Americans’ feelings of well-being were lower than ever in 2021. Only 19% of people reported being very happy, according to the General Social Survey, the lowest number since the survey began in 1972. Many people may be looking for ways to improve their state of mind and overall well-being.
Many of the factors that impact your mood and state of mind are within your control, so you have the power to improve your well-being. Keep reading to learn how to improve your well-being in 2022.
1. Make Time for Exercise
The link between regular exercise and improved well-being is well-established. Exercising can help you lower your stress levels, improve your mood and give you more energy throughout the day. Make time for a type of exercise you enjoy, such as biking, swimming, or lifting weights.
If you’re new to exercise or want to ease back into working out after a long break, even short sessions could make a difference in your well-being. A study published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy found that just six minutes of self-paced walking improved older adults’ moods.
2. Improve Your Diet
The foods you eat can have an impact on your mood and state of mind. An article published in BMJ notes that diets that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars (like white bread, breakfast cereals, and snack foods) may contribute to depressive symptoms.
Healthy diets like the Mediterranean dietary pattern have been linked to better mental health. This diet emphasizes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes and includes moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, and poultry. For wellness, try to incorporate more of these healthy foods into your diet.
3. Add Cold Therapy to Your Routine
You may have experience using cold therapy to manage acute injuries or as part of your post-exercise recovery routine. Scientific research shows that cold therapy can also offer benefits for your state of mind and overall well-being. A study published in Lifestyle Medicine reported that a single cold water immersion session significantly improved participants’ moods.
There are many ways to add cold therapy to your routine. You may choose to take a cold shower or hop in a bathtub filled with cold or icy water. Or, you could take a refreshing cold plunge in an Ice Barrel, a purpose-built cold therapy tool.
4. Spend Time in Nature
Whether it’s a park, woodland, or beach, spending time in natural environments has been linked to better well-being. Research has also linked living in a greener urban area to lower levels of mental distress and better self-reported wellbeing. For a mood boost, consider heading outside.
You don’t need to spend much time in nature to see the benefits. Compared to people who spent no time in nature, those who spent 120 minutes outside per week were more likely to report good health and a high level of mental well-being.
5. Pick Up a New Hobby
Hobbies aren’t just a fun way to pass the time; they can improve your state of mind. A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that people who participated in more frequent leisure activities, such as hobbies and vacations, had better well-being. They reported higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of depression.
The researchers found that taking part in multiple enjoyable leisure activities helped participants cope with stress, which may account for the well-being benefit. Cumulativeleisure had a larger impact than any one specific activity, so pick up any hobby that interests you.
6. Reconnect With Friends and Family
Nearly half of Americans reported losing touch with a few friends in 2021, according to the Survey Center on American Life. Nearly one in ten lost touch with most of their friends. If you’ve lost touch with your loved ones, reconnecting could help boost your well-being.
Strong social ties may have a significant impact on a person’s mental wellness. The social support you receive from your friends and family could add meaning to your life and help buffer the effects of stress.
7. Improve Your Sleep
Healthy adults generally need seven or more hours of sleep per night for optimum wellness, but many people fall short of this target. Just one night of sleep loss can have a negative impact on your mood the next day, and this negative impact worsens with consecutive nights of sleep loss, according to a study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Paying attention to your bedtime habits could help you improve your sleep and enjoy greater well-being. Try to go to bed at a consistent time each night and remove electronic distractions, such as smartphones, from your bedroom.
Boost Wellbeing With a Cold Plunge
As a purpose-built cold therapy tool, Ice Barrel makes it easy to incorporate regular ice baths into your wellness-enhancing routine. Simply fill the barrel with water and ice and hop in for about 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy the refreshing chill as you feel your mind and body relax. For a life-changing wellness experience, try Ice Barrel.