Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at the reasons to adopt a thankful attitude all year long, how to get your family members moving, and why you should steer clear of most California romaine lettuce.
Seven healthy reasons to get grateful
Being thankful is something with typically associate with turkey day, but there are some solid health benefits to making this a year-round practice, according to Time.
- It makes you more patient. Researchers from Northeastern University found that people who felt grateful for small, everyday things were more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared with those who didn’t feel grateful every day.
- It might improve your relationship. It makes sense, but feeling grateful toward your partner can improve many aspects of your relationship including feelings of connectedness and overall satisfaction as a couple, according to a study in the Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology.
- It improves self-care. Researchers asked people to rate their levels of gratitude, physical health and psychological health, as well as how likely they were to do wellness-boosting behaviors like exercise, healthy eating and going to the doctor regularly. They found positive correlations between gratitude and each of these behaviors, suggesting in their study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences that giving thanks helps people appreciate and better care for their bodies.
- It can help you sleep. “Count blessings, not sheep,” happiness researcher Emma Sappälä told Time. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research has found that feeling grateful helps people sleep better and longer, perhaps because it soothes the nervous system. If you’re going to make a daily gratitude list, a good time to do it is right before bed.
- It may stop you from overeating. “Gratitude replenishes willpower,” says Susan Peirce Thompson, a cognitive scientist who studies the psychology of eating. Cultivating feelings of gratitude can boost your impulse control, helping you slow down and make better decisions, Thompson said. If you find yourself eating too much, Thompson suggests pushing away from the table and making a list of things you’re grateful for, which can help you reset.
- It can help ease depression. Thompson suggests regularly engaging in the “three good things” exercise, which prompts people to think of three good moments or things that happened that day. Those who do this see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a couple of weeks, she says.
- It gives you happiness that lasts. Lots of things can give you immediate gratification, from a sugary treat to a compliment. But gratitude leads to a much more sustainable form of happiness. If you regularly take time to express your gratitude and thankfulness, you’re likely to see results.
Getting your family off the couch this holiday season
There are plenty of reasons to get exercising over the holidays; from burning off the pie and stuffing, to easing the stress and anxiety of spending time with relatives. But what’s the best way to squeeze in a workout when family are all around and you can’t get to the gym?
The New York Times asked fitness experts for a few suggestions:
- Make it a game. Rather than asking if anyone wants to exercise, ask who wants to join you in a game of tag or football. And add a little competition to chores, seeing who can rake a pile of leaves or shovel snow the fastest, says Dr. Pamela Peeke, adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and spokeswoman on exercise and nutrition for the American College of Sports Medicine. Challenge the smallest members of your family to an inchworm race, where you lean forward, walk your hands out to a plank, walk them back in and stand up. Who can do it the fastest?
- Pack a jump rope so you can sneak in a few minutes of cardio wherever you go.
- Try a few daily exercise “snacks.” Even if you can’t take the time for an entire workout, you can do a few quick upper and lower body exercises throughout the day, such as a series of push-ups or a few milk carton deadlifts. And hey, that walk around the mall with your cousins counts too.
- If you are craving solo exercise time, experts suggest going early, while everyone else is lingering over coffee.
Romaine lettuce recall expands to 19 states
Here’s yet another reminder not to eat or buy romaine lettuce from Salinas, California, which has been linked to 67 E. coli illnesses. More information is available on CNN.
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