Behavioral Environment: What You Do Matters For Your Health

Woman acting out behavioral environment requirements

It is often stated that “actions have consequences,” but when it comes to your health, it is much deeper than that. The behavioral environment is defined by Samueli Institute’s experts as actions executed to prevent illness, improve health and engage in self-care.All of these actions are performed in a natural way, to encourage the body’s healing. In some cases, people find their lives void of healthy actions, and this is when the behavioral environment must be re-activated.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle can enhance your overall well-being. This includes both preventing disease and fighting off an existing disease. In the United States, many people do not pay attention to their behavioral environments, which has lead to 7 out of 10 deaths being the result of preventable chronic illnesses. For individuals who struggle with maintaining a healthy behavioral environment, there are four key components worth recognizing. These components are:

  1. Motivation to change
  2. Nutrition and exercise
  3. Balance
  4. Acceptance

Motivation to Change

Motivating oneself to change can be difficult but is worth the trouble. Encouraging oneself to change is also the most important component for the wellbeing of one’s behavioral environment, because, without it, the other components cannot endure. Motivation is especially required when considering nutrition and exercise.

One of the keys to maintaining a nutritious diet is to use your mind. Instead of stressing yourself about all of the things you cannot eat; think about all the healthy foods you can add to your diet to give yourself variety and lead you to a more healthy lifestyle. Exercise is just as easy to stay on top of by using your mind to encourage continued work.

Balance, as tackled in a previous article, is the alignment of the whole person. Having balance means that when you work hard, you also play hard as a reward for your work and to keep you mentally well. How do you maintain balance? SI’s Optimal Healing Environments: Your Healing Journey makes suggestions on how to find your perfect balance.

“Find activities that are fun and rewarding so that you want to do them regularly. They can be anything from walking with friends, playing with your kids, playing a team sport or going on picnics to joining a club or religious organization, volunteering in your community or learning a new skill or craft.”


It is important to accept that as a human, some of your habits will not be the best for you. However, the important step to experiencing healing even with poor habits, it is to first acknowledge that they exist. By remaining aware that there is an issue and making a mental note to work toward better habits, your well on you way.

You can read more of Optimal Healing Environments: Your Healing Journey here.