Three bizarrely simple things you can do to feel better quick

[What I had for breakfast today: again, beet greens, jasmine rice, an egg and sriracha. I'm still not sick of it, but I will admit to looking forward to the day the cabbage, mustard greens and broccoli that we planted this season are big enough to eat. A little vegetable variety might be welcome soon.]


Healthy choices aren't complicated, ever. You already know that you'll probably feel better if you opt for the oatmeal instead of the glazed donut, or the hike instead of the happy hour. Healthy choices are simple--but, well, they aren't necessarily easy. (Just typing "glazed donut" has me considering one, a little.) 

Here are three healthy choices that actually are really easy. They're not choosing one thing over another, they don't take a lot of time, and they don't disrupt your day. In fact, I recommend doing them every day. I promise that if you do each of these things every day, you'll feel noticeably better within a week. 

1. Stretch a little, first thing in the morning. Just for five minutes. Set a timer, if it helps, or create a routine for yourself. 

Indoors or out, get your stretch on.

I have a short, Vinyasa-based yoga practice that I move through nearly every morning, for the last, oh, fifteen or twenty years. The days that I miss it I notice--I'm creakier, slower, and less focused. It's like my body still hasn't woken up yet. Moving my joints and muscles out of sleep in a gradual, encouraging way prepares me to stay connected to my physical body throughout the day--meaning it's easier for me to choose healthful exercise and food, quicker to bend down and peek under the couch to recover Kamal's toy racecars and Legos, and less likely to injure myself through inattention. 

2. Drink enough water. "Enough" means different things for different people. I'm a moderately active person, and I drink about a gallon of water per day. If that sounds like an obscene amount of water, try aiming for a half-gallon to start. That's just 64 ounces--you can do it!  

 (If you only weigh 30 pounds, though, you do not need 64 ounces of water per day.)

Your body getting enough water means you'll be far more energetic. Your joints will be healthier, your organs will function better, your skin will be lovelier, and your mind will be clearer. Yes, you'll have to pee all the time, but eventually your body adjusts so that you're running to the restroom less frequently. If water feels really boring to you, check out this post for ideas on how to make it more interesting. 

3. Practice gratitude. This one is really important. The definition of success, at least my definition, is wanting what you have. 

So every morning, before you've even gotten out of bed, think of three things that you are grateful for--things that exist in your life that help make it good. They can be the same things every day or different things; they can be huge or tiny, or both. For example, maybe you're grateful for that orchid you coaxed to rebloom against all odds, and for the fact that you haven't caught that cold that everyone you know seems to have, and for the presence in your life of your amazing child. 

Do each of these things every day. You'll feel better, happier, more present in your life--and the world will be better because of the gift of the happier, more present you.