1. Good sleep, diet and exercise (including walking) are essential if you want to feel well and be at your best. If you get these three areas wrong, your brain will not function properly. That will make life more difficult. You should plan to sleep well, eat healthily, and exercise. Spend some time ‘self-watching’ to understand your current sleep, diet and exercise habits, then create a specific written plan if you need to improve these.
2. If you want improve to your sleep, diet or exercise, start by making small changes. For example, get five more minutes sleep. Eat an extra piece of fruit and do five minutes of fast walking. You can then build on these. Small changes are the foundations of major helpful changes.
3. An essential part of well-being and happiness is experiencing personal progress in your life. Write some daily, specific goals and then reflect on what you have achieved at the end of each day. Focus mainly on the successes, however small.
4. Our brains are designed to help us survive, and not to keep us happy and at our best in the 21st century. One unhelpful side effect of this is our tendency to dwell on unhelpful thoughts. This can lead to wasted time, and increased levels of stress. One technique to stop this is a ‘written argument’. For example, if you notice that you are beating yourself up over a mistake, write a letter to yourself. Write down why thinking in this way is not helpful for your health, happiness or performance. Try it!
5. The temptation to be always on is greater than ever. If we want to be at our best, and want our brains to work properly, we need quality down time. People report effective ways of achieving this include the following: a 15 minute walk at lunch time; disconnecting from technology for 10 minutes during the afternoon, focusing on steady, rhythmic breathing, switching off technology one hour before bed.