Here’s an oldie but not-baddie: the New Year’s Resolution worksheet I once-upon-a-time put together for residents at the 28-day crisis program where I used to work. It’s been posted here before, but…it’s a new year again, so here it is.
Sometimes resolving to take on new, better behaviors just sets you up for disappointment. There’s some wisdom in abstaining from the whole process. But, if you’re going to give resolutions a shot, the worksheet can be helpful in getting them structured. It asks, what are your goals for the coming year, what are behaviors would you like to change, what are attitudes do you hope to adjust. Then, once narrowed to resolutions, you’re prompted to break each item down into steps. “So you want to ____________; what’s the first action you have to take to get there?”
It was helpful for the residential program folks. It could help you too.
Either way, Happy New Year!
New studies continue to show that exercise is good for your brain. From the NYT:
Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.
But in the years since, neurological studies have established that the brain retains plasticity, or the capacity to be reshaped, throughout our lifetimes. Exercise appears to be particularly adept at remodeling the brain, studies showed.
Looking for a quick way to exercise? Another study likes this seven minute workout. All you need is a floor, a wall, a chair, and some gravity.
A pedometer study shows Americans take fewer steps than people in other countries. One tidbit:
Being single was associated with taking more steps. Single people averaged 6,076 daily steps, compared to 4,793 steps for married people. Widowed participates moved the least, averaging 3,394 daily steps.
A Q&A about the sleeplessness that comes with parenting.
Chronic insomnia has been linked to a range of medical problems, from loss of concentration to high blood pressure…But can getting up throughout the night to tend to new baby cause long-term health problems as well?
Getting a massage does more than put your muscles at ease.
[Recent research has f]ound that a single session of massage caused biological changes. Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.
Another vote for getting up and moving around: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? (NYT)
M.R.I.’s provided a clearer picture of how it might work. They showed that fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control,” or the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts crisply…
From Wired: Alcohol can increase longevity…but why?
In recent years, sociologists and epidemiologists have begun studying the long-term effects of loneliness. It turns out to be really dangerous. We are social primates, and when we’re cut off from the social network, we are more likely to die from just about everything (but especially heart disease). At this point, the link between abstinence and social isolation is merely hypothetical. But given the extensive history of group drinking – it’s what we do when we come together – it seems likely that drinking in moderation makes it easier for us develop and nurture relationships. And it these relationships that help keep us alive.
NYT: Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?
Just how music impacts the body during exercise…is only slowly being teased out by scientists. One study published last year found that basketball players prone to performing poorly under pressure during gameswere significantly better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music and lyrics (in this case, the Monty Python classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”).