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Taylor Swift's Rules for Healthy Living

The chart-topping singer-songwriter talks about how diet, exercise, and writing help her stay happy and balanced.

Taylor's Tips for Healthy Living On the Road continued...

Reward yourself. Work for your indulgences, and then enjoy. "I have a need to feel like I've earned things, so when I have a week of working really hard, I get to have a day or two off -- whether it's from exercise or watching what I eat," says Swift. 

Skip the judgment. When it comes to dieting and working out, Swift is watchful rather than self-chastising. "I keep an internal gauge of whether it's been a healthy week or not," says Swift. Then she makes adjustments instead of beating herself up. 

Water it down. "I drink so much water my friends call me an alien," jokes Swift, who says she always carries a bottle with her. Just to make sure she's never short, the singer keeps a case in her car. 

Find your rhythm. To power up your workout routine, download songs or albums that you don't let yourself listen to until you're in motion. "I don't like any kind of exercise other than running," Swift says. "And I love that because it's about the music." 

Sit with your feelings. Recognize that anxiety is not inherently bad. The experience is uncomfortable while it's happening but can also propel you out of a rut. "It's awful to sit there feeling that way," says Swift. "But if you let it, it can lead to something that takes you out of that feeling and into something creative."

The Benefits of Journal Writing

One other way that Swift sustains herself is by journal writing. "As a young kid, I learned to process my emotions by writing," she says. Turns out, Swift intuitively hit upon a habit that studies suggest can be hugely beneficial to health in times of trouble. 

James Pennebaker, PhD, has spent years studying the power of journal-writing and was the first person to publish on the subject. 

"Writing about upheavals in your life can be very helpful, with overwhelming evidence that when individuals write about those experiences there are improvements in both physical and mental health," says Pennebaker, who is professor and chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas. 

He adds that it isn't necessary to keep a journal long-term, or when things are going smoothly. But he suggests that when worry or sleep problems kick in, it's time to pick up a pen and write about what's happening for a minimum of 15 minutes for three consecutive days. 

"Traumatic experiences touch every part of people's lives," Pennebaker explains, "from financial to social to romantic, so it's helpful to organize your thoughts about the event by writing." 

There's no right or wrong when it comes to expressing yourself, as long as you are honest. "Explore your deepest emotions and thoughts," Pennebaker suggests, "and how it ties in to your childhood, your family, your future and past." 

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