With all of the wellbeing information available online at the tap of a finger, there’s a risk of becoming overwhelmed by it all. We are constantly exposed to new information on a daily or even hourly basis at times. Wellbeing intersects with so many parts of our lives and the research on how to maintain or improve it is exploding at the moment.
What if you could distil what’s out there into 3 wellbeing principles?
Regular amounts of sleep
It is often said that preparing for the day starts the night before. 95% of the population needs between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, how much are you getting? Sleep is not the lack of awake-ness. Sleep is an important biological process that the brain needs to lay down memories, consolidate learning, and remove toxins that have built-up from the day. Consider going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, weekends included.
Sleep deprivation can impact your cognitive functioning, compromise your immunity to illness and infection and hamper your brains ability to adapt to input. When we are sleep deprived the symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen.
Remembering to breathe
As you’re reading this where can you feel your breath most vividly? Ideally you can feel your breath most vividly in your belly button area. When I ask this question, most people reply they can feel it higher up; in their chest or close to their throat. This indicates that they are shallow breathing, which means small amounts carbon dioxide are being expelled from the body with each breath. The carbon dioxide is accumulating in the body, preventing more oxygen to be inhaled. Shallow breathing prevents the lowest portion of our lungs to get its full share of oxygenated air which can make you feel short of breath and anxious.
By engaging in belly breathing or deep breathing you are tapping into one of the body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. Belly breathing alleviates stress, improves confidence, and helps create better blood circulation.
Consider belly breathing for 3 minutes twice a day and gradually increase the frequency over time.
Spend 2 hours a week in nature
A recent study from the UK found that 2 hours a week is the threshold amount that a person needs to spend in nature (e.g. local park, woodlands, hiking trails and beaches) to benefit their wellbeing. The benefits are not recognised for spending less than 2 hours in nature. Interestingly the results were the same if the 2 hours in nature was achieved in one visit or over a series of visits.
Consider how you would incorporate a regular dose of nature in your weekly schedule or perhaps a 2 hour ‘hit’ once a week to benefit your wellbeing.