A woman knits happily while listening to headphones.

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Getting healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend three hours a day at the gym and eat only kale and salmon (I’m not particularly fond of either of those things, myself). There are lots of different kinds of health, too: emotional, intellectual, creative. Doing different activities promotes all areas of well-being, and there are things you can start doing right now to live a fuller life full of good things and good health.

Activities that engage your hands

Doing things that help refine your small motor functions, like knitting or drawing, promote physical, mental, and creative health. Repetitive activities like crocheting relieve stress by giving you something to focus on. They also keep your motor functions and your brain activities strong: a 2013 survey of 3,500 knitters indicated that the more people knit, the more brain power they felt they had.

Donating time

Giving some of your time and energy to a needy cause is a good way to keep emotional and spiritual health up. Helping others is known to have positive impacts on the health of the volunteers, and there’s no denying that warm feeling you get from helping others—that’s because altruism stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. Literally, helping people makes you happy.

Hanging out with a fuzzy buddy

As a person who has long struggled with anxiety, sometimes it helps to hang out with a friend who has a pet, or my parents, who have dogs. Chilling with a Chihuahua can restore your sense of well-being; partying with a poodle can reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, being around an animal reduces the feeling of loneliness, and because animals need exercise, you’ll get some, too.

Meditating

Meditating is a great way to get outside yourself a little bit and calm down, de-stress, and relax. Studies suggest meditation can even relieve bodily or emotional pain. Stress can manifest in a lot of uncomfortable ways in your body, from heartburn to leg cramps to actual heart problems. So any way you can help get it out of your life is going to be good for you. But if you can’t get into meditation, just do something that has meditative qualities: something that gets you to switch focus. Gardening, coloring, dancing, or building something are all examples of different meditative activities.

About 

Mary Summers is a recent college grad and freelance writer residing in the Pacific Northwest. She loves writing about trending topics, health and beauty advice, music, film, and television.