NEAchieve! newsletter – NEA Member Benefits
By Amy Paturel
Think getting healthy requires a lifestyle makeover? Think again! These small, simple changes will help you pave the path to wellness.
Improving your new year’s wellness plan doesn’t have to mean completely overhauling your routine. In fact, experts claim small, simple changes are more likely to stick.
These 8 easy-to-implement ideas can get you started:
1. Practice gratitude. Taking stock of the riches in your life—both big and small—can go a long way toward boosting health and wellness. Research confirms that counting your blessings rather than fixating on what’s missing enhances wellbeing, especially if you put it in writing. A study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine earlier this year showed that women who wrote in a gratitude diary four times a week were happier—and less stressed and depressed—than those who didn’t. Sure, you may not have everything you want, but you’ll benefit from wanting what you already have. Maybe you stared at a star-filled sky, soaked in a soothing bath, or savored a chocolate truffle. The key, says Paula Dowd, M.A., C.C., mind/body clinician in Redondo Beach, California, is finding pleasure in the simple things that make up your every day.
2. Break out the coloring books. Once a playful childhood pursuit, coloring books have adult benefits, too. Coloring activates the same pathways in the brain as meditation and has even been found to change heart rates and brain waves.
“It isn’t quite art therapy, but it mimics some of the best features of mindfulness practices,” says Caroline Miller, MAPP, professional coach and author of “Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide,” who recommends adult coloring books to clients as a way to replace negative thoughts with positive images, unlock creativity, and allow a person to focus intently on choosing colors to make something beautiful.
3. Delegate. Whether at home or in the classroom, asking for help is key to preserving sanity. The key, say experts, is to capitalize on people’s strengths. Is your teacher’s assistant a pro at organization? Have her file your students’ homework. Does your daughter love to cook? Ask her to make dinner twice a week.
“Resilient people know how and when to tap into helpful resources,” says Miller.
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[photo: ctj71081| flickr creative commons http://ow.ly/4zv830a8slI]