1. Call your mom to beat stress
Mom might not be the first person you think of if you want to decrease your anxiety and stress. But while she might nag you from time to time, she also might be the best person to call if you need a little TLC. A study published in Proceedings B by researchers from the University of Wisconsin Madison put a group of girls ages 7-12 through a stressful task and then divided them into three groups: one group had 15 minutes in person with their mothers, another group called their moms and the last group watched a film. Researchers found that levels of oxytocin—the hormone linked to emotional bonding—were increased in both the groups that had physical contact with their moms and those that just talked to Mom on the phone. The researchers also saw that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in both the groups that talked to Mom
2. Get plenty of quality, restful sleep.
Most adults need a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep but some feel rested on as few as 6 hours while others will require 9 hours. The number of hours is important but not as critical as the time you go to bed. Every hour of sleep before 12 midnight is worth twice that of each hour past midnight. You will feel a big difference if you sleep from 10 pm to 6 am versus if you sleep from 12 am to 8 am.
3. Boost your energy with a glass of water
Water is nature’s magic elixir. It improves your oral health, promotes weight loss and energizes you. Ordinary water, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found, raises alertness. The scientists discovered that water increases sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. SNS is responsible for activating the body’s responses under stress, raising blood pressure, energy use and alertness. Next time you need an energy boost, skip the caffeine and turn on the tap.
4. Engage in some kind of exercise or movement based activity that gets your heart pumping.
Cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training of any kind is a necessary factor in maintaining health as it keeps the body strong, fit and flexible to take on any challenges you throw at it. Aim for a grand total of 30 minutes minimum of exercise each day, either in one bout or spread throughout the day.
5. Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Be creative, use variety and find a way to add these nutritional powerhouses into every meal. They are nutrient dense, minimalist on the calories and are full of flavor as well as fiber. Focus on the dark, leafy greens especially for heart health, digestive system fluidity and for plentiful energy.
6. Find and eat an adequate amount of protein, leaving room for that protein source to fit into your lifestyle goals and physical needs.
Decide for yourself if you need animal or non-animal sources of protein or both. Most active adults need about 45-60 grams of protein per day. This will change dependent on activity level as well as age itself. Picture one egg, that’s approximately 16 grams of protein. A half cup of beans, about 7 grams of protein.
7. Maintain healthy interpersonal relationships.
Healthy relationships will improve your quality of life in a big way. You will know that they are healthy if you feel encouraged, supported and loved as opposed to beaten down, exhausted or emotionally drained. Decide for yourself if someone or something should remain in your life and in what capacity it will be in.
8. Have something to live for, something that helps you to feel alive, vital and a part of something bigger than yourself.
This could be a career, volunteer work, your spirituality, your creativity, absolutely anything. You could be active in sports, games, in your family, whatever it takes for you to feel needed, special and valuable.
9. Go to the doctor.
Get regular check-ups. Just do it. Know what you’re dealing with and allow yourself to be proactive.
10. Leave space for forgiveness, not only for others but also for yourself.
The fastest way to let yourself become unhealthy or to feel not quite yourself is to allow feelings of sadness, anger, despair and pity. Let yourself be human, allow space for mistakes – yours and others and be strong enough to let go.
11. Fill your fun quota every day to overflowing.
Use that fun as a way to do something purely for yourself, to cut down on stress and create memories that you’ll look back on with fondness.
12. Boost brain power with music
To get you body in shape, you go to the gym. What should you do for your brain? Play an instrument! A study published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience pulled together data from around the world studying the effect of music on the brain. They found that musical training, or any interaction with music—including listening—improved the brain’s ability to handle communication. The research reviewed showed that children with musical training have better-than-average vocabulary and reading ability. Musical adults had more “neuroplasticity,” aiding their brains’ long-term ability to adapt and change.
13. Improve your relationship to protect your heart
Relationships aren’t always perfect, but if you constantly feel anxious or needy, you could be putting yourself at higher risk of cardiovascular problems. People who or felt like their loved ones could leave them may actually end up with a broken heart, says a new study by the American Psychological Association. Researchers found that participants in the study who had “attachment insecurity” were strongly associated with higher risk of stroke, high blood pressure, ulcers and heart attack. The researchers are now looking into the health benefits of salving those apprehensive feelings.