Weave more small touches into conversations with your spouse, family,
and friends—it's another way to show loved ones how much they mean to
you. Squeeze your spouse's hand when you're riding an elevator together,
or rub your daughter's back when you chat about her day. We're cuddle
bugs by nature—our endocrine systems release a cascade of positive
pleasure chemicals when we receive a caring touch, making us feel more
connected and content and less anxious. (One study found that waitresses
who touched their customers even earned bigger tips
2. Pop your allergy med before bed
Allergies often flare up first thing in the morning. If that's the case
for you, take your allergy med at night so they'll still be working
come dawn. And because many allergy drugs cause drowsiness, what better
time to lie back, relax, and let the remedy do its job?
3. Snooze on your left side
As many as 80% of heartburn sufferers experience symptoms at night.
Steal back a good night's sleep by fluffing up two pillows instead of
one. In an Archives of Internal Medicine study, people who
propped up their heads about 11 inches reduced their symptoms
dramatically. Also, sleep on your left side and you'll cut your
heartburn risk in half—that's because snoozing on your right side
relaxes the muscle that keeps gastric acids in your stomach.
4. Add healthy fats to every snack or meld
When your meal contains protein, fiber, and even fat, your body's
insulin response slows, stabilizing your blood sugar. Munch bread with
some butter or olive oil, or make a PB&J sandwich with more PB and
less J. In one study of more than 32,000 women, those whose diets had
the highest glycemic load (a measure of how quickly a food spikes your
blood sugar) had more than twice the risk of heart disease compared with
those whose diets had the lowest load.
5. Take 6 little calming breaths
Six calming breaths in 30 seconds can reduce your systolic blood
pressure by nearly 10 mmHg, Japanese research has found. Even occasional
blood pressure spikes—like those during an insanely nonstop day—might
put you at increased risk of stroke, according to a study in the Lancet
6. Add more ice to sugary drinks
If you just can't give up your soda—a known contributor to
obesity—here's one way to lessen the impact of all that sugar and
phosphoric acid: Take a glass that's twice as big as your can, pack it
with ice, and then pour in the soda. It will last longer and, by the
time you're finished, you'll have an extra helping of hydrating water as
well. This works with any sweetened drink, such as iced tea or orange
7. Email your doctor
Just left the doctor and—oops—forgot to ask about your achy knee or
can't remember what she said about calcium supplements? Don't be afraid
to call back after you leave or send an e-mail. Most doctors will be
happy to address any lingering questions that slipped your mind.
8. Guzzle water with your wine
Of course, you shouldn't drink to excess. But when an extra round or
two is unavoidable, alternate a glass of water with every one of wine.
Rehydrating minimizes alcohol's diuretic effects, staving off headaches.
You'll also likely drink less alcohol overall because you'll fill up on
9. Get rid of messy sticky notes on your desk
Pull those sticky notes off your computer and straighten that stack of
papers on your desk. The same clutter that's merely a nuisance to most
of us can be downright painful to people who get migraines, say Scottish
researchers. Office litter may provoke debilitating pain by
overstimulating whole clusters of nerve cells, much the way an overused
muscle will spasm. Even if you're not migraine-prone, clearing away junk
helps relieve stress and improve focus.
10. Swap in cereal for bread crumbs
Instead of bread crumbs to coat chicken breasts, chop up General
Mills' original Fiber One cereal for a nutrition-packed crunch. For
every extra gram of soluble fiber in your diet—a 1/2-cup serving of
Fiber One has 1 g—you can trim your LDL cholesterol by almost 2 mg/dL.
Other sources include beans, peas, and citrus
11. Strength-train during commercials
A known metabolism jump-starter, resistance training just once a week
can improve your ability to resolve conflicts and focus your attention,
a Canadian study has found. Luckily, you don't need the gym; just use
your own body weight. Do as many push-ups or crunches as you can during
commercials while watching your favorite TV show, or lunge across your
living room as you water your plants.
12. Keep track of your good deeds
Go ahead, toot your own horn. When people were asked to track
kindnesses they showed others, their own happiness skyrocketed. Leave a
more-than-generous tip for waitstaff or let someone cut in front of you
in line at the supermarket. Jot down your good deeds every evening, and
you may act more kindly simply to lengthen your list. But that's okay.
According to researchers, you can become happier and more grateful by
paying attention to how nice you are.
13. Stand up while you surf the Web
Instead of sitting when you poke around on Facebook, stand up and perch
your laptop on a high counter top. A recent Australian study found that
every hour of television people watched each day (trolling the Internet
is an equally sedentary activity) increased their risk of dying from
heart disease by 18%. Alternate standing and sitting while you're online
or watching TV, and you can eliminate the risk.
14. Cool a burn with water, not butte
Putting butter on a burn (an old wives' tale) is a bad idea: It can trap
the heat, causing discomfort and even infection. Another mistake is
icing immediately—it's as caustic as heat. Instead, submerge the area in
cool water for 10 to 15 minutes, then treat with a cool compress. Apply
aloe vera or antibiotic cream, then cover with a nonstick bandage.
15. Ask yourself this life-changing question
Ask yourself, If I could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
People with a strong purpose in life are 2-1/2 times more likely to
ward off Alzheimer's disease; research also shows they tend to be less
depressed too. Answer the question quickly, with your gut reaction, then
brainstorm five ways to help make that change at a local level.
16. Plan a weekend getaway
When on a tight budget, it's easy to postpone vacations. But people with
a higher risk of heart disease who take a trip every year are 32% less
likely to die from their condition. Research a quick weekend getaway
online, and consider it a health investment: Spending money on an
experience actually makes you happier than splurging on a "thing" like a
new flat-screen TV. Even better, these positive emotions prolong the