How Your Relationships Affect Your Health

The environment of relationship is also critical to supporting your success as well. The people who you spend the most time with and interact with the most, influence you the most. If you have children you know this. You know that if they start hanging around with the wrong crowd, they are going to make poorer choices They are more likely to get into trouble with that crowd than if they have positive, considerate friends around them.

Healthy people make healthy choices. But the opposite it true as well: sick people make sick choices. If you are constantly surrounded by sick people, it is going to be much more difficult for you to stick to your new healthy habits.

It is common knowledge that if your spouse goes on a diet, essentially you go on that diet too. Your eating habits become influenced by their eating habits. If you start eating healthier, most likely your entire family will start eating healthier as well. Realizing that your kids are watching the way you eat and that they are learning their eating habits from you right now can be incentive enough for you to change your diet.

If you are used to going out to eat fast food with the work crew everyday, it might be uncomfortable for you to say “no” to them so you can eat the meal you brought with you. If when you get together with friends to socialize, it is always centered around some overindulgent food fest, that environment will make it all the more difficult for you to stay on your new food choice plan. If your co-workers or your friends smoke, that social environment will make it more challenging for you to quit.

Examine How Healthy Your Relationship Environment Right Now

Determine whether the people around you are healthy influences on you. If not, you might be feeling a little discouraged and you are probably wondering how to deal with it. I definitely don’t recommend going through all of your friends, family and co-workers and weed all of them out of your garden. It will be better to amend that soil rather than just get rid of it.

Understand that environments work both ways – you influence those around you, just as much as they influence you. The majority of the people around you – your family, friends, work associates, and the other people you spend most of your time with – they really do want the best for you. Maybe not every single person of course, but when you really examine this, you will find that the overwhelming majority really does want you to be happy.

So the first thing to do is Communicate with them. Take a moment to let them know what you are up to and ask for their help in working on it. Deep down, everyone wants to help in some way. They just might not know how to do it. So tell them how they can support you – whether it is brown bagging it along with you more at lunch, committing to finding other times and ways to hang out and connect other than smoke breaks or joining you for short walks after dinner instead of moving straight to the couch and turning on the TV.

However, if an environment proves to be just too powerful for you to overcome – a certain relationship just continually brings you down or back into your old unhealthy ways – then you may have to start minimizing the time you spend in those unhealthy situations or eliminate your contact with it altogether. This might not last forever, but at least until you establish your own healthy momentum so that when you do go back into those situations, it won’t be so difficult for you. Again, communicate what you are doing and why it is important to you, and those that love and support you will understand.

*Exerpted from the Being Well Lifestyles Home Study Course by Dr. Jay Warren.

Drawing on over two decades of experience as a hands-on holistic practitioner, Dr. Jay Warren is a primary healthcare provider and licensed chiropractor in the San Diego area. He has spent tens of thousands of clinical hours helping his patients achieve their optimal health potential through holistic approaches bolstered by years of personal experimentation, education and research. Dr. Jay creates customized plans integrating exercise, nutrition and stress management strategies to overcome a myriad of health challenges. For more information, email or visit

About the Author

Dr. Jay Warren has been a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor for 17 years. He is also the Wellness Care Coordinator at the CAP Wellness Center in San Diego, CA where 90% of his practice is pregnant or postpartum women and babies under one year old. Dr. Jay is a proud member of the ICPA and APPPAH (the Association or Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health) and the host of the podcast “Healthy Births, Happy Babies” in iTunes. His online program, “Connecting with Baby” guides pregnant women through processes to strengthen maternal bonding for a happier pregnancy, gentler birth and easier post-partum experience. Dr. Jay is also the proud father of his 3 year old son, Niko who keeps him very busy (and happy) outside of the office.