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5 Ways You Can Be a Healthy Influence

In the Habits of Health community, we often talk about Habits of Healthy Surroundings. The choices we make in terms of how we structure and interact with everything around us—from what we put in our pantries to the people we spend time with after work—have an impact on our health. Some choices reinforce particular behaviors while other choices have a direct effect on wellbeing, perhaps shielding us from disease or helping us move closer to a healthy weight.

If you are a regular reader, you have heard a lot of this before. If you are a new reader, you will learn more about these ideas in Dr. A’s Habits of Health and from your OPTAVIA coach. For this article, I want to address an aspect of Surroundings that can easily be overlooked: ourselves.

Just as the people we put in our bubble influence our health, we too are playing a part in other people’s bubbles. If you have begun the journey of becoming a health coach, this idea is forefront in your mind, but for those of us who have not taken that leap, the ripples of our actions might not be so obvious.

Here are some suggestions for becoming a positive part of the health bubbles you touch each day:

  1. Be mindful of your social media activity. Dozens of studies have found that the content we consume on Facebook and Instagram shapes how we think and feel. Are you being positive and supportive with your social media posts and comments?
  2. Stop. Challenge. Choose. when you interact with others. If you are talking with a friend and coworker, be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it. You could be the source or resolution for someone else’s anxiety.
  3. Talk to your loved ones about their goals. If you have a dialogue with the people you care about, you can learn about what is important to them and perhaps uncover ways you can help. Even if you cannot offer help directly, you can still provide encouragement.
  4. Reflect on your day and consider how others might have been feeling when they were in your presence. This mindful approach to empathy can make you more aware of the people in your life and help you to make healthier choices in the future.
  5. Model Habits of Health. You might not be on a mega stage, but the people around you look up to you, and this is doubly true if you have young children in your family. If you are practicing Habits of Health, even if you never say anything about them, people will notice and will be more inclined to follow suit.

All of the above have the potential to positively impact the people around us. Some of those moments will be big, and many of them will be so small that they are visible only to those with the presence of mind to look for them.

But now that you know to look, you will see them everywhere. Make it one of your Habits of Health to seize these opportunities and to become a beacon of optimal wellbeing for your community.

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