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Healthy Habits You Should Try

2022 is in full swing. Many of us are using the new year to set goals for ourselves, while others may be using this time to reflect on the previous year. Lets be real, the past two years have been a bit chaotic. I have struggled with not only maintaining healthy habits, as well and comparing my progress to the progress of others around me. It can be hard to take a step back and appreciate how far you’ve come, both mentally and physically. Here are four habits that have not only improved my mental state, as well as my overall view of myself.

  1. Journaling

I feel like oftentimes journaling has been hyped up on social media and even implemented in TikTok challenges by many popular users. While I’m happy journaling is getting the much deserved hype on social media, many people see it as a trend instead of seeing it as an outlet for their thoughts. When I first started journaling I saw it as something to check off my nightly routine. It wasn’t until I started actively using it to process my emotions, when I saw the positive affects it can have on my mental state. When I find myself overthinking a particular situation, taking out my journal and writing it helps put things more into perspective. There’s something about being able to actively read your thoughts aloud that helps you find possible thinking errors you may be making. Once you start to incorporate journaling into your daily routine, you will start to see the long term benefits it offers.

2. Meditation

Meditating is something I have always wanted to master. However for whatever reason, I was extremely intimidated by it. I was fearful that I was either going to do it wrong or I wouldn’t know where to start. The thing I’ve learned about meditation is, there really is no “right way” to do it. Like many people, I struggle with anxiety pretty frequently. Especially when it comes to social situations and speaking in front of large groups. Giving my mind a break just for a few minutes while meditating, improved my anxiety drastically. I found myself feeling more grounded and present. The nice thing about meditation is once you start doing it frequently, you can start doing it almost anywhere, at any time of the day. If you genuinely don’t know where to start, try listening to a guided meditation on Spotify or YouTube. My personal favorite guided mediations are led by “The Yoga Bunny” on Spotify.

3. Reading

Growing up I was constantly told to read. It didn’t matter if it was nonfiction or fiction, anything would suffice as long as I was doing it. I didn’t take that advice seriously until more recently. Over winter break I set a goal for myself that I was going to read ten pages a night. It didn’t matter what kind of book it was, it just mattered that I was taking that time out of my night to stimulate my brain. I started to become lost in the pages that I was reading, reality started to slowly fade away and I was immersed into a new world. In that world I didn’t have to worry about responsibilities or the weeks to come, the only thing that mattered was the characters I had become familiar with. Instead of looking forward to watching my favorite show at the end of the day, I was eager to find out what would happen to my favorite character(s). I highly encourage anyone who is thinking about implementing reading into their daily routine to just do it. It doesn’t matter what kinds of books you start reading or even how many pages you plan to read, just do it and you might be surprised with the end result.

4. Running

In high school I used to run track. Even though I didn’t run long distance, there was something about running a 200 meter dash that just made my soul feel alive. Once I got to college I stopped running, stopped exercising entirely actually, and I found myself missing it. Obviously running has benefits for your health but not a lot of people talk about the benefits it can have on your mental state. Going for a run at the end of the day, whether it be on the treadmill or outside, gives my mind the chance to forget about all the stresses of the day. I’m able to release any pent up stress or anger and feel free for just a moment. When I run I feel so much more in tune with my body and its mobility. My endurance may not be where I want it to be yet, but I’m excited to see my progress.

There are so many healthy habits that can benefit your life, its just a matter of finding the right ones for you. I encourage you to look outside your comfort zone for things that make you feel better both physically and mentally.

Emily Squance is a sophomore at Ohio University studying communications in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is an active member of Variant Magazine and Active Minds. She likes to spend her time outside hiking with friends and listening to a broad range of music. Her words to live by are "treat people with kindness and compassion." : )
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