We do not typically think of manners as having an impact on our overall health and well-being. We usually think of the most common links such as proper diet and regular exercise. As it turns out, manners actually do have an impact and it is bigger than we realize. Take a look at our list below, along with practical exercises for how you can revitalize and rejuvenate your health and well-being using a little thing called manners.

1. Pay Attention to Posture. The first thing people notice when you walk into a room is your posture. Making a habit of sitting and standing with good posture will result in the appearance of looking slimmer and taller and will also help you to feel more confident and secure. Good posture is highly beneficial to your health because it forces you to hold in your stomach thereby eliminating lower back pain. It can correct poor body alignment and enhance the digestive process. Exercise: Imagine you are a puppet being held up by a string from the top of your head. This will naturally elongate your body and add inches to your height. A good exercise is to practice your sitting posture while at the table and your standing posture any time you enter a room.

2. Give Yourself the Gift of Grooming. For practical reasons alone, good grooming and proper hygiene should be maintained and managed on a regular basis. This is a big category that includes everything from trimming your nails to brushing your teeth and combing your hair. There are statistics that link poor dental hygiene to chronic illness and poor health habits such as washing hands to a number of flus and colds. Good grooming also includes paying attention to your attire, such as making sure to dress appropriately for a bad weather day to avoid getting sick ,as well as taking care of your skin by applying extra lotion during the winter months to keep it hydrated. Exercise: When it comes to grooming, everyone has one particular area that seems to fall by the wayside. Choose the area that could stand a little improvement and commit to paying more careful attention until it becomes part of your daily regimen.

3. Smile, It’s Contagious. Not only does it prevent wrinkles, but it actually helps us to feel better from the inside out. Even faking a smile can lead to feeling happier. A smiling person appears to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable and competent than a non-smiling person. Smiling has a contagious, domino affect that captivates and inspires. Exercise: If you need a little work in the smiling department, take a couple of minutes each day after brushing your teeth and smile at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Notice if you look tense or relaxed, with practice it will begin to feel more natural.

4. Remember Attitude is Everything. Along with smiling, a bad attitude is contagious and can ruin almost anything. To maintain a healthy mind, you must consciously choose to be positive about virtually everything. Believe it or not, it is much harder work to be negative and critical and this type of attitude has been found to have a long lasting effect on our overall well-being. It has a direct impact on our stress level and has been linked to an increase in many diseases. Exercise: If you happen to be a Debbie or Don Downer, do yourself (and those around you) a favor and try on (like a new pair of clothes) a new attitude. Trust me, it will change your life and your health!

5. Dine Like a Diplomat. It is never too early, nor too late to learn the value and importance of table manners. To begin with, the dining experience is an opportunity for us to feed our bodies with a well-balanced (hopefully) meal and share in good conversation. Both are key ingredients (no pun intended) to living a civilized and well-balanced life. Secondly, the ritual of dining allows us to seek refuge from the days’ activities to enjoy time together. Dining like a diplomat is a metaphor for being your best at the table. It encourages us to utilize our utensils and apply the proper styles of eating rather than standing and eating over the kitchen sink. It demands that we sit, converse and digest before jumping up to tend to the next activity. Exercise: Select at least one day a week to practice dining like a diplomat. As challenging as it may seem at first, if you take the time to slow down and focus, you will acquire better habits at the table in no time.