extra hour of sleep each week. Skip the dishes, leave the emails until the morning. Your brain, your sanity, your health, your happiness is worth it to snag some extra sleep.

Reconsider Finances

We often find happiness in purchases…at the expense of saving money. Stop looking for happiness in a new purse, fast food, a new shirt, a manicure – that only lasts for so long. Work on saving money and using it towards paying off debts, taking a vacation, or working less. We waste so much money on things we don’t need. Reconsider your purchases and spend that hard earned money on something that will enrich your life and future.

Learn to say ‘No’

Stop being guilted into doing everything because you don’t want to make anyone upset. You are allowed to say ‘no’ to an invitation or a commitment. Spend time with the family instead, or just sleep in. Learn to say ‘no’ and spend your precious free time doing what is important to you.

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Social Support System

People are naturally social, and as women it can be a strain on our mental health when we stay home with our kids, losing some of the social interaction that we crave. Be sure to have a social circle that is positive and encouraging, and willing to give and receive advice. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good and genuinely care about you.

Less Screen Time

In the era of “binge-watching” our brains are beginning to suffer. A recent study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that people who binge watch TV are more prone to a poor-quality of sleep and insomnia. Instead of watching episode after episode before bed, grab a book and feed your brain. Then, get some real sleep.

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Schedule More Personal Time 

This seems to be morphing into a cliche, but we all need time for ourselves. We need time without kids, work, stress, chores, and everything else that clutters our source of happiness. Make time just for you. It will be hard at first, and sometimes it seems impossible. But do it. We all deserve to relax and do what we love.

Caring for our daily health greatly increases our overall wellbeing, and Blue Shield of California is working to help its members find happiness and well-being in the Wellvolution Program. This program is no extra cost to members, and it focuses solely on lifestyle based changes that can prevent and reverse disease. At the core of the program, lifestyle is the medicine.

If you haven’t already, you should check out their online suite to find out how you can make small daily changes to better your health, here. They provide support for weight loss, increasing daily activity, a guide to quit smoking, and even a community of people tackling a daily challenge meant to better their well-being. They also help members find local discounts to assist them in their well being goals. Blue Shield of California is committed to health and mental wellness, and is providing the tools and resources to make life better and increase overall health. We all want to be healthier and happier. If you are already a Blue Shield of California member, check out Wellvolution to see how it can help you live your best life.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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