How To Keep Your Healthy New Years Resolutions

Just about everyone makes a few New Years’ Resolutions on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, by around the first week in January of the following year, most of those resolutions are broken. Fewer than one in ten people actually sticks to their resolutions and makes a significant change in their lives.

If you’ve made one or more resolutions this year and you’re determined to turn over a new leaf, here are some simple things you can do to increase your chances of keeping them:

Keep It Simple – Don’t make a whole laundry list of resolutions for yourself. Pick the one thing that’s most important for you to change in the year ahead and stick with that.

Clearly Define Your Goal – A lot of people make “squishy” New Year’s Resolutions. “I want to lose weight in the year ahead” is not a good goal. “I want to lose 30 pounds this year” is much better because it’s realistic and much more specific.

Reward Yourself – Set a specific, modest goal and when you meet it, treat yourself to something as a reward. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy, but a reward for a job well done is a great way to motivate yourself.

Get Support From Family And Friends – Explain to your family and your friends what you’re doing and why it matters to you. Get them in your corner. Get them to help and support you. Doing that makes it a whole lot easier to actually achieve whatever goal you have in mind.

Don’t Let Setbacks Throw You Off Track – Setbacks happen. Progress never occurs in a straight line. When the inevitable happens and you stumble, don’t let it get to you. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and keep striving toward your goal.

If you follow the simple steps above, you’ll radically increase your chances of meeting whatever goal you set for yourself to ring in the new year.

Laughter Is Actually Effective Medicine And Here Is Why

If you’ve heard the phrase once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Laughter is the best medicine.

But is there any science to back that up, or is it just this thing we say now and again to make ourselves feel better?

The answer may surprise you. As it turns out, laughter has a number of impacts, both short and long term.

In the short term, when you laugh, you’re increasing the amount of oxygen your body is getting, which helps to stimulate your muscles, heart and lungs. In addition to that, it increases the output of endorphins in your brain, commonly referred to as the “feel good hormone.”

It also helps to soothe tension by stimulating circulation while simultaneously aiding with muscle relaxation. That removes some of the physical symptoms related to stress. Laughter triggers and eases your stress response, causing your heart rate to initially increase, and then decrease by a greater factor. That has the impact of lowering your blood pressure.

In the longer term, the more you laugh, the more you’ll find that your mood improves and your personal life satisfaction increases. Laughter also helps to reduce pain levels, so if you’re a chronic pain sufferer, having a sense of humor about it can help more than you might believe. In addition to that, laughter actually increases the amount of neuropeptides in your body, which help fight stress and ward off illness.

All that to say, if you don’t already have a well-developed sense of humor, spending some time developing one will pay you handsome dividends, both now and later. Sadly, laughter isn’t a magic bullet or a cure-all that will fix every problem you’ve got, but it helps a lot more than most people realize.

Triggers And Causes For Arthritis Flare Ups

Do you suffer with arthritis? If so, you know how awful flare ups can be, and you would probably do just about anything to avoid one.

That brings up an interesting question though. What kinds of things cause your condition to suddenly worsen and flare up?

The answer is, it depends. Ultimately, it depends on exactly what kind of arthritis you have.

Below, we’ll break down the three major types of arthritis and the biggest reasons each type flare up.

Psoriatic Arthritis – The triggers here are virtually identical to the triggers for psoriasis and include things like stress, bacterial infection, injury to the skin, allergies, excess alcohol intake, weather changes, smoking and diet.

Osteoarthritis – Flare ups can be triggered by a variety of factors, both internal and external. The external factors include changes in barometric pressure and cold weather. Internal factors include stress, infection, overexertion, and trauma. Osteoarthritis flare ups can also be caused by repetitive motion or weight gain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Here, flare ups are caused primarily by any condition that causes your immune system to respond to inflammation. In particular, you’re looking at things like stress, overexertion, or even the eating of certain foods.

Rheumatoid arthritis is tricky because many of the drugs used to treat the condition have the impact of dampening the patient’s immune response. This, of course, increases the risk of infection, which in turn can increase the risk of a flare up.

In most cases, if you suffer from a flare up, a short course of corticosteroids will take care of it. If the flare up persists, contact your doctor immediately so he can review your medications and current dosages and make adjustments as needed.

Arthritis pain is no fun, and knowing what your most common triggers are will go a long way toward minimizing flare ups. That’s a very good thing.

Can Cold Weather Help Cause The Common Cold?

The common cold and winter weather go hand in hand. That’s one of those things that everyone takes for granted.

It seems that cold weather helps to cause the common cold. The question is though, is that really the case?

Here’s what science has to say on the matter:

The common cold is caused by a number of viruses, with Rhinoviruses being responsible for more than half of all instances of the common cold around the world. While most rhinoviruses cause only mild symptoms, if left untreated, they can cause more serious illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis. That’s especially if the people who are exposed to them already have weakened or compromised immune systems.

Rhinoviruses are usually spread via direct person-to-person contact or through the air as small droplets which people inhale. Once inside the body, they replicate rapidly, often spreading through the upper respiratory tract.

There’s a growing body of research that confirms what some people know intuitively. Rhinoviruses are able to replicate more effectively and efficiently at lower temperatures. In particular, any temperatures lower than those found inside the human body. Lower temperatures brought on by winter weather lowers the temperature inside your nasal cavities, which is exactly where Rhinoviruses often first establish themselves.

Other research confirms that influenza viruses, which cause the flu, also spread more easily in cold, dry air.

Add the fact that other research indicates that cold weather and lack of sunlight tends to weaken people’s immune systems in general. Then, you have the perfect recipe for an increased chance of illness. All that to say, yes. Research confirms that winter weather can and does contribute to getting the common cold.

With that in mind, during the winter months, your best bet is to keep a watchful eye on your health, take a vitamin D supplement (to offset the reduction in Vitamin D that most people get naturally during the summer), get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and wash your hands regularly to reduce your risk.