Four Keystone Habits to Adopt Into Your Life

Currently reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Good habits shape good decision making.  It means that once we continue a behavior, our brain can be on autopilot and focus on bigger priorities.  For example, the routine of brushing our teeth before bed saves our brain-space from worrying about it as a task.  The same goes for many other good habits such as meditating, exercising, and eating healthy.  When these habits stick, our bodies and minds benefit.  There are particularly important habits, known as keystone habits, that, once adopted, can spiral into more positive lifestyle changes.  For instance, depression and anxiety is a common condition many people face, but adopting a single keystone habit such as exercising can not only help reduce anxiety and depression, but also keep us more energized throughout the day and physically stronger.  Here are four of them.

Reading

It may come as a surprise to many that reading can have such a big impact on our lives.  Reading can provide us with stress reduction and tranquility from the technology-heavy lives we read.  The blue light from computer screens can create strain and fatigue overtime.  When I read online, I sometimes am prone to headaches and migraines.  However, reading words on paper has always been a calming activity before bed.  Moreover, reading expands the vocabulary and increases analytical thinking.  Since reading is an active activity, it keeps the mind sharp.

Exercising

My favorite exercise is nature walks and hikes such as in Canmore, Alberta.

This one is a no-brainer.  When I first started exercising, it felt like an immense chore.  The inertia to start exercising always seemed greater on days when I’m exhausted from other commitments.  However, once this became part of my daily routine, I felt stronger, more energetic, and happier.  The mood effects were significant.  As someone who is prone to anxiety, exercising helped reduce negative thoughts.  Especially before bedtime.  I also started eating healthier as well.  If there was a keystone habit I’d recommend more than the others, exercising definitely tops the list.

Early morning meditations help me focus and get ready for the day.

Meditating

Another habit that has stuck with me since my teenage years was meditating.  The bustle of school, work, and life took a toll on my mental health.  I found I had racing thoughts before bedtime and physiologically my heart rate and blood pressure w going up.  Meditating meant I could learn to cope better with multiple commitments.  I separated the anxiety from myself and it offloaded the unhappiness that led to months of insomnia.  Meditation has other benefits too, such as making meaning of the day’s activities and refocusing our energy on self-care.

Eating a healthy breakfast

Despite my advocacy towards healthy eating as a whole, eating a healthy breakfast is a simpler first step than simply eating healthy.  Healthier breakfasts help me look forward to waking up and keep me energized throughout the day.  On days when I skip breakfast, I feel my mood is poor and I am fatigued before lunch.  Set the pace of the day with a balanced breakfast.  This could be an omelet or a breakfast panini with a cup of dark roast coffee.

A healthy breakfast filled with nuts and veggies are my favorite way to start the day.

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