Happy Mind, Happy Life

Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.


Feel Better In 5: How to follow my daily plan that will help you feel great for life

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  November 12, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, you may already be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Guilt about overindulging has set in before the festive season has properly begun. And you’ve promised yourself that, come January, you’ll finally overhaul your life and get healthy, right?

Well what if I could tell you that, this time, it’s not going to involve a gruelling, hard-to-stick-to regime? That you really are going to achieve that goal – and all you’ll need to invest is five minutes?

Trying to ‘get healthy’ can be overwhelming. We’ve all done it: started an intensive, life-changing plan, only to throw in the towel days, weeks or months later. Behavioural science shows that most health plans, whether they’re about losing weight, exercising more or quitting bad habits, simply aren’t designed to last. It’s because they’re based on the common, but incorrect assumption that you can make sweeping and lasting changes to your health by relying solely on willpower and motivation.

A new way to a new you

Forget willpower, forget total transformations – it doesn’t have to be that hard. I know from my own life, and the experiences of patients I’ve helped over 20 years as a GP, that simple, small changes to your health are what add up a sustainable difference. That’s why I’ve created Feel Better In 5, a daily plan that breaks down the most important aspects of health into five-minute chunks.

It’s an easy-to-follow, no-cost plan that’s motivating in its simplicity. It gets results because it understands that the vast majority of today’s health problems are rooted in our busy, modern lifestyles. It will lead to noticeable change without demanding that you wake up tomorrow morning and magically become a completely person. All I need from you is five minutes of your time, three times a day, just five days a week.

Here’s how it works

My plan asks you to introduce three easy practices into your daily routine. I call them ‘health snacks’. Each one will take no more than five minutes to complete – short enough to be able to fit into your busy day yet long enough to ensure you gain real benefits. My premise is the simple fact that it is the way we choose to live, day in and day out, that mostly defines how healthy we end up being. If we consistently make good choices, we feel well. If we repeatedly make bad ones, our wellbeing suffers.

Each health snack will focus on a different aspect of your health: Mind, Body and Heart. So you spend five minutes working on your mind, which helps reduce levels of stress and anxiety. This might be a breathing exercise, a brief pause in nature, or a making brain-nourishing smoothie. Add a five-minute health snack for your body, which will get you moving more. I’ve included a range of fun activities and effective workouts for all levels. Then a health snack for your heart. This helps strengthen your essential connections in life, so there are practices like calling a friend, taking time out with your partner, or compiling lists of people and things to celebrate and be grateful for.

This 360 degree approach ensures that your entire system – mind, body and heart – is being looked after. By completing three short health snacks a day, you’ll quickly begin to feel happier, calmer and more energetic. You’ll become physically healthier and, if you are carrying excess weight, you will start to lose it.

That’s my promise to you.

Mind, Body, Heart – a 360 degree approach to health

All you need to do to follow the plan is flick through the book and choose one health snack from each of the three menus – Mind, Body and Heart. Add them into your routine for five days of the week, your ‘Feel Better Days’.

There are some activities that are better suited to certain times of day, such as the Morning Wake-Up Flow yoga sequence (Body), or the Reframe the Day activity (Heart), which I think works well by night. But what’s most important is slotting them in seamlessly at a time when they’re most likely to become habits.

For the same reason, I encourage you to stick with the same three health snacks each day, at least for a while. This removes decision making fatigue and procrastination, which are like kryptonite for habit formation!

To make things easier, I’ve created a series of Mind + Body + Heart combinations that work particularly well for certain conditions and concerns, such as anxiety or high blood pressure; wanting more energy or better sleep.

I’m passionate that Feel Better In 5 is a plan that’s relevant for each and every single one of us, whether we feel unwell or simply want to optimise our wellbeing. I really hope you’ll give it a try – and please get in touch to let me know how you get on.

  • Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s Feel Better In 5: Your Daily Plan To Feel Great For Life, is published by Penguin Life on 26 December, priced £16.99. You can pre-order your copy here.
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP