3 Habits That Make Me Happy(ier)

I still suck at meditating. I’m far away from being a non-smoker (after announcing “I quit smoking” several times.) Sometimes I even leave the house without brushing my teeth (luckily I store a toothbrush at the office). I feel so ill-disciplined in many ways.

BUT in order to stay motivated in the process of incorporating positive new behaviors, I want to share even my small successes and learnings with you. (That’s the whole idea of growthbuddy). There are some healthy things I integrated (nearly) without any effort into my everyday life that improve my day.

I figured that “three” is a good number to skim through. 🙂

1. Showering Cold

In July I read a facebook post about cold showers. This friend was literally raving about the revolutionary effect of cold showers on his life. I was fairly impressed. The benefits of contrast showers in “Kneipp” manor in order to increase the blood circulation were not new to me. In the past I experienced cold showers as an unbeatable hangover-cure. So I gave it a go.

The water in Munich is freezing cold, but luckily it was boiling hot summer during that time. “Why not have this feeling of jumping into a mountain river every morning?”, I thought to myself and ever since I’m finishing (not beginning;) my showers cold.

What can I say? The effects I’ve noticed after three months are staggering:

  • I feel more awake – also during the whole day. No coffee can unleash this level of energy.
  • I feel stronger and happier, because I already master a challenge before I even leave the house. 😉
  • My body is toning automatically: Hot showers increase the blood circulation too, but cold showers are also triggering the so called “brown adipose tissue”. In other words: They burn more fat! Besides that cold showers help draining fluid retention in the body.
  • My hair is more healthy as cold water treats the hair structure.
  • Hungovers are easy to tackle as cold showers help detoxing.;)

2. Stretching and Squatting

During the past ten years I’ve been trying different sports: Yoga, Functional Training, Parcours, (Russian) Martial Arts, Qi-Gong, Running. During the last years I went to the Bouldering gym regularly, but the gaps between my visits vary a lot.

I still exercise as often as I can, but I just don’t really stick with anything. But there is something I found out, that helps me to improve my over-all well-being during the day: Stretching!

What do I do and why?

  • Before I go to bed and in the morning I do back stretches like a forward bend, some qi-gong movements or tricks of my favourite youtube fitness trainer in order to relieve stress and sleep (or wake up) easier.
  • Bridge or downward-facing-dog or even practicing handstand at lunchbreak before the afternoon-low is kicking in (or to cure it).
  • Writing an e-mail or brushing my teeth or doing whatever (sometimes even waiting for the bus, if not too many people are watching) in deep squat position.

Stretching is good. We all know that. The trick is, that I try to integrate it into my day-to-day life as often as I can. I don’t need to “find the time”. But these small exercises help me to relieve stress or tension in my back and my whole body feels more refreshed. I can’t really give you the scientifical reason for it, but it feels like my feet are warmer as well.

3. Walking Different Ways Home

Even if I live in the self-pro-claimed “bike city” Munich, I prefer walking to riding the bicyle. Sometimes I move my ass on the seat of my mountain bike to cruise down Isar – the river in Munich, but I avoid the city traffic completely.

Mainly I’m just lazy, but also I’m afraid of dying – it might sounds ridiculous, but I’m paranoid because of the traffic and the other bikers (because they are so fast and rude, haha.) Instead of stepping into the pedals I read books in the subway and go for extensive pavement walks across the city.

After work I’ve started to drive one station too far or I take a different line to a different area from where I can reach my home within a 20 minutes to two hours walking distance. (depending on how much time I have).

On Sundays the “left-right-left-game” became my favourite occupation. Instead of choosing a route, I navigate into a rough direction and turn left and right alternately. It always leads me to suprising places. I discover new interesting restaurants and meet different people.Sometimes I even walk home 10 km from the city centre just to get “a better feel” for the distances.

What are the benefits?

  • Walking calms my nerves down, when I feel over-exerted or brain-wrecked and improves my over-all well-being.
  • An additional plus to the physical and mental benefits is the fact, that I get to know the city much better. Sometimes I even walk slow intentionally to acknowledge my surrounding.
  • I walk between 8 and 15 km nearly every day.