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2016: A new year, a healthier you: By Amanda Williams, DO
January 4, 2016
New Year’s resolutions can be fun to make, but difficult to
maintain. Each January, about one third of Americans resolve to better
themselves in one way or another. A much smaller amount of people actually
follow through with these resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their
goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target at six
months, a 2002 study found.
Get more sleep
It’s common knowledge
that a good night’s rest can do wonders for your mood - and appearance. But
sleep is more valuable to your health than you might realize.
The fact that this is
perpetually among the most popular resolutions suggests just how challenging it
is to commit to. Nonetheless, you can succeed if you don’t expect success
overnight. "You want results yesterday, and desperation mode kicks
in," says Pam Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women.
Cut your stress
A little pressure now and again won’t kill us; in fact, short bouts of stress can be a good thing. But if stress is chronic, it can increase your risk of (or worsen) heart disease, depression, obesity, insomnia, to name a few.
Poor diet, little sleep, no exercise, long work hours, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress, says Roberta Lee, MD, an integrative medicine specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City, and the author of The Super Stress Solution.
Stay in touch
It’s good for your
health to reconnect with old friends, and family. Research shows that people
with strong social ties live longer than those who don’t.
Cut back on alcohol
literature is out there about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol,
too much drinking is still the bigger problem. (Binge drinking seems to be on
Do you fear that
you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any ex-smoker, and you’ll
see that repeated attempts are often the path to success.
We tend to believe our own bliss depends on bettering ourselves, but our happiness also rises when we help others, says Peter Kanaris, PhD, coordinator of public education for the New York State Psychological Association.
Not surprisingly, happiness is good for your health. A 2010 study found that people with positive emotions were about 20% less likely than their gloomier peers to develop heart disease or have a heart attack. Other research suggests that positive emotions can make people more resourceful and resilient.
The benefits of
vacations can be long lasting after you’ve returned. "We can often get
stuck in a rut, and we can’t get out of our own way," Kanaris says.
"Everything becomes familiar and too routine."
2016 is finally here so think of all the ways you can better your health. If you need help in achieving your new year’s resolutions or other health goals throughout the year, the physicians at Madison Health Primary Care are here to help.
Dr. Amanda Williams is a family practitioner at Madison Health Primary Care of London, specializing in family medicine and geriatric medicine. To make an appointment, call 740-845-7500.