Live Happy


Don't Be Fooled!
By Cleveland Clinic Wellness Editors 
Published 2/7/2011 
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6 Surprising Wellness Tips to Live Healthier and Happier

#1 Think you deserve a treat? Not so fast

Basking in the glory of an achievement? Steer clear of your favorite treats. Pride in accomplishments can make us indulge unhealthfully.

What’s the quickest way to sabotage your healthy eating efforts? Putting yourself in temptation’s way after a job well done. Whether you just landed a promotion or aced a final exam, being proud of an accomplishment can make you splurge on not-so-good-for-you goodies. The reason, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research: Pride over success makes us want to reward ourselves. And, unfortunately for our cholesterol levels, most of us would rather choose a sundae over a fruit salad for our celebration prize. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something special after an accomplishment. But instead of choosing cookies or cake, celebrate with a manicure, a movie or an hour at the driving range with family or friends.

#2 Kicking the habit can make you feel gleeful, not glum

Think smoking helps you feel better? New research shows people are happier when they quit smoking. To improve your mood, kick the habit.

If you’re a smoker, you probably smoke more when you’re unhappy or stressed. That’s because we tend to indulge in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking when we’re fretful or depressed. In fact, many smokers believe cigarettes can help them cope with stressful or sad situations — which can compound the negative effects of stress and depression. But as it turns out, those extra puffs aren’t helping your mental state one bit. Researchers at Brown University tracked the moods of smokers and found that they are happiest when trying to quit. During the study, those who remained the unhappiest were those who never attempted to give up cigarettes. Because negative moods can intensify cravings, a smoking cessation program that incorporates stress management techniques may boost your efforts to quit. Ask your doctor about programs in your community.

#3 That loud snoring? It could be your heart telling you something

Loud snoring may be linked to metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease. If you snore like a jackhammer, consult your doctor.

Common sleep problems, like difficulty falling asleep and frequent loud snoring may be signs of future health conditions. According to a study in the journal SLEEP, having either sleep issue predicted the development of metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. People with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low “good” HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar levels and abdominal obesity. While the study suggests that trouble sleeping could be a sign of metabolic syndrome, it found that snoring may actually contribute to the condition. Being overweight, smoking, drinking, and using muscle relaxers or other drugs could be to blame. If losing weight, quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol don’t help, talk to your doctor, who may refer you to a sleep specialist.

#4 Stay in bed to look more beautiful

How to look more attractive: Spend more time in bed. A new study shows people are rated better-looking when they are getting enough sleep. This is cute but doesn’t seem all that surprising

Turns out, there really is such a thing as beauty rest. To look your most attractive, the best thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep. That’s according to a study published in the British Medical Journal, which found people were rated better-looking when they had received a full night’s sleep. Observers also ranked sleep-deprived volunteers as being less healthy and more tired looking. According to the study’s authors, people are programmed to pick up on exhaustion and may be less attracted to it, because of the health problems and lower life expectancy associated with long-term sleep deprivation. Besides being bad for your appearance, lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk of hypertension, weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Set aside plenty of time each night for rest. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, talk to your doctor.

#5 Talk to your college-aged daughter about HPV – she’s likely to listen to you!

College-aged women are more likely to get the HPV vaccine if Mom suggests it. To protect their health, talk to your daughters about it.

The HPV vaccine is approved for females and males ages 9-26 years, and is recommended to be taken in early puberty.  Even if your daughter has already left the nest, she still cares what you think. A new study shows that moms can influence their daughter’s decision to get the HPV vaccine just by talking to her about it. College-aged women who discussed the HPV vaccine with their mom were nine times more likely to get inoculated. Besides preventing the sexually transmitted disease, the HPV vaccine can also reduce a woman’s chances of cervical cancer. According to the CDC, cervical cancer is nearly 100 percent preventable. If detected early, it is also curable. Still, more than 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2007, and about 4,000 women died of the disease. In addition to getting the HPV vaccine, one of the most important things women can do to reduce their risk of cervical cancer is to get regular screenings. Make sure you and your daughter visit your ob/gyn regularly.

#6 Pay with cash at the grocery store and you’ll be more likely to resist the junk food

Can’t keep junk food out of your house? A new study shows you’re less likely to splurge on treats when you buy your groceries with cash.

You go to the grocery store with the best intentions and leave with a cart full of cookies, ice cream and chips. Sound familiar? If you have a tough time resisting junk food at the market, you might do less damage if you leave the plastic at home and pay in cash. According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people are more likely to buy unhealthy foods when they pay using credit or debit cards. Research shows that people have a more difficult time parting with dollar bills than swiping their credit card. For this reason, we tend to make fewer impulse purchases when we pay in cash. At the supermarket, those with the most spender’s guilt tend to splurge the least. Try it out the next time you go grocery shopping.

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