Happy New Year.  

Let’s jump into this decade, fully informed with the best advice to move you forward to the results that you want.

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 resolutions that therapists would recommend for more peace and satisfaction in 2020, as well as the life-extending perks of intermittent fasting.

Beyond weight loss: Consider these goals for greater well-being in 2020

While you’re launching on those health and fitness resolutions this year, you might also want to consider some self-care goals to boost your overall well-being. NBC News asked over a dozen therapists what resolutions they are setting for 2020. Here’s a sampling of what they shared.

  • Find moments of peace daily and consider a resolution buddy. “I am aiming to slow down, be more intentional in every moment, and try to find moments of peace in every day,” psychologist Mary Rourke, the director of Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology told NBC. Pressing pause daily and reducing unnecessary busyness is something she recommends to clients and she hopes to share her goal with someone who shares her goal and can check in with to discuss how they’re both doing.
  • Be more willing to accept change. James Gordon, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Mind-Body Medicine says he wants to let go of his resistance to change and plans to monitor this by paying attention to when he feels a tightening in his body, a narrowing of understanding and a tinge of defensiveness in his voice. When he feels these things, it’s a cue to relax, and remind himself that change is the order of nature.
  • Practice more gratitude. Sharon Saline, a psychologist says it has become too easy in our busy culture not to savor what’s happening. She plans to write three good things about each day in her journal before bed to get greater satisfaction from her days.
  • Schedule self-care. Knowing how difficult the transition to parenthood can be on a marriage, Theresa Herring, a licensed family therapist, plans to schedule self-care because if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. That means putting girls’ nights out, date nights and exercise in ink in her 2020 planner.
  • Make more time for nourishing friendships. Research shows that the greatest level of health comes from those who have an active and nourishing group of friends, says Rita Echelstein, a therapist and neuropsychologist. She plans to schedule more walks, hikes, museum browsing, and beach walking with friends and those she finds interesting. And, says counselor Brent Sweitzer, spend more time listening, rather than talking with friends and family.

“By listening attentively to another person, we convey our love to them,” Sweitzer says.

Live “fast,” live longer?

Intermittent fasting has become the darling of the diet world, but a new review published in the New England Journal of Medicine posted on ScienceDaily has found that it’s not just a way to shed pounds, but also a powerful tool in the fight against chronic disease.

The new article by Johns Hopkins University neuroscientist Mark Mattson, Ph.D., which reviewed years of animal and human studies, says that alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health, probably by triggering an age-old adaptation to food scarcity called metabolic switching.  When a switch occurs, cells use up their stores of rapidly accessible sugar-based fuel and begin converting fat into energy in a slower metabolic process.

This switch, Mattson says, improves blood sugar regulation, increases resistance to stress, and suppresses inflammation. Because most Americans are constantly snacking, they do not experience the switch or the benefits that come with it.

The article also points out that studies in both animals and people found intermittent fasting also decreased blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rates. And preliminary studies show it might benefit brain health too, as evidenced by improved memory in a group of more than 200 study participants who followed this type of restricted eating.

Photo credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com