The Independently Happy Prescription for Well-Being
A good measure of well-being is “How do you feel?” Each person has to decide how they feel and how they can healthily feel better over the long term. I’ve come up with a prescription to help improve well-being. The Independently Happy Prescription for Well-Being has daily doses of Sleep, Escape and eXercise.
First, is the correct spelling is wellbeing or well-being? It turns out the answer is Yes. North Americans hyphenate. In the U.K., it’s one word. Both spellings have many definitions, but I recommend each choose their own.
Vitamin S: Sleep
The 1st Vitamin in The Independently Happy Prescription for Well-Being is Vitamin S.
In my research (I Googled it), I also learned that Vitamin S can mean steroids. Let’s keep our micro-nutrient references healthy. Let’s borrow Shawn Stevenson’s Vitamin S. (See the origin story at the end)
So many processes occur during our sleep. There is a brain detox that occurs during sleep and rebuilding of cells. Our sleep patterns determine our hormonal functions and energy levels. Too little sleep makes good decisions more difficult. The lack of energy makes us crave sugar. Information is transferred to long-term memory. Here are 10 Fascinating Things That Happen While You Sleep.
We’ve all got task lists we want to complete every day. Your brain has a task list it needs to accomplish every night. Let’s not sacrifice our brains’ list for our own list.
Start Feeling Great!
Vitamin E: Escape
The 2nd Vitamin in The Independently Happy Prescription for Well-Being is Vitamin E.
Escape from those mental traps that drain our energy and well-being.
Call it what you want:
With all our devices and tasks, our minds are constantly jerked from place to place. It acutely increases our stress levels each time we do it while it also reinforces a more chronic bad habit of fractured focus.
Just make some time to be focused and calm.
Spend some time each day focusing on your breath. If you’ve never done this, start with just five minutes and work your way up. Ten to twelve minutes is a sweet spot for me. I try to do it in the morning and in the afternoon or evening, but usually just get the morning session is.
Focus on inhaling and exhaling. Follow the air in and feel the sensations as it fills your lungs. Then follow the air out. Count the breaths if it helps. Whatever helps you focus. Just try different approaches. Search the web. Try some apps.
Your mind will wander. Just return to the breathing. It’s a good thing when you’re mind wanders and you bring it back. That’s the practice part of this practice.
Be content being a white belt meditator. Get your reps in. It takes years to become a black belt, but every rep counts and consistency compounds the effects. Remember Gradually, then Suddenly.
The practice will really come in handy when a stressful situation arrives. Breathe just like in practice. Stop the stress and let the well-being happen.
Download your copy of the Prescription!
Get Some Fresh Air
Go outside. Get up from your desk or cube or workspace and go outside for some fresh air and some sun (bonus Vitamin!: D).
Connect with nature. Observe some ants, leaves or clouds. Experience what grass, dirt or acorns feel like.
Go Screenless for a Few
Escape the screens!
Turn them off an hour before bedtime. Bonus for more time you spend during the day not going all Pavlov every time a phone or computer dings.
Work in some meditation and Vitamin X before you turn on any screens in the morning.
Speaking of which…
Vitamin X: eXercise
The 2nd Vitamin in The Independently Happy Prescription for Well-Being is Vitamin X.
Anything you enjoy. I love walking and listening to music or podcasts. I love just checking out what’s happening on the street or road. Run, bike, DVDs, Youtube. Anything you like for 30 minutes per day.
Also, don’t sit too much. Set some sort of alarm and make sure you get up and move around at least a minute every hour.
Don’t worry about perfection.
I just drove to Denver last week. It would taken forever to get there if I had stopped every hour. I also love watching movies now and then. Every day won’t be perfect, but sitting all day every day. I hear that’s the new smoking.
I’ve noticed that Vitamin X can often be Vitamin E too. That’s not a loophole. No cheating. Do yourself the favor of getting your daily dosages of both.
I’ve made a download of the prescription.
Several years ago, I thought of the concept of Vitamin X for exercise. I hoped nobody else thought of it and went to grab the domain name. Alas, it was taken. By a band.
I have to admit. I think Vitamin X is a pretty cool name for a band.
Listening to The Model Health Show a year or so ago, I heard Shawn Stevenson refer to sleep as “Vitamin S.” I had in the past referred to myself as Vitamin S, but sleep was better. I was jealous that Shawn Stevenson had thought of it before I did. He’s a genius, though. He’s probably thought of most things before me.
Either way, like his show always does, it got me thinking. A few months later, I came up with my prescription for well-being.