6 ways to be a healthier you

Tammy Ruggles
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We all know that diet and exercise are the main keys to staying healthy. But there are other ways we can live a healthy lifestyle—physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of yourself as a fine machine that needs maintenance and a certain level of care that may border on pampering:

1. Minimize The Stress

We’ve all heard this one, but it’s all so true. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, sometimes heart disease, and other health issues. So chill out, take a vacation, simplify your life, and put yourself first. You owe it to yourself, your family, and loved ones. Throw out some of your hectic schedule and replace it with me-time. And it doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as you like it and as long as it’s relaxing. For some it’s golf, for others swimming, for others walking, yoga, or meditation. Find your outlet and let it all go at least once or twice a week. And if you can find a few minutes a day for quiet time, to reflect, rest, and clear your mind, that’s even better.

2. Take A Nap

Some call it a cat nap. Some call it catching some Z’s. Some call it a power nap. Whatever you call a nap, just try working in one at least once a day, even if it’s for 20 minutes. You’ll awake refreshed, energized, and ready to face the rest of the day.

3. Buy A Pet

Studies show that owning and caring for a pet is beneficial to your health. The exchange of love and nurturance can actually lower your blood pressure and release those positive chemicals in our brains that make us feel good. But don’t go out and just buy any pet. Get one according to the size of your home, your personality, and the time you have to devote to a pet, because they require just more than companionship.

4. Say “Yes” To That Proposal

There really is something to say for growing old together. Research shows that single people have more stress, are lonelier, and have more health problems than married people. Being married won’t prevent all health problems or prevent personal problems of course, but it can add to satisfaction, contentment, and fewer medical bills. So if you and your partner love each other and there is a proposal, take the plunge.

5. Give Your Brain A Work-Out

Mental exercises can come in the form of crossword puzzles, find-a-word quizzes, trivia games, or other brain teaser games. Some are simple and inexpensive, like a book of trivia questions. Others are a little more elaborate and expensive, like a handheld computer game. But all achieve the same effect, and that is a stimulated mind.

6. Laugh Out Loud

Studies show that there really is something to the “laughter is the best medicine” line. When we laugh, chemicals are released in the brain that make us feel terrific (similar to a chocolate high), and can add to reduced stress, so make sure to set some time aside to laugh. How you get your chuckles is up to you: A stand-up comedian, comedy films, or just hanging out with friends with a great sense of humor.

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Tammy Ruggles