What keeps us healthy and happy?

by | Aug 4, 2021 | The Walking Book Club, Wellness

What keeps us healthy and happy?


Diet and exercise?

Um, yes—but science suggests our wellness also is influenced by the company we keep. Certain health behaviors can be contagious. Who you interact with (in-person and online) can affect obesity, anxiety, exercise, and overall happiness, to name a few.

Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, who studied areas of the world where people live longer, believes,

“Friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can.”

So, how does your community align with your health and happiness goals, and what can you do if it doesn’t?


Start by getting clear on your wellness and well-being goals and your motivation.

Once you are grounded in your “why,” take inventory of the people you interact with regularly.


If your goal is to walk more to improve your health, how many of the people you interact with walk regularly?


If your goal is to stop smoking to live longer, how often do you hang out with smokers?


If you’re working at being less stressed, are those around you frazzled, too?

You can use this handy-dandy web-of-influence sheet to help.

Place yourself in the middle and those you interact with within the connecting bubbles. How does each person on your web influence you?

Web of influence | Julie Kaminski

I hope you’ve gained better awareness. Taking action might get a little trickier. For example, do you need to minimize certain interactions? Or maybe seek out new opportunities to grow friendship and community? Here are a few idea sparks to get you started.


To minimize:

Have a response at the ready. For example, if your usual social outing is at the local diner, be ready with a healthier alternative suggestion of where to meet, like over a walk.
Overhaul your social media to include only positive influences and pages.
Work on new boundaries—your health and happiness are a priority. It’s more than okay to say, “no, thank you.”


To grow:

Seek out opportunities to be active in things that interest you and are in line with your goals. It might mean stretching outside your comfort zone, but you may find new excitements and adventures there, too
Initiate more with those who align with your goals! Some of my best buds have come from me taking a chance. Try something as simple as saying, “I like your energy. Wanna grab coffee?”
If there is only one takeaway from this Healthy-Body Happy-Mind segment, may it simply be an awareness of the power of the people who surround you.

I wish you relationships and influences that inspire you and for you to inspire your circle of friends as well.



Hi! I’m Julie

I help women live their happiest and healthiest lives. Learn More >

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