Health & Family

What healthy, happy people have in common

Does it ever seem like you were dealt a lousy health hand, while others around you seem to thrive and avoid physical ailments?

If you are on a quest for fabulous health, here's a recent book that we highly recommend: “Choosing Brilliant Health,” (Perigee Trade, $23.95), by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks, along with Jen Seda, M.D.

Foster and Hicks' previous book, “How We Choose to be Happy,” (Perigee Trade, $14.95) was an exploration of the commitments and practices that lead to happiness and satisfaction in our lives.

They traveled the world to identify the habits of happy people.

What Foster and Hicks found in their research for this book was that these practices led not only to great emotional health, but also to excellent physical health. They have become internationally known for their work, teaching and consulting with physicians and hospitals as well as patients and businesses, from the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association to Wells Fargo and General Electric.

So what's the magic in their approach to “brilliant” health? Foster and Hicks outline the nine basic practices of people who are happy and healthy:

They are intentional – that is, they set an intention to be well and to follow the health and emotional practices that are needed to live within that intention.

This is done not only on a moment-by-moment basis, but also with long-term vision. They also live in integrity with their deepest core values.

They take ownership of their lives and its challenges; they are determined to be well and disciplined about their health practices. They give up blaming anyone or anything for their circumstances.

They identify the things that they love and are passionate about, that bring them joy, and they give them their detailed attention.

They practice centrality, meaning they live their passion by actively doing the things that bring them joy, by providing a central place in their lives for the things that they love.

They recast the difficult events in their lives, including illness, meaning that they accept and acknowledge that difficult emotions and events are a part of life, and then they look at them as opportunities for growth and action.

They look for new options. They believe that multiple new opportunities are always around the corner, and they stay open to those opportunities. They give up thinking that life is supposed to look a certain way.

They commit to appreciating everything in their lives in the present moment, including the miraculous ways in which their bodies work every day.

They live lives of service, generously giving to others their time, their support, their love and they allow others to give to them.

They are honest with themselves and others; they live by their personal truths, rather than living by “shoulds.”

If this all sounds Pollyanna-ish to you, you might use that particular thought as a starting place to examine your own attitudes and sense of optimism, and then to assess your own physical well-being.