It’s always a good idea to start off the “New Year” with positive habits and/or beneficial goals. New Years Resolutions sometimes seem overwhelming and unattainable. This is why for some people it is good to keep goals simple and attainable. If you start small and achieve a goal, this can then inspire you to add new goals or habits later. If you are feeling physically and/or mentally better because of the one change you made in your life, this helps motivate you to do more. Here are a few simple ideas to help improve your life in 2017.
1. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier (than usual) every night.
The majority of Americans are not getting the 7-9 hours of sleep they need a night. The CDC has insufficient sleep listed as a public health problem. Lack of proper sleep is linked to motor vehicle accidents and life threating occupational errors. This is a major heath problem that increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, depression and death. It is reported that $411 billion per year is lost from the U.S. economy alone, due to the result of productivity losses in businesses. Many people sleep less so they can get more done, but the reality is that you are less productive when you are not getting proper sleep.
2. Show gratitude.
An article from Harvard Medical School reads. “Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better”. One study showed that after 10 weeks of journaling, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. As you go to bed think of one thing you are thankful for in your life or that happened that day.
3. Eat more meals with your spouse and/or family with no distractions.
We do not get enough quiet time with our families away from the TV, computers and phones. We need to get more personally connected by having conversations.
4. Add one important supplement to your routine everyday.
A few nutrients that Americans typically do not get enough of are Omega 3’s, magnesium and vitamin D. Research suggests that as much as 50 percent of the population is deficient in vitamin D. The best way to get it is sunshine, but 2000 mg of D3 a day is a good place to start. A low concentration of Omega 3’s in humans increases death from all causes. This is proposed to be the 6th biggest killer of Americans. If you are not eating salmon, sardines, anchovies or other fatty fish 3-4x a week, you should be taking 2000 mg of Omega 3’s a day. Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in our body and is used in over 300 of our body’s pathways. It is reported that 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Take 300 milligrams at night (it helps with sleep).
5. Get outside more.
Take a short walk during lunch or 1st thing in the am as the sun comes up (this helps with set your internal clock). Get out of the gym and into nature. Sunshine helps increase your vitamin D levels and can improve mood. Spending time in nature has also been proven to improve mood and increases attention span.
6. Eat one large colorful salad everyday.
It can be hard to get enough vegetables in our diet. Vegetables are what ward off disease and give us all the vitamins, fiber, minerals and phytonutrients we so desperately need. A 2014 study in England, found that people who consume seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. It was the vegetables that had the greatest impact.
7. Take 5 minutes to meditate and take deep breaths every day.
We really can do this anywhere. It can be for 5 minutes in your car before you enter work, 1st thing in the morning or while waiting for your child at one of their activities. Meditation and deep breathing are proven to influence a wide range of bodily functions in a positive way; decreasing blood pressure and heart rate, increasing relaxation, attention and concentration, decreasing stress, anxiety and depression as well as a decrease in the production of stress hormones like cortisol.
Here is to everyone having a happy and healthy 2017!