How To Stay Healthy Even If You Eat Junk, Smoke Ciggies, Skip Exercise & Booze It Up

Ever since we docs started teaching people the importance of smoking cessation, moderation in alcohol intake, a nutritious, mostly plant-based diet, daily exercise, and weight control, millions of people have been beating themselves up for unhealthy lifestyle habits.  Yet the guilt and shame so many feel hasn’t led to significant improvements in the health of the general public. Even though people know how to live a “healthy” lifestyle, most choose not to. Instead, rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other largely preventable diseases are on the rise.

Bummer.

While lots of people rattle off about the importance of healthy lifestyle modifications – and as a green-juicing, exercising, non-smoking, health food junkie, I agree with them – what shocks me is how few are talking about the other critical factors that contribute to health and longevity – the factors that are arguably even more important than diet, cigarette use, alcohol intake, weight, and exercise.

Some Diseases Are Preventable

Before I share with you these factors that may shock you, let me start with a hat tip to conventional medical wisdom. Yes, some diseases are largely preventable. If you’re a 3 pack-a-day smoker who winds up with lung cancer, you’re probably feeling pretty crappy about your cancer because you know that if you had never smoked, you probably wouldn’t have been saddled with that disease. If you’ve been eating at McDonalds every day, it won’t surprise you if a heart attack knocks you flat and you have to get bypass surgery. If you’ve been boozing it up for three decades and you wind up with cirrhosis of the liver, well… not to be harsh, but you knew that might happen, right? If you’re four hundred pounds and you get diabetes, um… need I say more?

Yes, if we aim to lead optimally healthy lives, diet, exercise, weight control, alcohol intake, and cigarette use matter.

Some Unhealthy People Live To Be 100

But let’s face it. Some smoking, boozing, overweight, junk food binging couch potatoes stay healthy and die of old age. As a physician, these people have always blown me away. How are their bodies so resilient to such poisons? Is it genetic? Is it just dumb luck? These people left me scratching my head, until I was doing the research for my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

Clearly, there are many factors contributing to why one person winds up sick when another stays healthy, in spite of poor health habits. The same is true for the health nut who is doing everything “right” but still winds up sick.

So what are these factors that your doctor probably isn’t discussing with you?

Loving Community Equals Health

Let me start by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, a tribe of Italian immigrants crossed the Atlantic and settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, where they didn’t exactly live the most “healthy” lifestyle. They ate meatballs fried in lard, smoked like chimneys, boozed it up every night, and pigged out on pasta and pizza. Yet, shockingly, they had half the rate of heart disease and much lower rates of many other illnesses than the national average. It wasn’t the water they drank, the hospital they went to, or their DNA. And clearly, it wasn’t their stellar diet. So what was it that made the people of Roseto so resistant to heart disease?

One physician, baffled by their low rates of heart disease, studied the townspeople to determine why they were so protected.

The Effects of Loneliness On The Body

What his researchers found is that the tight knit community living in multi-generational homes and enjoying communal dinners and frequent festivities provided solace from the loneliness so many people feel. The love and support of others in the close knit community alleviated the stress and overwhelm many lonely people feel. Researchers posit that the stress lonely people feel, which increases cortisol levels and activates the sympathetic nervous system, raising heart rate, elevating blood pressure, incapacitating the immune system, and increasing the risk of heart disease, is responsible for much of the illness lonely people experience.

Because the people of Roseto never felt alone, they rarely died of heart disease – most died of “old age”- even though they smoked, ate poorly, and drank.  As it turns out, alleviation of loneliness is preventative medicine, and the scientific data suggests that loneliness is a stronger risk factor for illness than smoking or failure to exercise.

Why One Person Gets Sick & Another Stays Healthy

It’s not just loneliness that contributes to whether you get sick or stay healthy. As I discussed in my TEDx talk, it’s not just your relationships that affect your health – it’s work stress, financial stress, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic, and whether or not you’re actively engaging in potentially stress reducing activities like creative expression, sex, and spiritual activities like prayer, attending religious services, or meditation.

For example, let’s take one person who eats poorly, smokes, and never exercises, but who enjoys an incredible marriage, a great family, fabulous friends, a rewarding and financially lucrative job, a sense of life purpose, a healthy spiritual life, a blossoming creative life, and a kickin’ sex life.  Aside from the cloud of smoke infusing the lungs with toxins and the poisons this person’s body is ingesting, this kind of lifestyle has been scientifically proven to result in better health than the lonely individual in an emotionally abusive marriage, with a soul-sucking job, no sex life, an absent spiritual life, and no creative outlets. The scientific data suggests that the “unhealthy” individual with an otherwise healthy, balanced life is more likely to live a long, healthy life than a nonsmoking, abstaining vegan with a personal trainer who is unhealthy and miserable in all other facets of life.

Make sense?

How Healthy Is Your Life?

In my upcoming book, I go into great detail, proving how each of these factors of a healthy life affect the physiology of the body, but until then, let me just assure you that what I’m suggesting is true. I’m not recommending that you pick up smoking, drinking, or overeating (and if you already have, you can read here about how I think you shouldn’t kick the habit until you’re ready). But I am suggesting that you start thinking about your health beyond the traditional confines of how most people define health. (You can read more about my expanded definition of health here.)

Are you lonely? Are you stressed at work?  Are you depressed? What would it take to alleviate your loneliness, cut back on your job stress, and get happier? I’ll be offering specific tips in future blog posts, so make sure you subscribe here to learn more. Until then, tell me what you think! I love hearing your stories.

Expanding how I think about health,

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33 Comments

  1. Matthew

    Very nice article, I definitely think there’s a correlation between living a happy life and longevity. Some forms of Yoga and meditation can be other ways to release stress that hinders unhappy people from achieving longevity. This definitely doesn’t mean I would dismiss the obvious factors, food, exercise, too much TV, etc. But adopting a lifestyle with less stress is definitely a factor in health.

    Reply
  2. Lauren

    YES, YES, YES!!! I eat an exceptionally clean, mostly plant-based diet, exercise nearly everyday (both weight/circuit training, in addition to cardio- usually running or swimming), but unfortunately, that’s about all I have on my pyramid of total health. I am super stressed as I apply to medical school, battle my constant anxiety, continue on my path to recovery from anorexia and worry about the lack of a partner in my life. Everyone always says things like, “You’re soooo healthy, why did you get sick?” etc and it can be so upsetting for me. People use the idea of “well, everything gives you cancer,” so they just give up a healthy diet and exercise regime in the midst of the rest of their life falling apart. At least I have the diet and exercise, right? 🙂 It really is SO important to look at other aspects of one’s life, such as the ones you mentioned- creative expression, a strong circle of friends, optimistic vs. pessimistic outlook etc. I need to begin looking at the other aspects of my life, particularly creative ones (dance), meditation/prayer and decrease the time I spend alone because I know in the long run, they are just as important as diet and exercise. Thank you so much for this timely reminder 🙂

    Reply
    • Sam

      This is exactly me! I worry about the exact same problems! Applying to medical school/the whole process is taking a huge toll on my health! I lose sleep daily, and have worry lines that were not there a few months ago! I find that if I take the time to work out, but more importantly to do yoga, and meditate every day for at least half an hour, it allows me to re-center my priorities and look at the big picture of my life! This is a great article and a great reminder to everyone!

      Reply
  3. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Lauren,
    Wishing you good health and blessings as you navigate medical school and your health journey. So glad this article resonated with you.
    Much love
    Lissa

    Reply
  4. Michelle Medina

    Ok, so my first thought was well, I’m gonna die then! Loneliness anyone???
    But my second thought was that’s why I’ve been reaching out! It’s very interesting to me nowadays to note the negative thoughts coming in but usually a positive thought or two swooping in right behind them. Means I’m learning to catch them faster! It occurs to me this also means I’m getting more positive, which means as long as I keep on this particular path MORE positivity will be forth coming and it will add up to a healthier happier lifestyle sooner rather than later.
    Glad to know I’m doing something to help myself!

    Reply
  5. Tars

    THANK YOU!!! Great read, you are amazing. I appreciate you and your work. Please keep sharing!!!

    Reply
    • Tara

      *Tara

      Reply
  6. Sabrina

    This article is great! I watched to your TEDx talk, and I began thinking about it then.

    I suppose there’s someone in Heavens who really loves me and looks up to me, because my lifestyle is terrible for my health as a whole: OK, I have a nice job, two marvelous pets, my religion and I live in a nice district in Vienna… And that’s all.

    I got divorced last year and then I had my perfect storm, with a devastating heartbreak – no, it wasn’t my ex-husband who broke my heart, but the person I waited for my whole life… Ironic, huh? – and my family live far from me, in Brazil. Moreover I just moved to Vienna, so I’m practically alone, since all my friends remained in another city and I have issues of bonding with people, thanks to this heartbreak.

    You ask us what would it take to alleviate my loneliness… I honestly don’t know. I try and try and try to open up to people… but my fear of getting hurt once more is stronger than me, I guess.

    (Maybe I’m just not ready yet.)

    Love your blog, Lissa. And I hope one day you’ll come to Austria, it will be a pleasure for me to be present on one of your talks.

    <3
    Sabrina.

    Reply
  7. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Thank you Sabrina. I have fond memories from past trips to Vienna when I lived in Prague for a summer.

    And I do hope you’ll keep your heart open and let people in, even though you’ve been hurt before. I promise there are people out there just waiting to love you.

    Blessings
    Lissa

    Reply
  8. Cija Black

    This is brilliant. I love to read articles about how there is so much more to our health (or lack there) of then the stats. I cannot believe how much people under estimate their emotional state and stress in how that impacts the quality of life.

    Thank you so much for an breath of fresh air in the discussion of choices we make in our life and our overall health. And I love your blog 🙂

    Reply
  9. Jackie McD

    Lisa, Thank you so much for this post. It is so seldom that this kind of info is shared by the medical community. I know I should quit smoking but I am healthier than most of my friends and family that don’t.I am almost never sick. I live a happy life, with a wonderful husband, a close family, a large group of girlfriends that I communicate with regularly, a special sense of spirituality that leaves me positive and smiling from the inside out. I love being creative and write when I can. I get regular sleep. I don’t drink much and eat mostly whole foods that I love to cook. It’s good to know that these things help make up for my bad habits and maybe I can put away some of the shame I carry for still being a smoker. Holding my head a little higher and working that positive energy every day.

    Reply
  10. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Thank you Jackie for sharing your feelings about your smoking. And yes, of course you know your body will thank you should you quit one day, but adding shame to the mix won’t ever serve you. It sounds like you have a wonderful life with more health-inducing factors than many health nuts I know who are totally miserable. Thank you for holding your head higher and standing in the luminous radiance of your awesomeness!

    xoxo

    Reply
  11. Tracy

    Wow, I’m doomed!

    I’m just not able to make friends. I must smell different or something, like the runt of the litter that gets kicked out.

    I have one or two friends, and several acquaintences, but I never have had the circle of support and connection that I’ve always wanted.

    Somehow, I’m just different. I must be pushing people away, and have no idea how it’s happening.

    Drat. Must work on that (more.)

    Reply
  12. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Tracy,
    I’m about to lead a $19.99 teleclass on how to attract intimate friendships that stick, so make sure you’re on my mailing list. I might be able to help!

    Much love
    Lissa

    Reply
  13. Jen Davenport

    Lissa,
    Completely agree! I’m a firm believer in mind over matter/body/health etc. Yes eating healthy, exercising, not smoking, excessive drinking are the optimum, but so not the final factors.

    My father passed away last November. He smoked for forty years, he was between one hundred and two-hundred pounds over weight, had had two heart attacks, and a million little ones that damaged his heart enough for a pace-maker, and had diabetes. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in June, it went to his brain by August, and they found more in his right femur by the end of October, a week later he was gone. Why don’t I think it was “just” the smoking that killed him?

    His parents died when he was in his late twenties/early thirties, both of cancer (although not lung), he was so devastated that he sold his perfectly decent sized home to live in their itty bitty one. Just before my brothers 21st birthday, he died of a rare genetic disease. My sister then proceeded to go off the drug deep-end wasting 20 years of her life, of which most of it we never knew where she was, alive or dead, or in jail or prison. Caused every kind of heart ache to my dad that only drug abusers can come up with. And all this time my father always told my mom that he wouldn’t live past 62. He just turned 62 three weeks before he went. But all his life he never forgot wrongs committed by his family when his parents died, never got over my brothers death, and was constantly stressed out over my sister.
    I think he was ready to go the second my brother died. He did not want nor looked at alternative thoughts or ideas. He believed what he believed and that was it and nothing was going to change it. He said that until the end. No one could have survived the torment he lived with for so long and was constantly under. Even the healthiest person on the planet would’ve succumbed.
    I think if he had at any point during his life found forgiveness or acceptance, he could have lived for another twenty years, even with the smoking or bad eating habits. But if you have final end point mapped out in your head, and have every event in life that could drive you there, there’s not much just “eating healthy, exercising, not smoking etc” would’ve done.

    Sorry for the personal novel. But you make an awesome point. Thank you for all you do.

    Jen

    Reply
  14. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Wow, Jen. What a story. Thanks so much for trusting us with sharing it. And I’m terribly sorry about your loss. Having lost my Dad at 60, I know the pain of losing a parent too early…

    Much love
    Lissa

    Reply
  15. LynnH (ColorJoy)

    I absolutely believe attitude and community help health in countless ways. I’m still struggling to understand why it is, though, that I never hear physicians talk about *sleep* as a factor in health.

    Occasionally there will be an article in the paper. Famously, Ariana Huffington of Huffington Post did a TED talk on pushing career so hard that she passed out at her desk from sleep deprivation.

    However, I’ve had a LOT of good doctors over the years. Only one has talked about sleep as a health factor. His particular take was that one should wake up at the same time every day, and if that shorts the night they should make it up in a nap later. He did this when in doctor training (I know there are names for phases but I’m not in the know). He had to work shifts starting or ending at 4am but he still did the wake up time the same each day. It helped him.

    I’ve had a lot of food sensitivities, food allergies, other allergies and anxiety challenges over my time on earth. These issues are under control right now but I notice when environmental allergy counts are really high, I sleep 10 hours a night, easily. Luckily I’ve got a life which allows such unusual behavior.

    When I look back in my history, I’ve had 3 car accidents on days when I got 4 hours or less of sleep. My mom fell asleep in the car at the end of a very long road trip. Never mind body health… how about risk of accidental death?

    I’ve got a theory that if every mother of small children got enough sleep, it would screw up our economy and our social order. For the record, I’m not a mother (at 53yrs).

    Even without kids, when I was young I gave up sleep to get things done. Every day.

    Um… that was not a short comment. I’m very interested in your take on this, though.

    LynnH in Lansing, Michigan USA

    Reply
  16. Lissa Rankin, MD

    Dear Lynn,
    I write a lot about sleep as a factor in health in my book Mind Over Medicine, but when blog posts are supposed to be short, you necessarily abbreviate! You’re absolutely right though.

    I briefly mentioned sleep in my TEDx talk here too:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tu9nJmr4Xs

    Thanks for your input!
    Much love
    Lissa

    Reply
  17. Jewels

    I know what your talking about. I have been depressed on and off for 15 yrs since my brother died. I slowly isolated myself until I barely have any real friends left. The family I came from are so negative and reactionary I know I can’t get the help I need from them. Unfortunately I am unemployed and at risk for homelessness. I have been deeply depressed for about 4yrs now and have aged so much I barely recognize myself. I have spent the last 9 months trying everything to get better. Eating right, exercise, talk therapy, pills and trying to find a support system. Unfortunately people can sense how depressed I am and I can visibly see them recoil sometimes. Others just move away more sutle but move away all the same. I feel like I am drowning and wonder if I will sink one of these times. How do you find support when everyone moves away because they feel it on me?

    Reply
  18. Cherish

    I can absolutely confirm that what Lissa has written is bang on. My health has declined, rapidly, over the past 6 years, to the point of utter collapse, last autumn. And, yet, physically, I was doing everything right: I’d quit smoking, drank little, exercised regularly and ate a very healthy diet. I’m a psychotherapist, as well. So, I’d been doing my inner work and awareness techniques, everything I could do to be self-supportive. But, regardless of all this, my body gave up and all my systems crashed.
    Since then, as I’ve been working on healing, I’ve moved in with family and I’m allowing others to be there for me. I’ve come to see some key factors that have contributed to my illnesses. During that time, I was in a relationship with an individual with Aspergers. As my life became more and more isolated and unsupported, my self-esteem, my vitality and my socialization became continually smaller. Also, my sex life dwindled to a tenth of what it had been before and my sense of emotional support was almost at a zero. I was lonely, without realizing it, inside and out. I was living the life of an Aspie, while I was, actually, a social butterfly. That’s like trapping a tiger in a very small cage. I had the key, all along, mind you. I just denied my need of it.
    This resulted in almost no community, almost no physical fulfillment and almost no deeply satisfying communications. These three things have always been the hallmarks of my personal happiness! These are the things that give me life. So, even with all of my healthy ways, I was starving my soul and it manifested in my body.
    Lissa is right on the mark 🙂

    Reply
  19. Judy Griffin

    I really appreciate this well-written article that does such a fine job of exploring how multiple facets of life have a profound effect on your health. You can eat all the right foods and exercise daily but if you are stressed, sad, lonely, etc, it will most certainly impact your health. I found this to be my case personally after my brother died tragically 8 yrs ago. When I found yoga it was a life line for me because I found something to really nurture my soul. From there I did a lot of energy healing that released my grief and anger. When I was healed I was so inspired that I went to school and became a Holistic Health Coach. I find when I am working with clients real benefit pays off when we dig deep and try to get to the core of what may be missing in their lives. For instance, I would say most of my clients with Diabetes seem to be very lonely and have lost their zest for life. Of course they need to make smart choices at meal time but it is essential for them to find ways to fill that void in their lives.

    Reply
  20. Renee

    Thank you! I have been so frustrated by various health issues lately and have been trying to find balance. I went to see my family doctor about it (who is generally a good person and well-respected practitioner) and was SO discouraged by her focus on certain activities being ‘the’ cause of my problems. Not once did she ask me about diet, exercise, community, creative, etc.

    This, to me, symbolizes a huge power imbalance that exists between (some) traditional medicine practitioners and their patients.

    I love your philosophy about looking at health holistically, general balance, kicking habits when you are ready, etc. I am so in the same mindset! Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Salman H. Elawad

    Hello Dr. Lissa Rankin,

    In your website under “Some Unhealthy People Live to BE 100,” you indicated that some people don’t get sick and live long. I am one of these. Although I eat right and remain active, but I am a heavy smoker. I will turn 66 in December. Since I could remember, I have never been sick (knock on wood). I see my doctor only once a year for my annual physical exam. I have never been to a dentist and still I have my wisdom teeth. I have never had any bacterial or viral infection, and I have never used an antibiotic including tetanus shot. Although I was born and raised in a malaria-infested country, I have never contracted malaria. I have never contrated any STD in spite of the fact that during my early adulthood I used to visit prostitutes. I have never had the flu or the common cold. I have never had a fever. I have never contracted tuberculosis. I have never had an autoimmune disease. I have never used any medication other than pain killers. I have never broken a bone and I have never been through any type of surgery. I am married with five boys and one grandchild. My family and I we live surrounded by relatives and close friends. I go to church regularly and participate in church and community activities. I am a Biology Professor in a community college. I enjoy my job and I interact with many students every school day.
    Dr. Lissa Rankin,

    If you feel that I can be of any help for you to teach your readers about my case, please let me know. I will be more than happy to participate in any possible activity you deem useful for the public.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Salman Elawad
    selawad@gmail.com

    Reply
  22. chrishellsing .

    cannot take this seriously in the slightest, if you say “studies suggest” where is this information in a citation, as a “physician” this is absolutely common knowledge to present when making any statement, i absolutely accuse you of quackery and you should know better, appalling

    Reply
  23. dandate2

    lissa rankin is fat, smart people evade

    Reply
  24. auroranamontanha

    thank you for your wonderful articles. It makes so much sense… happy is the way to be and happy is an atitude more then a lottery. one must realize in total honesty what makes one happy and gfo for it. In my case is to have freedom, to be able to have my own rythm and to be in my nest when I feel tired or chilly or just need to gem my head organized. It’s amazing what a 10 minute rest can do. I also need space to do my stuff wich is creative and experiemental(for me at least). All of this is impossible with a regular job and city life unless you are filthy rich wich I am not.
    But I am! i feel rich because nobody tells me what to do(my guy tried but we already cleared that- ask me nicely and I will do all I can, tell me like an order and you will get zero and will cause me to sit still until energy level comes back).

    However, as enlighhtened as I may see myself, there are more times in wich I do the wrong thing than the right one. Many times it happens that I let myself and my situations decompose in such a manner that the dark cloud with and intention of sucking up all ennergy. When the rock bottom is attained there are only two posible responses – self-pity and destruction, or simply puttig the act together, starting by some hipiricum tea, cooking for myself and start something I really want to do. The switch from dark cloud to hope an energy cloud happens in a matter of hours like a miracle. When i’m it the conscient recovery mood I am amazingly powerfull at caqlming others with intent only and I ask myself… Why the hell don’t I take charge of stuff all the time and everything will be fantastic?

    Analyzing the present situation I must deal with the lonelyness issue ( cultural loneliness- I am living in the most culturally depleted place in my country, and I’m used to the extreme liberal register of discussion )

    Reply
  25. Ashley

    I am 26 years old, I have been smoking and drinking since I was 13 years old, and although I use to exercise, I current do not excercise and have not for the past year or so (although I am not too much overweight – I am 5’8 in height and I weigh approx. 162 lbs.)
    The main thing that I am having a difficult time understanding, is despite my unhealthy habits, I haven’t been sick in 5 years. Everyone is sick around me – including my boyfriend, who I kiss and have sex with WHILE he’s incredibly sick. I do wash my hands VERY often, but I also experience – extreme depression, day-to-day anxiety, social anxiety, AND I have NO friends (other than my mom, sister, and boyfriend). I also have high blood pressure and low thyroid (I take perscriptions daily for both)… But most nights when I go to bed, I worry about how hard my heart is pounding and I fear that if I go to sleep, I won’t wake up again)… I truly just don’t understand why I seem to be immune to getting sick!!! I am almost always sad and lonely, too… Is there something seriously wrong with me that is causing my immune system to be immune from getting a common cold or flu??? I am very worried. I need to change my lifestyle habits, but I don’t seem to have the will-power, or rather the courage, to do so….

    Reply
    • Ogre

      What should be wrong with your immune system, if you dont get sick?

      This makes no sense. Be glad, if you are blessed with a good protection, kid. I havent been sick in 15 years. In my opinion the biggest part in being healthy is to believe in your body. Every organism has the strength to heal itself. Not in all cases, and by all peoples. But at least it can.
      And if you focus to hard on your heart, fearing that it stops. Maybe it stops. So dont do it.
      And an ice cold shower every morning 😉 No matter how you feel at that moment, afterwards you`ll feel better and healthy. Always.

      btw. If you have your mother as a good friend. A sister, that cares and a loving boyfriend, you have more than many people out there.
      ..Don`t be a hypochondriac, whining around gets you nowhere. Only just this will make you sick from time to time. Take care on your psyche and think positive. If you want some friends. Work for it! No one (not many) wants to get in contact with someone who is constantly sad and depressed. Sorry for the harsh words but thats how it is. Chears and good luck

      Reply
    • Natalie

      I hope that you’re not feeling this way anymore. 26 years old is hard, now you are 27 . . I believe it gets easier after the 20’s!! I worry about my heart, too, used to more so, I used to hear it pounding hard when I went to bed (same thing!) and it freaked me out. It’s wonderful that you have a nice boyfriend and mom . . those are the best friends to have. It’s good that you’re not getting sick — don’t question it! I feel very bad that you have extreme depression, I struggled with that in my 20s, too. If you keep on working at it I think you’ll find 30s . . and then 40s are way better!

      Reply
  26. Kelsi

    this is a older post but what she says is true to a degree. Chris Hellsing, I know she is a doctor and what not but I think this is more of an opinion. It really all depends on us as people, our genetics, and many other factors that attribute to our health. We all live, we all die. I think the point here is even if you live an unhealthy life, happiness and overall well being can affect your health in a good way. I smoke, i sometimes drink, and i know that its horrible for me and I definitely want to stop these things and live healthier. But, I also know I have a wonderful loving family, I am 24 with two beautiful kids and a wonderful husband who I have been with for 10 years. I love my life. I am not rich, actually quite the opposite but as long as I have God and my family I feel very fulfilled. I think thats really the point here. Its completely random on how one persons health will be affected through their lifetime.Of course it is better to not smoke, not drink, excercise, and eat right. But really in the end, what happens to us is going to happen. It may be our own habits that cause disease, and it may also be something completely random that is out of our hands. Just enjoy your life and be thankful for every day, knowing improvements on health and other areas in your live are always possible for everyone.

    Reply
  27. james

    I have been smoking for over 20 years, but am a vegetarian. A side effect to my diet is the ability to do a daily p90x routine and run over 3 miles in 30 minutes. Granted, I have a certain philosophical system and mindset that may help, but I know damn well poor diets and a sedentary lifestyle are far more damaging than smoking, since I’m 36 and am in better shape than most non smokers far younger than me.

    Reply
  28. Mojan

    Dear Lissa, I translated one of your articles, ( don’t kick that habit). I’m not a professional translator, but I just like sharing inspiring books or articles with other people, I’m from Iran.
    so first I wanted to translate your book, The fear cure, which helped me alot, I sent you 2 emails to get your permission, but I didn’t get an answer,( maybe I didn’t send it correctly).
    there is no copyright in Iran but I just wanted to do it the right way and inform you that you also inspire people here, so I started ,hoping to get your email, but it was difficult for me to carry on, it was a big project for me, so I waited and I thought maybe it’s not the time for me to translate a book, l’d better start with articles, and I found your article accidentally and loved it , so I translated it and shared it on Facebook, and on a website( walkineden.com) and sent it personally to some friends. I just wanted to share my story with you. I hope you get this one.
    Thank you, you inspire me.
    Here is the link: https://walkineden.com/2016/01/dont-kick-the-habit-yet/
    Love
    Mojan

    Reply
  29. Matt

    I agree and 100% true. Cuz we are here in this life to be Happy. Know what are you as a human has to be and the right dutys for a normal human and you will be more knowledgeable more than any doctor. And you who can give up for this life and just sit and keep the days running without knowing who you are. Believe me we have a purpose other wise why we are here. Too many people ask this question but no actions happened They just ASK.

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