3 Healthy Habits That Pay Off Now and Later

Despite our best intentions, we may not always follow through with our resolutions made in the New Year. Don’t give up! Here are 3 simple habits you can adopt now that will help you today and years down the road.

Posted on | Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD | Comments ()
3 Healthy Habits That Pay Off Now and Later
3 Healthy Habits That Pay Off Now and Later

Despite our best intentions, we may not always follow through with our resolutions made in the New Year. Don’t give up! Here are 3 simple habits you can adopt now that will help you today and years down the road.

1. Stand more often.


Benefit Now: Feel more energetic throughout your day

Later: Protect yourself from cardiovascular disease, obesity and possibly cancer

Stand up for your health and longevity! Recent studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your risk for serious health issues, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer – even if you exercise on a daily basis.

Long periods of inactivity inevitably lead to weight gain because your body undergoes a metabolic slowdown; you use less blood sugar for energy, and therefore burn fewer calories.

 

Take a habit for a test drive:

  • Take exercise breaks once every 2 hours. Think: squats, lunges, jumping rope, and general stretching. You will get the added bonus of increased energy and productivity.
  • Turn every activity into an opportunity to move. Instead of resorting to the phone or email message, walk over to the person. Chat with coworkers standing up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk together. Get a membership at the local zoo or museum and go often with family or friends. Hike in a park or walk the family dog together. 

2. Help others more.


Benefit Now: Feel happier

Later: Stave off depression and worry less

It’s no secret that doing something nice for others helps you feel better about yourself and gives you a positive outlook on your place in the world. In fact, preliminary research is suggesting that practicing acts of kindness may be beneficial in the treatment of mood disorders, such as depression. These kind acts also help cultivate compassion. Compassionate people have empathy for others and are less likely to become angry, which can lead to stress – and the diseases that come with it.

Take a habit for a test drive:

  • In general, people who help others stop focusing on their own pains and problems and worries and feel good about themselves.
  • Practice kindness by looking for opportunities to make someone else feel happy: sweep the sidewalk in front of your neighbor’s house, give up your seat on a bus to an elderly person, or bring food to the homeless.
  • Volunteer your time and resources to causes you believe in.
  • Pass it on! Smile at as many people as you can today, strangers and friends alike.
  • Give thanks. Tell one person every day that you appreciate them. Whether in person, over the phone, email, or text message, both of you will get a lift.

3. Get smart about your smartphone.


Benefits Now: Get better focus

Benefits Later: Collect less accumulated stress 

A new study has found an association between chronic use of Web-enabled cellphones and a rise in stress levels.  Many smart-phone users feel the ceaseless need to immediately review and respond to every incoming message or alert. As this pattern grows, so does stress – especially when it is checked for personal reasons (for example, social networking), as opposed to work reasons.  Luckily, it’s how you use the phone that matters, not the phone itself – so there is opportunity to develop a positive relationship to your phone.

Take a habit for a test drive:

  • Try bulk-checking your email or texts once an hour to break the “instant communication” factor.
  • Practice doing one task at a time – either check your email or instant chat or send a text. This will heighten your focus and may even build discipline.
  • Take one day (or half a day) off from screens and surfing every week.
  • Consider putting your phone in airplane mode after 9 p.m. until early morning. 


Blog written by Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, bestselling author of Secrets of Longevity, is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine and the leading...