New announcement. Learn more


Eight habits of healthy people

Time to boost your happiness? Experts say there are some behaviours that do seem to be linked to overall happiness. Here are a few to think about.


You don’t have to be a marathon runner or lift weights in the gym every morning. But regular physical exercise can boost the endorphins in your brain, research shows. As the Mental Wealth Project notes, for some people this can be as effective as medication for mild depression. Try and get up and move around for at least half an hour every day. If traditional forms of exercise don’t appeal, consider things like a dance around your living room or a bit of time in the garden.


A lot of people have a complicated relationship with sleep. It’s clear that getting enough hours of shut-eye makes a big difference to overall health, including happiness. Health Navigator notes that poor sleep is linked to depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, among other things. It’s enough to keep you up at night! Aim for eight hours if you can.

Work-life balance

Work taking over your life can also reduce your happiness. As recruiter Hays says, people who have more work-life balance report feeling more fulfilled and in control of their lives. Time to set your out-of-office reply and clock off for the day?

Not afraid to stick up for themselves

A little assertiveness can go a long way when it comes to your happiness and mental wellbeing. This means standing up for yourself on the things that matter, and not being steamrollered by other people who are out to get what they want. Psychology Today says assertive people have fewer anxious thoughts, even when they are under stress.


Here’s another great reason to reach for a glass of water. Te Whatu Ora notes that drinking water can improve your state of mind. In fact, even mild dehydration can put you in a more negative mood.


Having important people in your life is a huge driver of happiness. This doesn’t have to be a spouse – The Lowdown says that even having a good friend circle helps because it offers security, gives you someone to talk to and someone do enjoy the things you like to do with. Spending time and connecting with the people you care about is a big mood booster.

Having a purpose

Do you have a life “purpose”? It might seem a bit deep and meaningful, but Psychology Today says having a purpose, whether that’s raising your kids, pursuing your career or helping in the community, can have big mental health benefits. Research shows people with a sense of purpose are happier and have generally better wellbeing.

Eating well

A good diet with lean protein and lots of fruit and vegetables can make you happier. Health Navigator notes that people with healthy diets have more hippocampal volume that those with unhealthy diets. 

Nutritionist Mikki Williden says 90% of the happy chemical serotonin is produced in the gut and, if it’s inflamed, it might affect our ability to produce or use it. Eating food with lots of tryptophan is also important – it’s an aminoacid that is important for the production of serotonin, is found in protein-based foods and can only be obtained from diet.


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.