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The Power of Habits: How Building Healthy Routines Can Transform Your Wellness

Habits-woman practicing yoga pose for meditation in summer


. 4 min read

From the time we wake up and the way we get out of our beds to how we choose to end our day, these little things that we do build up to be habits over time. We like to wake up to no phones, we enjoy our slow mornings as we brew our coffee, we read, workout, sign in to work, go about our days to feel productive and great at work, and choose to destress by enjoying dinner with loved ones, and over time this becomes an integral part of our existence. That’s the beauty of a habit- in the ever changing world, a habit will be an anchor that will provide stability, a habit will help you feel grounded. Habits are core to holistic wellness, and in this article we’ll dive deep into understanding just how important setting habits is to your existence. 

Let’s start from the beginning. What is the science behind building a habit? Let’s unravel the science behind habits—the habit loop. This consists of a cue, routine, and reward. Recognizing these elements is the first step in understanding and reshaping our habits. By identifying the cues, implementing positive routines, and enjoying the rewards, we pave the way for a healthier, more intentional lifestyle.

The Neurobiology of Habits Formation

The basal ganglia, a cluster of nuclei in the brain, plays a central role in habit development. As we keep repeating behaviours they soon become routine, and neural pathways are reinforced, creating an automatic response to specific cues. This neurobiological loop, comprising cues, routines, and rewards, shapes the habitual patterns that govern our daily lives.

Let’s take the habit of drinking 3lts of water every day. Did you know that the habit of staying hydrated has cognitive implications too? Studies suggest that maintaining optimal hydration levels supports cognitive function, affecting attention, memory, and executive processes.

Neuroplasticity and Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity induces neuroplastic changes in the brain, thus enhancing cognitive function and mood regulation. Habitual exercise routines leverage the power of neuroplasticity  and thus promote physical wellness. 

Habit Formation for Mental and Emotional Wellness

Mindfulness meditation, when practised consistently, fosters neural plasticity in regions associated with emotional regulation. The habit of mindfulness contributes to improved emotional well-being and stress resilience.

Mindful Meditation

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Gratitude Practices and Their Neurological Impact

Incorporating gratitude practices into daily routines has been linked to neurological changes, particularly in the brain’s reward system. Habitual gratitude journaling, for instance, positively influences mood and emotional health.

Filling up a journal may seem pointless, tedious, sometimes even boring, but it takes only a couple of weeks for all of it to start making sense! You’ll notice your change in perspective,and that’s just the beginning of this magical journey. 

Great, you now know why it’s important to set habits. But how can you maintain them in the long run? Let’s understand. 

Behavioral Activation and Small Wins

Behavioural activation, a therapeutic approach, emphasises starting with small, achievable goals. This aligns with habit formation principles, and the small wins build momentum which help reinforce positive behaviours. Best part- nothing is overwhelming anymore! 

Cue-Routine-Reward Framework

Identifying triggers (cues), implementing consistent routines, and ensuring a rewarding experience solidify neural pathways associated with the desired habits. Work on improving your self awareness, focus through meditation and adapt a mindful lifestyle, and you’ll see that it gets easier to identify triggers and regulate yourself. 

There are so many ways to stick to your habit, and with so much technology available it gets easier to stay on track. Make the habit setting apps your best friend, and see how they transform your life.

Wearable Technology 

Wearable devices are equipped with habit-tracking features that offer real-time feedback, thus building self-awareness and accountability in habit formation. These technological tools leverage behaviour change in your hydration, workout, sleep and recovery routines and help optimise overall wellbeing. 

Mobile Applications for Behavioral Change

Mobile applications designed for habit formation utilise principles of reinforcement. These apps provide personalised interventions, reminders, and progress tracking to support users in building and sustaining healthy habits. Have you seen the Habit Features on Happily yet? This unique offering enables users to build and stick to habits, and even personalises the journey for them. Download it here.

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Some habits that have shown positive effects universally: 

Movement Rituals 

Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga session, or a home workout, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine jumpstarts your metabolism and sets a positive tone for the day.


A well-hydrated body enhances cognitive function, supports digestion, and contributes to radiant skin. Keep a water bottle within arm’s reach, carry it in a bag when you go out, leave post-it reminders around your desk, log in your water intake on your wellness app, and make sipping water a conscious part of your routine.


Whether it’s a short meditation, deep breathing exercises, or a mindful cup of tea, these pauses create mental clarity, reduce stress, and foster emotional resilience.


You can choose to start or end your day by jotting down a few things you’re grateful for. This simple habit shifts the focus from what went wrong to what went right, fostering a positive mindset and enhancing emotional well-being.

Digital Wellbeing 

In the age of technology, set boundaries for screen time. Establish a designated period for digital detox, and allow your mind to unwind and promote better sleep quality.

Prioritise breaks

Whether it’s a stretch, a walk around the block, or a quick chat with a friend, these breaks enhance productivity and contribute to a healthier work-life balance.

Some pointers to keep in mind: 

  • Start small and be consistent

Begin with small, manageable changes that don’t disrupt your lifestyle. Consistency is key to habit formation, so focus on creating routines that are sustainable in the long run. Remember, none of this happens overnight. 

  • Use triggers to your advantage

Associate new habits with existing triggers in your day. For example, eat a healthy snack when you feel like stress eating during your afternoon break, or get some reading or journaling done to enjoy your slow morning. 

  • Celebrate your milestones

Whether it’s a week of consistent exercise or a month of improved sleep, or successful meal planning at home 5 days in a row, recognizing milestones reinforces positive habits.Don’t forget to acknowledge this progress. 

From physical vitality to mental resilience, the power of habits lies in their ability to create a life filled with balance and intention. By applying the principles of habit formation backed by scientific research, we can cultivate positive routines that contribute to improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

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