9 Healthy Habits

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9 Healthy Habits

Healthy people share at least one common trait – habits that get them through the day in the healthiest way possible.

Habits are actions that are practically second nature, which makes them easy to stick to.  You might be surprised to realize then, that this suggests healthy people don’t put a lot of energy into thinking about how to be healthy. They simply cultivate habits that help form the foundation of their everyday, healthy lives.

Here are 9 habits that will help you live a healthy life:

1. Hydrate

Water is essential for pretty much everything that goes on in your body. Healthy people drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Tip: Drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning to rehydrate yourself.

2. Take Tech Breaks

Let’s be honest – who among us hasn’t rolled over and checked our email the moment we open our eyes? Healthy people use technology wisely and aren’t tethered to their phones.

Tip: Wait an hour after waking before you check social media. You’ll find yourself more focused and clear-headed for the day ahead.

3. Take It Slow

In this day and age, there’s a common, shared image of the woman who “does it all” – work, a social life, the gym –  with a freshly squeezed green juice in hand and a wide smile. And while some people might be able to pull it off, it’s not the best path to a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Stable, long-term health comes from slowing down a bit, not overwhelming yourself  with a daily ‘to-do’ list, and taking time throughout the day to relax.

Tip: Sit down for at least one meal a day. Eating on the go keeps your body from digesting food properly, so take a seat and chew slowly!

4. Shop Smart

The healthiest foods at the grocery store – fresh fruit and veggies, whole foods, meat – are found around the edge, not in the middle aisles. Healthy people stick to the edges of the grocery store when they shop, and when they do venture into the  middle aisles, they make the best choices possible.

Tip: Read food labels, especially the ingredients list. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Also, look for ingredients you recognize so you can make informed choices about what you’re eating. You’ll find more whole foods and less processed junk on your plate before you know it!

5. Get Outside

Healthy people enjoy the great outdoors and they soak it up every chance they get! Studies show that spending time in nature enhances vitality [1].

Tip: Step outside, take a deep breath, and then another. Then a few dozen more. Soak up your surroundings free of distraction and allow yourself the opportunity to connect with the world around you.

6. Connect

Face to face, that is (and this does not include Facetime, nice try!). Spending quality time with loved ones has proven benefits for reducing stress [2], and healthy people make time to truly connect with someone they care about every day.

Tip: Find time every day to connect with someone you love, whether it’s dinner with family or coffee with a friend.

7. Exercise

Whether they go for a run or a gentle workout, healthy people move their bodies.

Tip: Find an exercise you like and make it a part of your daily routine. Gentle morning stretching, afternoon walks, aerobics, cycling – there’s something out there for everyone!

8. Make Time for Yourself

Mental health is just as important as physical health – and healthy people know it! They take time for self-care and for things that nourish them on a deeper level.

Tip: Spend a few minutes (at least!) on yourself every day – chances are you already know what you need! Try deep breathing or guided imagery as well – these activities will help calm and focus your mind.

9. Indulge

Every once in a while, you should indulge yourself. Denying and depriving yourself can be as bad as overindulging and can lead to binge eating. So while chocolate cake might not be one of your daily habits, it shouldn’t be off the table entirely!

Tip: Keep a selection of healthy snacks on hand, like high quality dark chocolate, and enjoy in small amounts.

References:

[1] Ryan, R.M., Weinstein, N., Berstein, J., Brown, K.W., Mistretta, L., Gagné, M. (2010). Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(2): 159-168.

[2] Baqutayan, S. (2011). Stress and Social Support. Indian J Psychol Med, 33(1): 29–34.