Instead of just dishing out my take on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I decided to funnel my inspiration to create MY OWN post on the 7 habit of highly HEALTHY people.
Basically, I’ve taken similar principles from Covey’s novel and applied them to fitness, nutrition, and mindset so that you can get a head start on creating lasting habits that will take your wellness game to the next level.
And I’ve made them SUPER simple so you can implement them right away! Let’s dive in…
Habit 1: Breathe
I’m not just talking about the thing you do all day, every day because duhhhh, if you’re alive then you do that no matter what. I’m talking about DEEP breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing) which is a big breath where your belly rises, your chest expands, and you move your diaphragm through its full range of motion.
Our body rids itself of 70% of toxins through breathing so get these big breaths in.
And if you need more convincing, here’s a GIANT list benefits that make taking a good, deep breath pretty tempting:
Diaphragmatic breathing releases tension, stimulates the vagus nerve (which activates the parasympathetic, or rest and digest, part of the nervous system), improves mind body connection, brings clarity to our mind, releases endorphins that elevate our mood, relieves pain by increasing oxygen to certain areas, massages internal organ, enhances our immune system by increasing the body’s ability to metabolise nutrients and vitamins, aids in digestion, improves posture, increases blood flow to allow the heart to pump more efficiently, acts as a lymphatic pump (60% of lymph nodes are underneath the lungs) increases energy and stamina, and can increase cellular regeneration because of blood flow to the cells.
BASICALLY EVERYTHING IS BETTER WHEN YOU’RE BREATHING PROPERLY AND FULLY.
Habit 2: Add In Your Brain Foods
He talks about things like increasing memory, improving retention, speed reading, etc and he lists these as the top 10 brain foods that we should all be incorporating throughout our day:
- Coconut or olive oil (high quality)
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
Instead of trying to CUT things (because that doesn’t sound fun), I think it’s really important to CROWD or bring in more of what’s going to nourish your body and brain. It’s a total win win.
Habit 3: Move Your Body
Just like breathing, movement releases endorphins which enhance your mood to make you feel better and happier!
In addition to this, moving your body also reduces blood pressure, decreases cholesterol and takes care of your heart (which is also a muscle and needs to be exercised), controls blood sugar (SO important with of our modern, high sugar diets), and reduces pain (as long as you’re moving through your pain free range of motion).
Oh, and it improves your sex life. It’s a total no brainer.
Habit 4: Sweat
Obviously, sweating can be a byproduct of moving your body so kudos to you if you get both in at once! Alternatively, you can get a good sweat on by hanging out in a sauna or steam room.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It houses your whole immune system and the sweat glands in your skin are responsible for secreting toxins. Sweating routinely can help to get the bad stuff out and can really improve your complexion. It’s basically a shower from the inside out!
Habit 5: Practice Gratitude for the Things That You Have
You KNOW I love to talk about all things gratitude. In fact, I’ve written an entire post on the neuroscience of gratitude.
Creating a simple gratitude practice lowers and blocks negative emotions., it makes you happier, helps reduce stress, improves sleep, reduces aggression, increases empathy and compassion for others, and so much more. Gratitude has altered my life SO MUCH that I now have a gratitude alarm that goes of every night at 9pm that reminds me to keep with my practice.
In fact, my gratitude alarm went off while I was next to my niece and it sparked this adorableness.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Habit 6: Make Time for the Things You Love
When you make time for the things you love, your health improves. Period.
I was really surprised to read that the most common time for heart attacks is Monday morning. It makes sense because so many people dread going to work and doing stuff they hate. If you can love the work you do every single day, AH-MAZING but if you can’t, it’s especially important to carve out time to do things that light you up.
Benefits of doing more of what you love include increased energy, vitality AND motivation. Now, motivation can be a funny thing because it’s not always there (sometimes you’ll have to take a step forward even when you aren’t motivated) but by doing more of what you love means motivation naturally flows.
AND when you’re feeling happier, your relationships approve! You’ll feel more vibrant and call in people who are on the same wavelength and also doing things that inspire them!
Habit 7: Keep On Learning
I’m a HUGE advocate for challenging your brain! It’s good for your mental health and self esteem, it increases your creativity and imagination, your energy improves, your life becomes more interesting, AND you can increase your life success by opening up and paving new paths ahead of you.
Learning doesn’t always include books and reading (although I’m a huge nerd and LOVE that avenue) and can be accomplished by DOING NEW THINGS. Exploring the world, seeing and trying new things, or meeting new people are all great ways to keep learning and expanding your knowledge base.
Bonus Habit: Have Fun While You’re Doing All of These Things
If you’re not having fun, then what the hell are you even doing?!
None of these things should feel like a chore and should always add value to your life! I’m not about adding more to your to-do list. Rather, let’s crowd in those habits just like we’ll crowd in those brain foods from Habit 2 and make 2019 our best year yet!