When you think of happiness and longevity hacks, attention often turns to the working week. But equal opportunity lies on the weekend, as Deepak Chopra and best-selling author Kabir Sehgal recently wrote on CNBC's Make It.
As the power duo put it: "The happiest and most successful people make the most out of their free time, on weekends especially, by incorporating healthy habits that have been scientifically proven to improve our physical and mental well-being."
The experts suggest doing these three science-backed things on weekends to live a longer, happier life.
1. Prioritize friends and family.
Pick two people in your life that you know, in your heart of hearts, you should be spending more time investing in, but for whatever reason you don't. It could be a co-worker, old friend, brother, sister, mother, father, mentor, or anyone else. Starting today, double down on the investment you make in them. The investments we make in those that matter to us will matter in the end.
Stanford University research from 2014 shows that not only do the employed get benefits from taking a break from their work week and socializing, but the unemployed do too. In fact, unemployed individuals who spent time with family and friends on weekends saw a 15 percent increase in well-being.
2. Make time for exercise.
I recognize it's hardly earth-shattering news that exercising on weekends (and in general) can lead to greater longevity. The surprise for me were the findings from an Oxford psychology study Chopra cited about the impact exercise has on overall well-being. The study found that physically active people had 43 percent fewer days of poor mental health than those who didn't exercise.
I know when I don't exercise I don't feel as good that day, even knowing that dragging yourself to the gym can be, well, a drag.
3. Give meditation a shot.
In case you're skeptical here, let me start with the science.
Multiple studies have shown that practicing mindfulness and meditation can increase overall happiness in life and lower the health risk of stress related issues.
I'm not an expert here, but I've taken to meditating in my own way for just 15 minutes or so on weekends (and occasionally during the week). I just close my eyes, block out all distractions and mental noise, and sharply focus on what I'm grateful for in my life. Experts confirm meditation doesn't have to be a multi-hour undertaking--15-20 minutes can get you much of the mindfulness benefit.
So while you're busy being a weekend warrior, don't forget the peacefulness, happiness, and longevity that comes from building these three simple habits into your Saturday and Sunday.