The 7 Habits of Healthy, Happy People

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The journey to the best you is often riddled with seemingly impassible rivers, steep mountains, and donuts. Lots and lots of donuts. So, what are the steps you need to take to reach your "Health Utopia?" Integrating even one of the following seven habits will lead you in the right direction.  


Exercise is a necessary element in a healthy life. How you move will vary according to your specific circumstances. The most effective exercise routines will include 30 minutes of regular physical activity several times a week. Some of the benefits are a reduction in your risk of a heart attack, weight loss, lower blood cholesterol, stronger bones, muscles, joints, improved energy, mood, and sleep.



A healthy lifestyle cannot exist without eating well and staying hydrated. A general rule to follow for most is eating foods that are closer to the farm than the factory. The more whole it is, the more you can eat without facing a number of adverse side effects. Moderation is essential, as is food choice. There is a big difference in the calories and vitamins of ten hamburgers versus ten carrots. An unhealthful diet can lead to obesity, cancer, and a weakened immune system. 



Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the sleep cycle people enter into, usually within the first 90 minutes of sleep. It is theorized that REM plays a vital role in learning, mood, and how we deal with stressful situations. Adults should be aiming for 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep. Having sleep issues? Adopt these six tips: 


  1. An hour before bed, don't use digital technology.  

  2. Alcohol before bedtime may help you fall asleep, but it may not keep you asleep. 

  3. Working in bed will not help you relax when it comes time to call it a day, because your body will associate your bed with work. Strictly keep the bed for "bed-ly" type activities only.

  4. It takes at least 6 hours before caffeine leaves your system. Don't consume caffeine after 5 p.m. The earlier you stop, the better.

  5. Don't eat fatty foods. These foods affect women more than men and will hurt sleep quality.

  6. Swap strenuous evening workouts with yoga or simple stretching. Vigorous exercise before bed increases your body temperature, making it more difficult to fall asleep.



People have worked since before man made the first fire, but the reasons to work have mostly stayed the same. John smith famously said to his struggling colony, "If you don't work, you don't eat." Being able to provide the necessities of life is usually top of the list. But there is more to it. We work because we are social beings that need a purpose in our lives. We also like to feel as if our work has produced something of value for ourselves and others. And without work, we cannot experience creativity. Work is an opportunity.



Research has provided the truth of how important giving to and serving others is. "Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experts show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain--and it's pleasurable." But make sure when you give of yourself that you don't lose your passion or energy! Consider the following guidelines in how you choose to serve:

  1. Give in areas that interest you. 

  2. If you don't have money, then give of your time. 

  3. When donating money, make sure the charity is trustworthy. 



Effective journaling helps you to meet personal goals and obtain a higher level of life satisfaction. Journaling is an essential step in having a relationship with your mind. The habit of "downloading" your thoughts has enormous benefits. It will boost your mood, reduce symptoms of depression, improve your working memory, and more. The best times to journal are right before bed or first thing in the morning. 



For thousands of years, people have practiced meditation, which involves a concentrated focus on eliminating the constant stream of stress-inducing thoughts. Those who have learned how to manage their minds consider meditation indispensable. But of the seven habits, is there one more vital than the rest? 

I asked Daniel Pedersen, PA-C of Hunter Family Medical in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and his wife, Ashley Cameron, a Weight Loss Life Coach, to give their professional opinions on the matter.


"I would say meditation first," responded Daniel, "because it will help guide your thoughts toward healthy habits and quickly aids in sleep benefits, which builds energy to reach goals in all the other health habits. It may need to be guided meditation first, though, to learn how easy it can be." 


Ashley concurred, "It has huge benefits in every other area. There is a quote that says, "If you don't have 10 minutes to meditate, then meditate for an hour." It gives you awareness about your thoughts, which is how you accomplish everything else. Knowing how to control your mind is a valuable tool, which is why I encourage meditation with my clients."


Part of mind management is spending some quality time with your thoughts. And yes, there is an app for that! Just type in "Meditation" into your app search bar. To begin your journey to a healthier and happier life, make this your first action in reaching your ideal "Health Nirvana."  


Disclaimer: The information in this article is meant for entertainment. If you are experiencing any abnormal health conditions, please contact your physician or dial 911 in an emergency.

Contributed by A. Mecham