Sometimes it takes getting out of your comfort zone to make meaningful changes. That goes for every area of life, especially those that affect your health and wellbeing. And the truth is, change can seem scary! But it can also be incredibly rewarding. What if you never tried your current favorite food? Or never said hello to your very best friend? Don’t let fear make you miss out on opportunities to improve your health, happiness, and life overall.
Here are 16 ways to push yourself meaningfully for mind and body wellbeing:
1. Be a Beginner
Fear of being a beginner keeps a lot of people from trying things they may otherwise enjoy like a yoga class, kayaking, or painting class that could be life-enriching. The idea of joining a group of people that may be farther along than you can feel intimidating, but if this is you—do it afraid! You’ll probably find out that others are eager to help you achieve, and you won’t be a beginner for very long.
2. Get Serious About a Hobby, Even if it’s Wacky!
It may seem counter-intuitive, but hobbies can actually make us more productive. Hobbies also reduce stress and may improve our physical health, even if the hobby itself isn’t physical in nature. Embrace a hobby that truly interests you and lets you express yourself. From making paintings out of the sand to carving soap or collecting stones, or even competitive dog grooming—our hobbies are a reflection of our unique inner selves. Don’t be afraid to let your wackiest, most creative self shine through.
3. Rock Your Solo Time
The thought of going to dinner, the movies, or a concert or comedy show alone seems intimidating to a lot of people at first, but do it once and we bet you’ll be hooked. You don’t need to worry about what anyone else wants to eat, watch or do—you can just do you! So the next time a movie is playing that you want to see and you don’t have a date, enjoy a shameless date night with yourself.
4. Don’t Ask for Permission
You deserve self-care time. Without tuning in to your mental and physical wellness needs, you can’t be your best, healthiest self. So don’t wait for someone to give you downtime or permission to make time for you. Make yourself a priority, get regular you-time on your calendar, and don’t make it optional.
5. Try a New Cuisine
Most experts agree that the typical American diet isn’t always the healthiest.3 Eating a diet focused on a variety of wholesome, real foods is more nutritious, and the many cultures and cuisines of the world are here to prove that eating real food is far from boring. Mix up your meals with fresh influences and spices from around the globe to discover new, healthy options that put frozen stir-fry to shame. From the scary-sounding squid-ink pasta of Italy to the pickled herring of Scandinavia, and Spain’s infamous, spicy paella—look up some recipes and take your palette on an adventure to get more real food variety in your diet. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors! Also, try adding antioxidant turmeric to your diet with turmeric tea or ground turmeric root.
6. Change Your Way of Eating
Have you ever wondered if you’d feel healthier if you eat carnivore, vegetarian, paleo, Mediterranean, gluten-free, 100% organic, or simply banished all processed foods for a real food diet? Experiment with a whole new way of eating, even if just for a week or two—you might be surprised how much better you feel!
7. Get Rid of No-Good Comforts
Do you find yourself stress eating and reaching for comforts like a tub of ice cream or glass of wine when you get worked up? We aren’t saying you should banish treats from your life, balance is key, but many of us have some not-so-great habits that we go to for comfort. Scare yourself a little bit by putting those old comforts out of reach. Instead, find healthier stress-relieving activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or aromatherapy.
8. Make New Friends
Talking to new people as an adult doesn’t seem as easy for many of us as it did when we were younger. It was a little intimidating then and maybe even more so now! The more you do it though, the easier it will get. Nurturing relationships, both new and old, is good for you. Studies show that people with healthy relationships tend to live longer and are healthier overall! Friends are there to support each other through the ups and downs of life. Build a strong support network for mind and body health.
9. Sign up for a Competition
This is a great way to push yourself toward goals and make new friends while you’re at it! By signing up for a competition, like a charity walk, a 5k fun run, or even a local marathon, you set a solid goal to work toward. Get a friend involved to make it less scary, or do it alone and meet new people on the same journey. And you aren’t limited to physical feats. Sign up for a local art competition and put your creative skills to the test, or don your chef’s cap and join a local cook-off.
10. Know When to Let Go
Letting go is scary, but what you subtract from your life can have just as big of an impact as what you add. Too many things cluttering your home and your schedule can make you feel tense, and negative people in your life can bring you down. Ask yourself what you really want and need in your life, and let go of the things that don’t make you feel good. Start with a drawer or a shelf and work your way up to bigger things. This one tip can be life-changing.
11. Travel More
We find comfort in our daily routines, but exploring new countries and cultures can open our eyes to new things and experiences we would never imagine. While going somewhere you don’t speak the language may seem intimidating, there is scientific proof that traveling abroad is good for us—benefiting everything from heart health to stress levels, overall happiness, and creativity.
12. Stop Worrying
This may sound like the opposite of scaring yourself, but if you’re a persistent worrier, the thought of putting those worries out of your mind might leave you feeling afraid you’ll miss something. But can you think of a time when worrying has actually helped you? Most of the time it doesn’t. It just stresses you out. The next time you find yourself worrying over something you can’t control, give yourself permission to stop worrying and direct your mind toward something positive. If you can do something about it, schedule time to do it or plan, and give your mind a break otherwise. Practice deep breathing exercises, meditate, go for a walk, or do something that makes you happy.
13. Laugh When No One Else is Laughing
Emotions are contagious.6 It’s easy to get caught up in negativity or stress when people around you are down, but try and make a conscious effort to avoid falling in line. Studies have shown that even the simple act of mimicking a smile or frown can trigger reactions in our brains that convince us those expressions are our feelings. Look for things every day to smile and laugh about, even if no one else is laughing. Who knows, maybe it’ll be your happiness that spreads. And happiness has been linked to longevity, so you’ll be doing yourself and everyone else a favor!
14. Be Open-Minded
Being open-minded is a healthy trait to nurture. Research has linked open-mindedness to both emotional and physical health. Open-minded people also tend to be happier, more optimistic, innovative, and creative, less prone to stress, and have healthier social relationships. Considering thoughts and opinions that are different from our own may be outside of the comfort zone for many of us, but try and approach daily life from a place of curiosity. Ask questions and strive to truly understand the thought process of others. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change your mind about anything—it’s just a way of approaching life with more understanding and compassion, and it may just help make the world a happier and healthier place!
Why Scare Yourself?
Pushing yourself in meaningful ways can help you grow in every area of life. Always striving, even in small ways, to take better care of yourself, boost your physical and mental health, and broaden your life experiences can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. So start today, and share your successes and how you’re challenging yourself in the comments below!