Thinking about your health in your everyday behaviors can be a useful tool to carry throughout your life. Emphasizing your habits to focus on your wellness will bring you not only good health, but a purposeful and joyful life. Consistently practicing healthy habits will bridge the gap from where you are now to a long-lasting change in wellness. An example of a country where many of its citizens have consistent healthy habits and focus on their well-being is Costa Rica. Costa Rica has been singled out by experts as being home to the planet’s healthiest and longest-living citizens. We can learn from the people of Costa Rica through their health-promoting behaviors. Below are the top 5 healthy habits to easily practice everyday for wellness - just like the Costa Ricans:
1) Find Your Purpose
The people of Costa Rica believe in “plan de vida” which means “reason to live”. This strong sense of purpose allows citizens focus on what they love to do as well as have a good work ethic. You can practice this same positive outlook on life through finding what you enjoy doing. This can take some exploration, however, finding your passion will ultimately make your life more fulfilling. Conversely, your passion and purpose should not take up all of your time or be your sole focus. Citizens of Costa Rica will generally spend their days working, eating, and playing in equal measure. Remember to maintain a balance of all aspects of your life in order to not get burnt out or stressed. Enjoy your reason to live!
2) Have Uplifting Relationships
Costa Ricans always make an effort to visit loved ones in their life. According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, loving relationships are just as positive for our health as getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating well, and not smoking. Uplifting relationships with others will help maintain positivity and love in your life. So try freeing up some time to visit those you love. Try scheduling regular family or friend time each week, plan dates, take a weekend trip, host a game night, make dinner with friends, host parties, or volunteer with those you care for. While it takes a conscious effort to make plans, spending quality time and making memories with people is worth it for your health and well-being!
3) Reduce Stress
We know that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and health. Long-term stress can even lead to the development of diseases such as hypertension, heart challenges, and diabetes. Stress also negatively impacts your mental health! One way that the people of Costa Rica reduce their stress is by getting outside and enjoying nature. While it helps that they live in sunny and tropical weather, you can still try to be active in some sunlight every day or just getting outdoors when you can. Also, reducing stress through meditation, yoga, and hobbies you enjoy can be beneficial. If you have a few moments in the day to just breathe, your mental well-being could greatly improve! Find what works for you to be more stress-free. Sign up for a yoga class, go for a walk outside, or download a free meditation app on your phone.
4) Eat and Sleep Right
One way the Costa Ricans eat for their health is they practice limiting portions. Eating in moderation in this way is a great tool for long-lasting health - and is something you can easily practice in your own life! While you may want to eat a whole carton of ice cream, eating just a portion that leaves you satisfied will ultimately leave you feeling your best. As well as eating in moderation, the people of Costa Rica tend to rise and set with the sun. While this may be impossible in our busy lives, obtaining 7+ hours of sleep per day is recommended. Having the habit of getting adequate sleep will reduce your risk for diabetes, manage stress levels, and make you feel more focused and energized. So while we can’t be perfect, aiming to eat a balanced diet in moderation as well as giving effort to get sleep will help our overall health and well-being.
4) Joyful Exercise
Lastly, one healthy habit of Costa Rica that we can learn from is their activity level. They spend a significant amount of their day with movement, either through working the farm land or walking as their mode of transportation. You can make activity a part of your life too through focusing on exercise that you find joyful. Doing physical activity is not only good for your health, but it also beneficial for your heart, energizes you, relieves stress, improves sleep, promotes brain health, and enhances mood. Find some movement in your day that makes you feel happy. Try dancing, gardening, hiking, stretching, swimming, cleaning, biking, playing a sport, or even hula-hooping! Implementing this joyful movement every day can make for a long-lasting change that empowers your health.