Smile more, get out of your comfort zone and be kind. A few resolutions to get 2020 off to a great healthy start!Faith M. Whittier M.D.
Get out of your comfort zone– Turns out our brains have an enormous capacity to change and rewire over our lifetime. New activities and experiences improve our brain’s Neuroplasticity ( The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections) to empower our brains to adapt, learn and even recover from injury. Quite simply, when we learn something new we improve our brain’s natural wiring. By allowing yourself in 2020 to do something “New” outside of your comfort zone, not only are you giving your brain a lift in the New Year you just might discover something you absolutely love. And guess what love and mastery often go hand in hand. Yes! you guessed it conquering something new and amazing in 2020 just might be giving that ego of yours a boost too.
Smile More- Let’s face it having a cute toothless smile only lasts so long. Smiling more is something you should definitely plan to do more of in the New Year. Studies have shown numerous health benefits behind a genuine smile such as releasing stress, and endorphins that help elevate our mood. Having a beautiful smile begins with a healthy smile and regular dental hygiene. Research has shown that poor dental health can directly affect our self-confidence Impact of Dental Disorders and It’s Impact on Self_Esteem. In addition, poor dental care can also lead to serious health conditions including cardiac, cancer and diabetes. So let 2020 be the year you commit to routine dental care smiling and flashing those pearly whites a whole lot more!
Bright Lights- It turns out for some of us around the globe we ring in the New Year around some of the coldest darkest days of the year. If your workplace is also without natural light these dark days can seem long and intense. The science also suggests its quite unhealthy especially for your mental stability. For people with seasonal affective disorder, these long dark days can be even more intense leaving them feeling awful and often dreading these winter months. Daily light therapy a simple scientifically proven solution just might be a great resolution to help keep those dark days a little more upbeat in 2020. Bright light stimulates cells in our eye’s retina connected to our hypothalamus controlling our circadian rhythm which influences our sleep-wake cycles. Light therapy usually entails sitting next to a lightbox with 10,000 Lux generally for at least 30 minutes upon awakening, this can be a great help for most and especially those with Seasonal Affective Disorder: So Bring on the light.!
Sleep Hygiene- Having good sleep hygiene will certainly give you an edge and a little boost that just might keep you on target for meeting those resolutions. Poor sleep habits can lead to chronic insomnia, fatigue leading to brain fog, poor concentration and depressed mood. So if you’re not sleeping well, don’t be surprised if you’ve fallen flat, out of steam and wondering how on earth you’ll reach those 2020 resolutions. Now, is a great time to change your sleep habits and start getting back those restful zzz’s important for good health and overall wellbeing. Start by preparing your room as a place to get a good night’s rest. Removing the TV, setting the temperature to a comfortable setting and not working on your computer in bed. Also, try going to bed and arising at the same time and avoiding stimulants like caffeine and alcohol at least 6 hours before bedtime, all of these are great ways to improve your sleep hygiene and your productivity days in the new year.
Annual Screenings- The New Year is a great time to schedule your annual screenings. And if your the family caretaker get those child care or eldercare appointments on the calendar too. Getting those appointments scheduled early will go a long way in keeping you healthy, sane and organized. Keeping in mind screenings often have additional tests that need to be performed outside of that visit such as Mammograms, Colonoscopies or follow-up visits with other specialists care coordination which can all be quite a bit time consuming especially if your planning these visits for more than one family member. So make it your resolution to get them scheduled early.
Random Acts of Kindness- We live in a world where hearing about tragedy has almost become a part of our daily lives. Leaving many of us feeling helpless and wanting to do more to change this tragic trend. Make a resolution in 2020 of turning feelings of helplessness into empowerment through random acts of kindness. This might not touch the life your hearing or read about in the news but these random acts of kindness can have profound effects on the ones you do touch, multiplying exponentially if we all do our part having a ripple effect of good fortune possibly around the globe. With the added bonus of making our lives happier and more fulfilled through the kind act of giving. Science shows that when we give we release neurotransmitters in our brains that elevate our mood The Neuro Science Of Giving. So in 2020 make it a resolution to keep those acts of kindness and giving flowing into the New Year and of course many more years to come. A random kind gesture perhaps out of your comfort zone but hopefully one that gets you, yes, smiling!