03 Feb 4 Foundational Habits We Could All Use
The other day, after delivering a keynote and while fielding some questions from the audience, I was asked whether or not I had a personal philsophy by which I live.
I referred, as I often do, to the fact I believe happiness is something we CHOOSE whereby "choose" is a philosophy in which we take responsibility for life AND an acronym in which 6 key positive psychology strategies are captured (see HERE).
Thinking back on the question, and my answer, later I was struck by the thought that all of the happy and successful people I've met, interviewed, worked with or read about had a relatively simple philosophy at the heart of their approach to happiness and success and life.
And just as importantly, all these people also displayed or described a few, simple behaviours that they believed set them up, consistently, for health and happiness.
So when I came across this aricle in which Stephen Guise from Pick the Brain presents 4 foundational habits I thought I had to share it with you here…
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
~ John Dryden
Every person is different, but every person is human, meaning we all have things in common.
There are some habits so foundational to human well-being that they can single-handedly keep us going when we find ourselves in a difficult place. Foundational habits consistently improve our core elements—mind, body, and soul—which is why they are overwhelmingly positive for nearly everyone. If you’re in a rut or feel like you might be approaching one, put some effort into forming these habits to put yourself in a position to thrive.
Life can be tough. I just moved to a new city where I don’t know anyone. Being a writer, it means I don’t have a social outlet through work, and not being into bar or coffee shop scenes, forming relationships in this first month has been difficult. Given my lonely circumstances, I could fall into a negative spiral of self-pity, but I haven’t for the reasons I’m about to tell you.
When something isn’t going well, you can thrive (in other ways) with powerful foundational habits. They’re foundational because you can always rely on them. When you have foundational habits, you’re able to brush off poor circumstances with greater ease. They enable you to persevere, which is one of life’s most important skills.
These are the four foundational habits that every person needs for maximum well-being and resilience. You may be familiar with these habits, but read on for some unique insights you may not have heard before.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Exercise is the greatest natural anti-depressant there is. The physical benefits are obvious, but exercise arguably benefits the mind as much as it does the body.
Exercise creates positive chemical reactions and increased blood flow in the brain. If you tend to have a lot of ideas while walking or running, it’s likely because increased blood flow is making your neural connections snappier. Increased blood flow is a key part of exercise’s magic.
In his book, Brain Rules, developmental molecular biologist John Medina says, “Any tissue without enough blood supply is going to starve to death— your brain included. […] The more you exercise, the more tissues you can feed and the more toxic waste you can remove. This happens all over the body. That’s why exercise improves the performance of most human functions.”
I believe exercise is the single most important habit a person can have. The cumulative mind and body benefits are incalculable and can be exponential as they impact other areas of your life.
People who exercise are more resilient to life’s hardships for a number of reasons, one of which is tension release. Just the other day, I was furious about something and poured that energy into my workout. I came out feeling great, physically and emotionally!
2. Reading Books
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
~ Joseph Addison
Reading books is surely underrated in the modern world, if only because it’s deserved dominance has been lessened by an excessive number of alternative entertainment and learning options. Reading has been the historic standard for expanding your mind, finding new information, and learning directly or indirectly how to become greater than you currently are. Books, in my opinion, are simply the best choice for quality reading and have the greatest impact overall…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE