9 wellness rules of exceptionally healthy people

What do these exceptionally balanced people know that we don’t? Jim Nicolai, MD., shares the (often simple) practices of uber-healthy people.
You’ve got a kale-and-quinoa diet, get 6.5 hours of sleep (ish), and fit in about four weekly workouts. Congrats! That puts you squarely on the health-and-wellness honor roll.

But what about the healthy habits of the wellness valedictorians? What do these exceptionally balanced people know that we don’t? You’re just a tip away, says Jim Nicolai, MD.

In Integrative Wellness Rules, the director of Miraval’s Dr. Andrew Weil Integrative Wellness Program compiles dozens of the simple practices that make people uber healthy people. Learn nine of them now… —Carla Vass


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1. Hang out with positive people and movers-and-shakers

Research is starting to confirm what your mother always told you—that the people around you can be good or bad influences. Spend time with folks who have the habits you want!


2. Take a break from your militant diet and exercise regime

If you never, ever indulge, that’s not living well. Take Sunday off and you’ll wake up eager to get back on track Monday morning.




3. Get back to—or into—nature

There’s a reason why apartments overlooking the park are more expensive. Whether we realize it or not, humans have a profound connection with nature. No need to relocate to a hut in the woods, just try walking through green spaces on your way to work or bringing your Kindle to a park bench.


4. Practice Hari Hachi Bu

This is the Japanese practice for eating until you’re 80 percent full, which is helpful because we’ve all heard that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to catch up with our stomachs. Eating less is not only associated with avoiding weight gain (duh) but also living longer.


5. Double Your Ds

Vitamin D, that is! Particularly on those dreary winter days, it’s important to get enough vitamin D.

Docs used to only think vitamin D was good for bones, but new research has associated it with preventing a host of maladies, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.


6. Try some Tulsi

Known as holy basil, this herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years (mystics believed it fostered personal growth and enlightenment). Usually sipped in tea or taken in supplement form, tulsi is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Even better, tulsi also lowers cortisol, the hormone associated with stress and belly fat.


7. Eat your ‘shrooms

But not the conventional kind (and certainly not the, ahem, other kind). Shiitake, enoki, oyster, and maitake boost immune system activity and have anti-inflammatory properties. They’ve been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and are getting more recognition as health-boosters in the West. Need a recipe?


8. Hit some HIIT

That’s high intensity interval training, to you. Short bursts of activity have been shown to be even more effective at burning fat than prolonged periods of exercise. That’s really good news for those barely able to find the time to exercise as it is.


9. Know your “trigger points”

Everyone has a tendency to overuse certain muscles, whether they’re related to your desk work or your workout. It’s important to be aware of your trigger points, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and limit your range of motion and use massage and stretching to prevent injury. (Like you needed an excuse to get a massage.)

For more Wellness Rules, check out the book details here.


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