What makes a quality life? Is it the same for everyone, or does it vary depending on age, point of view, circumstance, and background? Clearly, many factors contribute to life quality. Here are sixteen things you can do to improve the quality of your life.
#1: Reduce your stress level
Stress is the killer and disabler of our time, and if you are serious about improving your life quality, you’ll work hard to reduce it.
#2: Enter a challenging profession
We all need to engage in productive, fulfilling activities, and for those of us who are not wealthy, at least one of those activities must generate income. We spend forty hours a week at work, so it’s important to be satisfied with our jobs.
#3: Maintain a healthful diet
The adage “you are what you eat” is truer than most us know. A sound diet, with generous portions of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, dairy products, fish, and poultry, allows us to sidestep doctors, avoid medication, function more efficiently at work, maintain balanced relationships, and perform physical exercise.
#4: Engage in daily physical exercise
Each of us should do at least an hour of physical exercise per day. All of it need not be vigorous, but it should be continuous. Walking is one of the best ways to get low-impact exercise, but bicycling accomplishes the same thing. Lifting weights is important, as well, to prevent the deterioration of bone mass and assist with cardiovascular maintenance.
#5: Engage in daily mental exercise
A job does not always provide enough stimulation for long-term health. It may be satisfying to build something or work with people, but most of us need additional mental exercise in order to stay alert. Some folks keep sharp by doing crossword puzzles or playing Sudoku. Reading and writing fill this gap for me.
#6: Get plenty of sleep
Many of us get by on less sleep than we need, but eight hours is the amount recommended by many experts. I feel best with a bit less than that. Getting adequate sleep is key to performance on the job, in sports, and at home.
#7: Get exposure to sunlight and fresh air
Plants need sunlight and air in order to thrive, and people are no different. A few minutes of direct sunlight each day provides vitamin D, and fresh air revives body and soul in multiple ways. A daily walk provides both.
#8: Drink pure water
In order to function well physically and mentally, we need to drink several glasses of pure water every day. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, juices, beer, wine, milk, and other liquids do not count. Drinking water will benefit you physically and mentally in countless ways, and no health program is complete without it.
#9: Adopt an ethical code
An ethical code can take the form of a religious belief, but it can also be a self-constructed set of values. Deference to some higher virtue strengthens your sense of self worth and contributes positively to a healthful lifestyle.
#10: Keep a journal
The act of recording thoughts and dreams is often more revealing than thinking and dreaming. Our inner lives are as dynamic, if not more so, than our outer ones. Keeping a journal is an excellent way to connect with our inner existence.
#11: Express yourself artistically
Art touches your soul, and your own art touches it twice. You can express yourself artistically in many ways, but some mediums are better than others for getting in touch with your creative self. Few of us are lucky enough to have professions that allow free expression, so engaging in an outside interest takes on increased importance.
#12: Stay on the learning curve
Get into a habit of learning. A static existence rarely leads to success or financial security. Stay abreast of the changes in your field and watch the marketplace carefully. Your work can be ever so rewarding, but if you get behind the times, you may find yourself unable to catch up.
#13: Find a supportive mate
If you have a supportive mate, consider yourself lucky. Folks whose mates stand steadfastly at their sides benefit greatly from it. Getting consolation in the bad times and receiving compliments when things are good contribute substantially to a healthful lifestyle.
#14: Adopt a solid financial plan
Most people have no financial plan, and they are chagrined when they discover that it’s too late to put one into effect. Having a long-term financial plan that includes continuing education, multiple income streams, balanced investment strategies, backup savings, logical career moves, a prudent lifestyle, and constant networking will make a big difference when the inevitable recessions of life occur.
#15: Take time off
Knowing when and how to relax is important. It can come in the form of traveling, taking time off, enjoying family, engaging in a hobby, hanging out with friends, or playing a musical instrument. Some people do these things on the weekends or during vacations. I prefer to do them a little each day.
#16: Create social contact
Developing meaningful relationships is one of the most important things we do. I try to make contact, either in person or by telephone, with at least one friend every day. In that encounter, I always inquire in some detail about what is going on in that person’s life. Purely electronic contacts are not good enough. To get the juice from a relationship, you must hear the person’s voice.
Achieving a quality life is a lifetime process, and doing so takes effort. With a bit of practice, however, you’ll find that the execution of the items on this list will become habitual. Leading a healthful lifestyle is a choice, and I have chosen to put myself on a path toward the best health possible. I hope you’ll join me.