In recent years, there’s been a shift towards healthier lifestyle choices, like following a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis.
Now, a study by researchers at the University of Kent and the University of Reading has found that adopting and sticking to these habits could have a positive effect on people’s moods.
Things like eating a balanced diet that’s rich in nutrients, including more fruits and vegetables, as well as exercising more often, can increase happiness, as well as having health benefits.
The study used data from over 4,000 UK households in the “Understanding Society Data” study. This included questions about the participants’ lifestyles and general habits, such as their diet, sleeping patterns, mental health, and exercise routines.
Then, they used this data to analyze how habits might impact moods and mental health. The results show that, overall, following a healthier lifestyle is linked to more happiness.
In particular, those that ate enough fruits and vegetables and followed a consistent exercise routine were most likely to experience improved mental wellbeing.
How to stick to a healthy routine
One of the findings of this study was that the researchers found that self-control was a key indicator in whether or not someone will maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Those with the highest level of self-control were most likely to stick to their healthy habits. However, for those finding it more difficult, the researchers had other recommendations.
For example, understanding the long-term benefits of healthy habits and prioritizing them made the participants much more likely to stick to them, and this also made them happier.
Another option for anyone struggling was to have a plan and strategies to stick to the habits in the long run, like behavioral nudges to reinforce objectives. This can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which makes people both happier and healthier.