What does it mean to live 'the good life'? What are the foundations of a life that is good, vibrant and fulfilling? These are questions many of us ask on a regular basis, either of ourselves or of others. And while, of course, there are varying shades and flavors of what constitutes 'good', these are some common accepted tenets that can help most people improve the quality of her/his life. While reading this post, please feel welcomed to take what resonates for you, ignore what doesn't, and comment below if you wish to add something.
Keys to Living a Good Life:
1. Proper hydration. This means different things to different people, and no one seems to be able to agree on an exact quantity of ideal consumption. Which makes sense, really, as all bodies are unique and individual and in a constant state of change and growth. What I usually go by myself and recommend to others is to aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water PLUS one extra liter daily. For example, if you were to [conveniently] weigh 120 pounds, then you look for 60 ounces of water plus an additional liter (which is roughly 32 ounces), so your daily total of water consumption would be around 90 ounces.
2. Adequate sleep. As mentioned in number 1, above, bodies are unique. This number will fluctuate for folks, too. It can take some trial and error to find what works best for you. The general consensus is a minimum of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I, personally, do better with 9-10 hours these days. But it changes with the general state of my health and my physical exertion. See what works best for you, but get at the very least 8 solid hours of sleep a night, if you can.
3. Nutrition gleaned from a diet of foods for which our bodies are naturally designed. While I believe that everyone is entitled to their own personal journey, and will discover their own personal nutritional preferences in their own time, I also believe that there is a diet that we are naturally designed to eat. It's that diet that is optimal for our highest state of health. Do I always eat that diet? No, though I'm working on it. Do I think your body can adapt to eating any number of types of diet? Yes. We are incredibly adaptable beings. It has been scientifically determined that humans are naturally frugivorous creatures. That is why I recommend a diet of raw fruits, especially the sweeter, more calorie-dense varieties, and vegetables, particularly leafy greens. But, even if you consume other items in your diet, adding more fresh fruits and vegetables will increase the nutritional quotient of your overall dietary intake.
4. Reduce clutter (mentally and physically). It is important to keep both head space and home space clear of excess stuff. This doesn't mean you need to let go of every last material belonging. Rather, it is important to fill our lives with things that bring us joy and serve our greatest passions. Anything else is unnecessary clutter and just distracts us from those passions. Likewise, an overcrowded mental cavern, as many of us have experienced, is not only distracting, but exhausting, to boot. Experiment with Minimalism in your material environment and Meditation in your mental environment. You'll be amazed at what a little free space can do for your quality of life.
5. Exercise. We all know that exercise is imperative for a happy, healthy life. There're the physical benefits of improved muscular performance, joint health, weight management, and cardiovascular endurance. And there're the mental benefits of mood elevation and stress reduction thanks to increases in dopamine and serotonin levels. Working our bodies to fatigue helps us to sleep more soundly. And regular exercise boosts our immune function which keeps us healthy and happy when everyone around us is suffering with the illness du jour. There are as many ways to exercise as there are colors in a spectrum. So, get creative, find something you love doing, and get out there and move your body!
6. Balancing Getting with Giving. If you've ever done something nice for someone else for no other reason than to be a helping hand, then you will understand this one. Being of service to the world community, whether on an individual basis, or en masse, is a truly uplifting, healing, and inspiring thing. Volunteer. Practice random acts of kindness. Share a smile with a stranger. Give as much (or more!) than you get.
7. Never stop growing, seeking, learning, trying, loving aka Find Your Passion. This one is pretty self-explanatory. When we stop checking in with our Selves, and stop pursuing our passions, life becomes a shadowy existence. Always seek to learn more about your Self, to push your Self, to grow your Self. And, above all, pursue your passions!
8. Cultivate Love (of self, others and life). To cultivate means to actively and lovingly tend. Real, inspiring, uplifting, compassionate Love can only survive and thrive if cultivated. We have to work at it. We can't just assume that others know how we feel about them. We need to tell them. And show them. And we need to do the same for our Self. And for Life, in general. If we cultivate Love for Life, then Life will Love us back. Period.