15 Simple Habits Healthy People do that you Should Steal
Health made easy - yes, it’s possible
Ever wonder how some people make healthy living look so darn easy and effortless? Like, they were born with a special gene making them predisposed to enjoy kale, have amazingly radiant skin (seriously, do you have an in-house dermatologist?), and post super-bendy and fit yoga pictures of themselves on Instagram?
Well, I’m here to tell you, there’s no such gene and that making changes towards a healthier lifestyle is possible no matter how busy you are.
All you need are smaller, manageable steps that you genuinely enjoy doing to get you started. And that’s the key!
And trust me, you don't have to buy expensive equipment, invest hours at the gym, or spend your entire paycheck at Whole Foods to get started.
Use the list below to glimpse a peek into the daily routine of that fiercely healthy person in your life and start adding one or two into your day.
Before you know it, you’ll be just as energetic, radiant, and peaceful as the women from your yoga class or the wellness bloggers you follow on Instagram.
1. Start the morning with thanks
Ever heard the phrases “begin each morning with a grateful heart” or “what you focus on, you attract?”
Practicing gratitude in the mornings kickstarts your day with positivity and trains your brain to focus on the joy in your life rather than the negative so you can attract even more abundance and happiness!
These can be the big things, like your home, car, family, and friends, to the little things, like your fluffy towels, the smell of coffee, or feeling the sunshine on your face.
Remember to include yourself and all the incredible qualities that you possess!
Best time to give thanks is right before getting out of bed. List 5-10 things you're grateful for - either in your mind or written down in a journal - to reduce stress, increase appreciation, and elevate your happiness.
Looking for some morning affirmations to further enhance your gratitude practice?
2. Mind food
What you feed your mind - the media you listen to, read, and watch - affects your mental health just as much as the food on your plate. If the majority of the media you consume is the news, gossiping talk shows, or drama filled tv shows, you’re instilling those same emotions within yourself.
Take the news as an example. Every story highlights tragic situations like accidents, violent crimes, natural disasters, or incompetent political figures (domestic and international) doing something scandalous/stupid. These emotions then influence your disposition, making it difficult to see the good in the world when you're constantly bombarded with stories filled with fear, panic, and so much stress.
Although I love a good Criminal Minds episode from time to time, I’m always left feeling a sense of dread and “could this happen in real life?”
To balance out your mind food, try adding in more positive sources of entertainment, like self-development podcasts, books, and documentaries. This simple addition quickly reduces the amount of tension in your day.
3. Eat breakfast
Whether or not to eat first thing in the morning is a highly debatable topic in the health and wellness community.
Some argue they function better eating later in the day (intermittent fasting) while others cite ‘lack of time’ in the morning and prefer a quick cup of coffee to keep them going till lunch time.
No matter where you stand, getting something in your system - besides caffeine - helps kickstart your brain, metabolism, and digestion. This could be a full meal, a smoothie, warm lemon water, or a green juice.
Make sure to hydrate as well!
If you want to eat breakfast but are always running late in the mornings, try prepping things ahead of time. Overnight oats, chia seed pudding, or gathering together smoothie ingredients in a freezer bag, so all you have to do is add liquid and blend, makes eating breakfast quick and easy. Plus, these are all easy to take with you and eat on-the-go.
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4. Bring snacks
No one likes to feel or be around a ‘hangry’ person. I’m one of those people, and it’s not pretty. I’ve learned to keep a snack in my purse to save myself from feeling crabby and moody.
Keep a granola bar, nuts, a single serving of almond butter, or trail mix in your bag just in case you’re unable to get something to eat. You can always bring fresh fruit or cut up veggies, but granola and nuts are great since they last longer.
And, if you got kids, when you pack their snacks, make sure to grab something for yourself as well as! No need to go hungry Momma.
5. Breathe deeply
Deep breaths - that move your belly as your inhale/exhale - stimulates your body’s relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system - a.k.a the rest and digest response).
Breathing deeply delivers more oxygen to nourish your cells and allows your entire nervous system to calm down, which decreases your risks of stress-related illnesses (cardiovascular issues, digestive upsets, sleep disruptions, etc.) and even increases your metabolism.
It seriously works like magic!
Next time you feel overwhelmed and stressed, place your hand on your stomach and feel it expand and contract as you breathe deeply through your nose. Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6. Repeat 3 times.
How do you feel? Are you more at ease?
6. Positive self-talk
Would you say the things you tell yourself each day to your partner? To your best friend?
We’re so quick to judge ourselves extremely harshly and mercilessly point out our flaws. And when you keep telling yourself these things on repeat all day, every day, it’s incredibly challenging to believe in yourself.
Improving the relationship with yourself is a daily task, but highly rewarding.
You can start by sticking positive affirmations on your mirror or train your brain to think three positive thoughts for every one negative that passes your mind. The latter takes some practice, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll begin seeing yourself in a much better light.
7. Let go of the little things
Holding onto grudges, petty arguments, and drama-filled situations don’t do you any good.
Honestly, it’s a complete waste of your time.
You’ve got way better things to do than expelling your energy on toxic people or circumstances. #thankyounext
If you have trouble letting go, try a simple forgiveness meditation. Close your eyes and begin breathing deeply (use tip #5) while imagining the people or situation in front of you. See yourself sending them/it massive amounts of love and forgiveness from your heart. Now, notice a thick cord that ties you to them/it and then picture a gigantic pair of scissors cutting the cord between you and them/it.
This “cord cutting” signifies releasing yourself from the situation so you can fully forgive and move on.
For even more in-depth guidance in forgiveness, try this meditation that uses the ancient Hawaiian forgiveness practice of ho’oponopono.
8. Look at the ingredients list, not the calorie count
People who seem to eat well and reach their wellness goals effortlessly don’t count calories or stress about their macros. Instead, they look at the ingredients in their food and focus their diets on whole, unprocessed foods. That’s it.
“Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants” – Michael Pollan
If you read a label and can’t understand or pronounce an ingredient, put it back on the shelf. If you don't know what it is, your body won’t know what to do with it either.
9. Enjoy food without guilt
You’re meant to enjoy life, which means eating the occasional pizza and fries after a night of drinking with your friends. They key is to keep things in moderation and enjoy those times without feeling guilty.
You’d go crazy if all you ate was organic broccoli!
Keep about 80% for your diet healthy and unprocessed and the other 20% filled with mac and cheese and cinnamon rolls.
10. Exercise for health benefits, not weight loss
It took me a while to understand how someone could enjoy working out. You’ve got to put on tight clothes, bend over and lift things, jump around, sweat, and run until you basically can’t breathe.
AND you have to do it regularly? How does that sound like fun?
Well, there’s a secret that workout enthusiasts follow that makes the whole idea of working out truly enjoyable and a fun part of their life - they exercise for health, not weight loss.
Exercise releases endorphins, balances your hormones, alleviates stress, regulates your metabolism, improves your longevity, and enhances your mental health - just to name a few benefits. So, those who regularly exercise do it for these health and mood-boosting benefits rather than view it as a punishment because they overate the day before.
They work out because it makes them feel good, not to look a certain way - that’s just a bonus!
When your goal is to lose weight, you’re hyper-focused on a negative outcome since you’re trying to LOSE weight. In your mind, your body isn’t where you want it, so with harsh discipline and determination, you cut back on food and get your butt to the gym. But, do you even enjoy the gym? Does it make you feel motivated and excited to workout?
The key to exercising regularly - and making it fun - is seeing it as beneficial for your overall health and finding ways of being active that you enjoy!
If you don’t like the gym, you don’t have to go! I lost all my weight with home workouts and occasionally using the gym facilities of our apartment complex.
YouTube is an excellent resource for free workout videos and trainers. I’ve listed some of my favorites below:
11. Put down the phone
People in tune with their body’s needs realize the necessity of mentally decompressing from technology. Putting down your phone, tablet, closing the computer, and turning off the TV to connect with yourself or your partner/friends/family will improve your relationships and decreased the need for constant entertainment.
Try doing something that doesn’t require technology (read, go for a walk, cook) or even go to the bathroom without your phone or take a shower without music. You’ll allow space for your mind to quiet down, think clearly, connect with yourself, and I’m sure have a few a-ha moments while you’re at it.
12.Find time for fun
FUN - remember the concept? When was the last time had fun doing something just for you - not related to work or your to-do list?
My guess, it’s been a while.
As adults, the idea of playing and having fun seems like a complete waste, a luxury, or frivolous since you’re told there are more productive uses for your time.
Connect with your inner-child by revisiting a hobby you've neglected or do something you’ve been wanting to do for a while - go to a concert, take a pottery class, learn how to cook, or try a new restaurant.
And remember, never mock the magic that lies within a blanket fort's cozy walls.
13. Journal out the bullshi#t
At the end of a long day, your brain is swirling with thoughts, worries, and stressors about your past, present, or future situations. Leave that all behind by dumping your fears onto the pages of a journal so you can get to bed entirely at ease.
Keep a pen and a journal nearby and before you turn off the lights, spend 5-10 min brain dumping all over the page. It can be bullet points, doodles, graphs, swear words, or complete sentences. The object is to alleviate your mind from thinking about stressful thoughts so you can focus on sleeping without worries grasping for your attention.
14. Unwind before bed
Having a bedtime routine is essential to quickly falling asleep and resting deeper.
Trying to sleep after scrolling through social media, watching TV, or answering emails, isn’t a smooth transition into a restful state. Your mind’s still buzzing with tasks, worries, and thoughts of the day, which makes it difficult to calm down so you can fall asleep.
Having trouble turning off your brain leads to tossing and turning, which causes loss of sleep, frustration, and even worse sleep issues down the line - like insomnia.
Bypass these problems by spending 15-30 minutes before getting into bed away from screens and work. Take a hot shower, wash your face and moisturize, read, stretch, write, meditate, or spend quality time with your partner under the covers.
This is the perfect time to practice tip #11 and #13.
Allow yourself to turn off from the day so you signal to your mind it’s time for rest.
I’ve saved the best tip for last. If you want to quickly impact your health and see results in several areas of your life, sleep is your new best friend.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for increased performance at work, creating better relationships, and even improve your weight. Plus, it betters and stabilizes your mental health and mood!
Ideally, you want 7-8 hours a night, but that’s a challenge with busy schedules and the allure of watching another episode on Netflix - especially if you’ve got little ones.
Start small by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and develop a bedtime routine (see tip #14), so you can fall asleep quicker and snooze deeper.
Want more help creating your ideal bedtime and morning routine? Check out this blog post: 2 Simple Routines to Massively Improve your Sleep.
Improving your wellness isn’t as tricky as it’s made out to be. Sure, with any lifestyle change there’s some fear and apprehension going in (“will I fail yet again?”/”I don’t know if I can do this.”), but once you realize that you don’t have to go from cheeseburgers to green juices in one day, you’ll feel way less overwhelmed.
Again, it’s all about baby steps and finding steps that bring you joy rather than stress.
I know I over complicated this change for far too long in my own head, so now, looking back, I see how I could have alleviated so much pressure on myself if I’d just started out small. And, I know I would have reached my goals way quicker than I did.
And there you have it! A sneak peek into the habits of a healthy person that are easy to adopt and integrate into your day.
Let me know which one you’ll try first in the comments below!