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Taylor Swift's Attitude of Gratitude

Taylor Swift: Homebody continued...

And thanks to her mother's influence, Swift is very comfortable in the kitchen, where she is notorious for churning out baked goods that she parcels out to friends. She's also handy at making herself healthy meals like grilled chicken, brown rice, and green beans. The singer --who admits addictions to Starbucks flavored lattes and Diet Coke -- says sticking to a nutritious diet when she's touring is harder, "but I try to eat a lot in the beginning of the day and not so much at the end." While "snacks come and go," Smartwater is always on board her tour bus to keep her hydrated.

Regardless of where she is, Swift hits the gym for an hour of cardio every day, running on the treadmill or doing the elliptical. "I like to feel really tired afterward, sweaty and disgusting," says the star, who cues up songs by rappers like Nicki Minaj, Santigold, and Game on her iPod to keep her going. "I don't care about losing weight as much as feeling good about myself. You can't indulge without exercising, so I exercise because I love eating and I don't want to have to live without anything. But I also exercise because on the occasional days when I'm feeling low, it always makes me feel better."

Swift's Attitude of Gratitude

When she isn't near a treadmill and finds herself getting caught up in negative thinking, Swift has learned to divide her thoughts into two categories: "things I can change" and "things I can't."

"You'll always be worried about something, but if you can cut that list down by even the smallest amount, that's good," she explains. "You only have so many hours a day, and if you can focus the energy on only the things you can control, it's more productive."

Swift's quickest way to get back on track is expressing gratitude. "The fact is, my life is amazing, so when I'm getting too much in my own head, I try to say all the things I'm grateful for. It can be simple things, like if I'm complaining about how my cellphone is working slowly, I think about how slowly they worked five years ago. It's OK to have glass-half-empty days, but not too many of them. I place a higher priority on being happy than I do on freaking out."

Swift practices the same skills taught by Amit Sood, MD, director of research for the Mayo Clinic's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program. Focusing on what's positive is a powerful tool that goes beyond making us feel happier: "Studies show that people who are more optimistic tend to have better physical health, lower risks of strokes and heart disease, and higher overall survival rates," Sood says. "They also have better emotional health, lower stress, lower percentages of depression, better relationships, and are better equipped to solve life's problems."

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