Ultimate guide to improve your health


Kevin Mangelschots

Being healthy covers many aspects such as being physically active, sleeping well, eating clean, and watching our weight among many other things.

Luckily, there’s much we can do to improve our wellbeing. Let’s find out how to improve our health.

Health aspects

Image describing how mind, body, spirit, and soul all influence each other.

Health is a very complicated subject that is made up of a large variety of different health aspects. These various facets need to be in balance before we can call someone healthy.

Of course, you might be slacking a bit in one area, but compensating due to excelling in another health-related domain. But in general, all features should more or less be balanced for the best results.

Health aspects

  • Physical health.
  • Mental health.
  • Healthy diet.
  • Spirituality.

However, to influence these health aspects effectively, we’ll have to build deliberate, useful, beneficial habits. Routines with real utility, so to speak.

Keep in mind that certain advantageous habits that are listed under for example physical health can also be listed under mental health and vice versa. A lot of health aspects are closely related to each other and influence each other. As a result, what works for one facet will probably affect another feature of well-being as well.

How to improve your physical health

  • Exercise

    Image of a woman running with a yellowish background due to the sun setting.

    BOTH resistance training AND cardiovascular exercise contribute greatly to our physical health. That’s why they should be combined for optimal results!

    Exercising has many health benefits like injury prevention, and improved mental health due to the dopamine that’s being released when we exercise which makes us feel better and aids us to lose belly, or general body fat. Working out can even cure, or at least improve the symptoms of depression.

    Cardiovascular exercise is vital for a multitude of health reasons.

    It helps manage our mental health by clearing and distracting the mind, which helps reduce stress. Especially when the physical exercises are performed outside for a change of scenery.

    It is good for the health of your organs such as your heart and lungs. But it also reduces the chance of attracting other physical health issues such as diabetes and hypertension.

    Resistance training is also essential to get, or maintain, a healthy body.

    A woman performing a barbell squat.

    Research has shown that resistance training like weightlifting for example has a variety of health benefits. For instance, it makes your muscles, tendons, and bones stronger. Making injuries less likely to happen.

    It also allows you to lift heavy things in your everyday life without blowing your back out as an added advantage.

    Furthermore, it empties your mind, assisting you to stay concentrated and able to think clearly.

    Remember the quote: ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body?’ Well, I, for one, couldn’t agree more.

    To me, physical health and mental health are interconnected, as health is a multifaceted process.

  • Keep your mobility

    Image of a man stretching on the street.

    Your mobility can be maintained with exercise. It can even be improved when stretching multiple times per week.

    While studies suggest that both dynamic and static stretching are effective at increasing your range of motion (ROM), static stretching shortly before engaging in physical exertion has been shown to increase the risk of sustaining injuries. It also decreases the amount of force you can deliver.

    So beware of dynamic stretching right before working out!

  • Be mindful of your weight

    A man measuring his stomach circumference.

    Being overweight, particularly having too much abdominal fat, has been proven to be one of the leading risk factors for developing diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.

    The fact is that your body composition is largely made in the kitchen. This means that working out on its own will most likely not be enough to get rid of these pesky love handles.

    To do that, you’ll have to eat a relatively clean diet, ingesting fewer calories than you burn, combined with the proper amount of exercise.

    Keep in mind that our metabolism slows down with age. Thus, your body will naturally start packing more fat mass compared to when you were younger. Therefore, it’s best to create healthy habits early on in your life so that you won’t gain too much weight when you age.

  • Get enough sleep

    Image of a woman sleeping in white bed covers

    Your body needs sleep to function properly. That’s because there is no energy to perform those functions optimally without an adequate amount of sleep.

    It has been shown that being sleep-deprived leads to increased fat gain. This happens due to the cortisol levels rising, which is the stress hormone that gets released whenever we’re tense. This increased production of cortisol can lead to your cells becoming more resistant to insulin. Therefore, increasing the amount of fat your body holds.

    Aim for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to function optimally. But know that you may need a little less or more sleep depending on your age and your genetics.

How to improve your mental health

Picture showing the words mental health and a green leaf on a white background.

  • Change the way you look at things

    One of the many ways to improve our mental health is by changing the way we look at things happening in our own lives and the world.

    Something can only hurt us if we consider it to be valuable. If we decide that the thing, or person that harmed us is important.

    We often worry about things that don’t matter, or which we have no control over. We care about people’s opinions whom we don’t even like, or know for that matter.

    Some people get stuck in a negative mindset and thus, see everything from this warped, pessimistic perspective. There’s a lot of truth to the saying: “You only see what you aim at.” So it’s best to look at the positive things going on in existence as well. You can’t control your emotions directly, but your thoughts have a large amount of influence on your emotions.

    You can improve your mental health by looking at the optimistic side of life, and by only worrying about those things that are under your control. If you consciously decide to be only concerned about the things and people who matter and are significant to you.

    Picture of cognitive behavioral therapy and it's aspects explained.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of therapy focused on changing the way you think and act, can truly be an eye-opener and can aid you in changing your mindset.

    Not only will it make you a more affirmative and happier person, but it will also be a lot more useful for yourself and others than complaining and being angry at everything and everyone all the time.

    Voluntarily challenging and facing the things that give you anxiety and uneasy feelings is the key to reducing those negative feelings you experience.

    Not because those sensations will magically disappear, but rather because you become braver instead. You will start noticing that you are capable of controlling your fears. And as a result, you will feel more in control of your existence. In return, this will reduce your anxiety.

    Remember that you can avoid antagonistic feelings and pessimistic thoughts for a while, but you will still have to face them eventually. If you do not, they will become, and stay, an obstacle for the rest of your further life.

    Even if you do avoid negative thoughts, you still won’t feel good about it, and you might even experience stress. Because you know that you are avoiding the very things you need to challenge and fix to overcome them.

  • Physical exercise

    Picture of multiple people lifting with barbells in a gym.

    Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. It’s Yin and Yang, so to speak.

    Your mental health can’t be optimized without working out, and vice versa. Exercising has been proven to release dopamine, which is our “happiness” hormone. These increased dopamine levels improve our mood and make us feel better, in addition to more confident.

  • Meaningful social network

    A group of friends hugging on the beach.

    A good social network in the form of family and close friends will make us feel appreciated and cared about.

    It also provides a great support network for when times are tough, and for when we need assistance to make it through that rough patch. And make no mistake, we will all go through some harsh times at some point in our lives. That’s the unpleasant reality of living.

    Human beings require meaningful interactions with friends and family members to feel fulfilled. Both introverts and extroverts require social interaction. They just differ in how much social stimulation they desire.

    These meaningful interactions give us a sense of belonging to people, and to the world itself, if you will.

    If we don’t get the necessary amount of social stimulation, then our mood and mental health will deteriorate. Being socially deprived gives us stress, and if this keeps up for a longer period, then your mind might wander off to dark places, which can even cause depression in some instances. So make sure to interfere as fast as possible!

    If you currently are, or happen to get depressed in the future, then do not despair. As it is possible to cure or at least diminish depression.

  • Do more things you like

    Image of a cat with a smile and teeth painted on a piece of paper in front of the cat's face.

    The last, but certainly not the least, important tip is quite simple. Do more things you enjoy.

    Certain chores in life are necessary and unavoidable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we like to do those things.

    However, make sure to do some things you love like exercising, reading, and talking to your family and close friends in your free time, for example.

    Not only that, make sure you savor your work. If you don’t, then you should try making plans to switch jobs at some near point in the future. Whether we like it or not, at the end of the day, most of us spend more time at our jobs than we do with our family at home.

  • Limit stress and release tension often

    A hand pushing the “off” button with the sentence “stress level” written above it.

    Try to keep stress and anxiety to a minimum by engaging in relaxing activities such as gardening, exercising, and even mindfulness. Everything that calms, eases, or distracts the mind such as physical exercise and exerting yourself is beneficial.

    Multiple health studies have found that stress, and in particular chronic stress, puts our well-being at risk.

    This means that you should try to keep in mind that we all need to blow off some steam from time to time to feel good and stay sane.

How to improve your diet

A plate of healthy food.

A healthy diet is grossly (no pun intended) underrated for your overall wellness.

There’s an ancient quote that says: “You are what you eat.” And there’s a lot of truth and wisdom to be found in that sentence.

As we all know, drugs like cocaine, smoking, and especially alcohol, are addictive and destructive. In the short term, those drugs might not show their immediate detrimental effects except making you addicted, which we often don’t realize until it’s too late.

But in the long term, they WILL be damaging to your overall health. Your physical health, and mental health, but also your social and work life will be negatively impacted over time.

Take the following steps to improve your diet:

  • Drink a lot of water

    Image of a man drinking water while working out.

    It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Simply put, drink more water during the day to hydrate properly.

    Our bodies are largely made up of water. Around 70% to be more precise.

    That’s why it’s necessary to drink enough water so that our organs, brain, and muscles can function properly.

    You can go as far as saying that water is the single most important substance to our body. Like a car doesn’t ride without fuel, our bodies can’t function without water.

  • Eat organic foods

    Multiple kinds of different berries.

    In the food department, it’s also quite uncomplicated. Try to eat organic foods that are naturally occurring in nature.

    Preferably, meat that is free from hormones and from animals that have been grass-fed. Vegetables that have not been sprayed, or with the least possible amount of pesticides.

    This means eating unprocessed foods while simultaneously avoiding sweets and sugar as much as possible.

  • Limit soda

    Drinking water instead of soda is a convenient way to boost your well-being while limiting weight gain at the same time. Soda is full of sugar, and thus, extremely unhealthy.

    If you want any more motivation or explanation as to why you should quit drinking soda, then watch what happens when they boil a soda such as Coca-Cola. It’s nasty.

  • Limit alcohol

    A group of people drinking multiple different alcoholic beverages together.

    Alcohol is b poison. And that’s coming from someone who occasionally loves his beers a bit too much. Granted, it’s biodegradable by the liver in small quantities.

    Alcohol contains a lot of “empty” calories. Meaning, that hey’re calorie-dense while containing little to no nutrients.

    A lot of sugar can be found in alcoholic beverages, which our bodies will naturally convert to fat if that energy source doesn’t get used. I’m not saying you need to go straight edge. But, it is advised to limit your alcohol intake to a minimum.

    Make sure not to drink daily, even if you only drink slight amounts of alcohol each day, since chronic drinking might be even worse than getting wasted once in a while.

Spirituality: How to find and define your purpose in life

Your Purpose Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Spirituality is not to be confused with religion. Although religious belief can be a part of spirituality for some people.

It’s a much broader than just someone’s faith. It is basically what makes you, well, you. Your own individual identity. Your personality, so to say.

It is one of the most important facets to develop in our existence. It includes your own values, and principles that you apply each day.

  • Develop your own values and principles

    These values and principles start developing from the moment you are self-conscious as a child, until the moment you die.

    Those beliefs will be influenced by the people you hold dear and who are meaningful to you. This is by the way why it’s essential to have good role models early on in life!

    But, other people can’t do all the work for you. You will have to search for, develop, and integrate the values and principles you find indispensable in life on your own.

  • Set goals for yourself

    Goal, plan, action text on light box on desk table in home office. Business motivation or inspiration, performance of human concepts ideas.

    Having a goal, or multiple destinations is one of the most influential properties to have a reason to live. Without a goal in life, nothing really matters.

    The advantage of not having a goal is that nothing matters (nihilism). The disadvantage of not having something meaningful to pursue, and it’s a big one, is that you are suffering meaninglessly. Because without goals, nothing matters.

    That’s why I recommend people to search for, and to set personal goals that you wish to achieve in the future. It has to be something that you find important and substantive.

    It can be something as trivial as cleaning your room every day, so there’s less chaos and more structure in your life. But it can go much further and get a lot more complicated, like getting a degree for a job you would like to practice. Or getting your family life in order.

    Remember to carefully think your ends through! As, the goal(s) you go after have to be critical and of worth to you. This way, you’ll get to create the best you while being capable of living your life to the fullest!

Create good habits to be healthy

Picture of a man running on a road with the words written: “It's time to adopt these healthy habits for a healthy lifestyle.”

Ultimately, things such as exercising, sleeping the right amount of hours, and eating a healthy diet are all prime examples of established beneficial habits.

  • Exercise

    Both resistance training and low-intensity long-distance cardio activity are essential for your physical health, and for your mental well-being as well.

    In the end, people are made to move around by exerting themselves, not to sit in a chair for a whole day doing nothing.

    If you have a job where you are required to sit for extended periods, then you should try to take some time to stretch and walk around regularly.

  • Eat and drink healthy

    Our diet has shown the surprising ability to influence our mental state and physical constitution.

    On the physical front, a healthy diet will reduce fat and increase athletic performance. Regarding the psyche, a well-balanced diet can decrease depression, reduce stress, and make us feel more confident.

    And while we often aren’t mindful of what we eat and how critical it is to our bodies, we really should give it the proper amount of attention and importance it deserves.

  • Get enough sleep

    Image of a woman sleeping in white bed covers

    Our bodies can’t function properly without sleep. Even though we might think we can function perfectly fine with just a few hours of sleep, we simply can’t. Just because we’ve gotten to the point that it feels natural and normal to us to sleep just a few hours each night doesn’t mean it’s healthy or the norm.

    Sleep is required to regenerate energy. And without our vigor, there’s no ability to move around or to think.

    If you want to establish good sleep hygiene, then make sure to go to bed and wake up at the same hour each day.

  • Create meaningful goals and relationships with others

    Image of two women wearing similar clothes hugging while extending their outer arm.

    Humans are social creatures by nature. As a logical result, our meaning is to be found in goals and relationships that involve the people that are important to us.

    Without something valuable to aim at, life is just something to get over with, full of suffering without something that makes all that pain worthwhile.

  • Above all, be consistent

    Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects that’s necessary to create good habits is to remain consistent.

    The quote, “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments” written in black letters on a gray shirt.

    It’s easy to exercise and to eat healthy for a few weeks. But to keep that same discipline for months and years on end without ever dwindling is tough. You’ll have to be focused and tough-minded to keep those healthy habits afloat.

    Consistency is the key to success. No matter what you do in life, whether it’s trying to be healthy, attempting to make a lot of money, or trying to become good at a sport, regularity is critical. This uniformity will be the key ingredient that lets you reach your goal.

    Make no mistake, there will be multiple failures and mistakes being made on the road to success. But as long as you keep standing up each time you fall, and manage to keep at it, you’ll reach your dreams. No matter what they might be.