It’s been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. While we often think about healthy living as largely a sum of eating habits and activity level, sometimes we tend to forget about the importance of mental health and surrounding ourselves with healthy, positive people to help us lead healthier lives ourselves.
When I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach, we talked a lot about what we refer to as ‘primary food’ – the things that feed you that aren’t food, like relationships, career, physical activity and a social life. Relationships are such a big aspect of health, and they have the power to bring us up or hold us down throughout our lives in such significant ways.
I got to thinking about this topic last weekend, when my husband was doing a Ragnar Relay race. The basic gist is that it’s an overnight event where teams of 12 run 200 miles in a relay race. I woke up on Saturday while he was doing the race, and totally did not feel like doing the yoga session I had planned on starting my day with. But then I thought about Adam. He has been eating, sleeping, and breathing schoolwork for the MBA program he’s in when he’s not working full-time, the man rides his bike to and from work in order to squeeze daily workouts in, and he was running 20 miles in a race in the midst of it all.
And so, I got up, put my yoga clothes on, and headed to my mat for a practice. I told myself to just do it, and while I wasn’t totally feeling it, I’m glad that I pushed myself to practice.
He was my motivation to get up and get going that morning, and I think that we push each other in life in general – whether it’s to workout when we don’t feel like it, encourage each other to better ourselves through education and experiences, or to work hard and take risks in our careers. We both are motivated people, and I think that we rub off on each other in positive ways.
Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about who I spend my time with and how they may be elevating my life or bringing it down. I truly believe in the power of the attitudes and energy of others rubbing off on me. Putting that idea into action, sometimes it’s meant having to take a step back from relationships if they aren’t serving me in a healthy way. One of my favorite quotes is, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
This concept is relevant to every single person out there, and I welcome you to ask yourself, Who am I spending the most time with and how are they positively or negatively affecting my life? What kind of person am I drawn to?
I find myself drawn to people that have qualities that I admire, those that enrich my life and broaden my perspectives in some way. It’s also no coincidence that a lot of my friends are also into health & wellness and work in the industry in some capacity. A lot of the time when I meet up with girlfriends, we go for a long walk together, get acai bowls, meet up for a workout, or go to a healthy restaurant for dinner. Surrounding myself with people that too make it a priority to live a fit, healthy lifestyle motivates me – sometimes even subconsciously.I consider myself to be a realistic optimist who tries to always look the bright side of things, so I also try to surround myself with people who have a similar mindset. I am so turned off by negative people that seem to enjoy throwing pity parties, and quite simply, I think life’s too short to surround myself with people that hold onto that kind of defeatist mentality. We can always make the best of it or we can always make the worst of it, and I want to spend my time with people who do the former.
And so, I am of the opinion that if you want to live a healthier life, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who inspire you to do so. Your relationships should motivate you to be a better person, and if they currently don’t, it’s never too late to make a change for the better. The power is within you to live your life to the fullest, make positive decisions, and love the life that you’ve created. How are you going to make it a healthy, happy week?
As a health coach, I work with women to achieve their healthy living goals. I offer a 6-month coaching program + a month-to-month custom meal planning program. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultation to learn more.
Readers, share your thoughts on this topic!