Although the hobbit lifestyle may seem a bit indulgent at first glance, it’s actually laced with many healthy habits that we could learn a lesson or two from. I know you’re probably smirking right now, picturing one of the many scenes in which hobbits stuff their faces like there’s no tomorrow (my personal favourite is Merry, Pippin and the floating turkey at Orthanc), but holster those images for a moment. Aside from their eating, drinking and smoking habits, hobbits are actually very good at maintaining physical and mental health. They often live to over a hundred years old and radiate a seemingly never-ending contentment. They’re clearly doing something right.

Here are seven healthy hobbit habits that you should be practicing:

1. Spend time in nature

Hobbits value the natural world. They can spend days wandering through the fields of the Shire or relaxing under trees. They have a true appreciation for the earth, so much so that they actually build their homes in it. Connecting with nature on a regular basis is a very healthy thing to do. In addition to the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine, interaction with the natural world can increase creative thinking and feelings of well being. So next time you have a break at work, take a walk through the park or even just step outside and take a breath of fresh air. It will do you good.

2. Graze throughout the day

Nutritionists generally agree that eating regularly with fewer hours between meals is healthier than than eating two or three large meals throughout the day. Hobbits employ this practice, eating seven meals per day, but they skip the most important part: restraint. Eating less, more often is a healthy strategy, as long as you ensure you eat well balanced meals (don’t graze on snack foods), and actually eat less. So in this case, it’s good to eat with a similar frequency as hobbits, but certainly not the same amounts.

3. Relax

Taking time to unwind from stressful events can have a profound impact on both physical and mental health. Stress can increase your risk of heart disease, impair memory, and kill brain cells. Hobbits are experts at relaxation, often spending days reading or resting on the porch. During the busy weeks, it may seem difficult to find time to relax, but it’s these times that it’s most important to do so. If it’s exam season or you’re anxious about a heavy workload at your job, a stressed mindset will only cloud your judgement and decision making abilities. Making time for relaxation will benefit your health as well as your performance.

4. Eat mushrooms

Hobbits have a great passion for mushrooms — a well founded one, evidently. A central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet, mushrooms have been found to boost the immune system and kick-start metabolism. They’re also an excellent source of antioxidants, which fight the build-up of free radicals in the body.

5. Spend time with friends and family

Humans are naturally social creatures. Throughout our evolution, we lived and traveled in groups, and thus, evolved to rely on and crave relationships with other people. Spending time with friends and family is essential for happiness. Perhaps hobbits evolved under similar circumstances, because one of the things they hold most dear is time with loved ones. Whether they’re meeting up for ale at the Green Dragon or simply chatting under the stars while blowing smoke rings (or boats, if you’re Gandalf), they always make time for those they hold dear.

6. Garden, preserve and cook your own food

Hobbits live off the earth, growing their own food and cooking it themselves. Granted, they don’t have many other options, but it’s still a habit worth mentioning given its relevance to our world. In modern society, food is sprayed with pesticides, preserved in sugary syrups and cooked with an entire symphony of additives. Growing your own organic food (or buying it, if you can’t grow a garden) and cooking it yourself will enable you to control what you eat, something you just can’t do with processed foods or in a restaurant. Avoid anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Keep it simple, as a hobbit would.

7. Appreciate the little things

Hobbits lead very simple lives. They aren’t concerned with reputation or riches, things that people in our world can get so easily get caught up in. They appreciate the small things, from a bird’s whistle to the taste of good tea in the morning — and this is the source of their perpetual contentment. The more things that make you happy, the happier you will be. Instead of requiring a massive pay cheque or a promotion, hobbits are satisfied with the “taste of strawberries.” Taking time to be grateful for the little things in life will help you become a happier person.

Featured photo credit: Frederic Spycher via flickr.com

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