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8 Ways to Make Healthy Living Joyful

Author: Amy Dailey

Healthy living may invoke visions of eating twigs, exhausting workouts, and deprivation. What if you could transform those visions into joyful images of healthy living? Creating joyful experiences in healthy living can provide momentum for the sustainability of wellness habits. From eating on beautiful dishes to finding joyful movement and visualization, there are many ways to make healthy living joyful. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

  1. Bring on the fine dining. Using the beautiful dishes that you have acquired can be visually joyful. Perhaps it will bring back memories of family gatherings, or it may just be a unique way of honoring your senses. Light a candle, use a cloth napkin, and create a special dining experience. 
  2. Find movement that makes you happy. The gym isn’t for everyone, and while it can be a great resource for gaining strength and burning calories, it isn’t the end all be all. Identify activities that bring you joy and yet still meet your health goals. Dance to your favorite music, take a family walk, throw a ball with your kids, take up your old high-school sport, or learn a new one. Let go of what you thought exercise should be and embrace movement that makes you feel good inside and out. 
  3. Visualize yourself reaching your goals. Visualization has been used by Olympic athletes as a tool to prepare themselves for competition, and it can be used in your own health journey as well. The more details, the better! Mental imagery that is used to overcome obstacles, problem-solve, or to recall specific memories is often experienced by the brain in the same manner as if it is physically happening in the present. While imagination alone might not produce the health results you are looking for, it can be a positive way to experience joy and assist in overcoming barriers to meet your goals.
  4. Get some nurturing sleep. Sleep quality is a vital component of overall health. Easing into sleep with a pleasurable routine may be just what your body needs to tap into its efficiency. Do some light reading, stretch, meditate, or incorporate other relaxation exercises an hour or so before bedtime. Take a bath or shower and imagine the stressors of the day being rinsed down the drain. Lastly, create an atmosphere of comfort. Sliding into a bed that is clean, soft, and distraction-free can be very soothing to the body and the mind.
  5. Playful stress management. While stress can be useful as a warning system, being in a constant state of stress can exhaust the body and mind. Healthy living includes effective stress management. The key is to find what works best for you. Try some new fun activities that create feelings of calm, strength, and happiness until you find what is useful. Make a plan and write down as many ideas as you can think of! You can use this short list to get your creative juices flowing; coloring, dancing, journaling, playing with a pet, taking a nap, listening to music, and breathing techniques. 
  6. Create pleasurable foods. Include a rainbow of color to your plate. Not only is it visually appealing, but colorful fruits and veggies can also add a nutritional punch to your meal. Try a new seasoning and challenge your taste buds. Nutrition doesn’t have to be boring; it can be an opportunity to get creative!
  7. Grab some funnies.  Humor can play a role in overall health. Watch your favorite comedy, get silly with your kids, or pick up a fun read. Turn your mishaps into amusing stories. Maybe that new exercise was embarrassing, or your new menu item was a flop, but it doesn’t mean you failed. In fact, it may be the perfect opportunity to laugh it off. Retelling the story with some wit may just make someone else’s similar experience feel less heavy. 
  8. Reflect on your feel goods. If you are feeling like healthy living is getting dull, write out all the ways that your healthy habits have supported you. Celebrate your accomplishments and the experience of nurturing your body and mind. 

Creating and finding joy in healthy living can be the continuous spark that keeps the momentum going. For more ideas and practices to keep you focused on your health journey, check out Noom.