Out-of-the-Box New Year's Resolutions to Start 2017 from Out-of-the-Box New Year's Resolutions to Start 2017

Out-of-the-Box New Year's Resolutions to Start 2017

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Out-of-the-Box New Year's Resolutions to Start 2017

Just because you’re not part of the nearly 50 percent of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions that include losing weight, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set new goals anyway. Chances are that the start of 2017 is making you think of new accomplishments you want to achieve in the upcoming 12 months.

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Practice deep breathing

Take a deep breath. Pause for a second or two. Exhale slowly. Do the same exercise a few times. You’ve done your nervous system a great favor, and many studies have shown that. Focused breathing is the one “Super Stress Buster” that evokes the relaxation response that the American Institute of Stress widely recommends as useful for everyone, even kids. Scientific research on “Om” chanting suggests that the mental repetition of “Om” results in physiological alertness and increased sensitivity. Separate research has shown that slow controlled breathing is associated with lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

Get your nature on

Winter is in full swing and with it come all kinds of seasonal outdoor activities such as snowboarding, skiing, and even hunting and zip lining. If having fun is not enough, there are scientific reasons to visit parks. Spending time outside is one of the best ways to cope better with stress, feel happier and have more self-esteem, according to research. Other studies have shown that walking in green spaces can put the brain in a state of meditation.

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Learn something you never did as a child

Did you go skiing as a child? A bonus is that cross-country skiing is healthy for you. After all, it’s a cardio activity, and research shows that cardio workouts and physical activity can help boost overall heart health as well as reduce mortality rates. Strapping on the snow skis, even once a year, may enhance overall happiness, health, and well-being, according to a separate study.

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Read more books

The benefits to reading actual books are endless. Research shows that it reduces stress levels by 68 percent. Research also suggests that it improves brain function by causing changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist. Reading, it has been proven to also boost your brain power and increase intelligence. Another very important benefit is that it may help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

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Make a new friend every season

Creating meaningful friendship is key to happiness, according to studies. Researchers observed 222 undergraduate students. In comparing the upper 10 percent of consistently very happy people with the average and very unhappy people, it was found that the 10 percent were highly social. They had strong romantic and other social relationships, were more extraverted, agreeable, and less neurotic. Other studies have found that people tend to be happiest when around their friends and family, least happy when alone, and found that cooperativeness is also a predictor of happiness.

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Write a handwritten letter

Handwriting makes you smarter, a study says. It demonstrated that printing, cursive writing and typing on a keyboard are all associated with distinct and separate brain patterns. Children wrote more words, they wrote them faster and expressed more ideas with paper and pen than with the keyboard. Also, when older kids had to think of ideas for a composition, research shows, better handwriting correlates with better neural activation in areas linked to working memory.

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Grow plants in your home

According to science, flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on moods. Another study showed that patients in hospital rooms with flowers needed less pain medication, were less tired, and had lower blood pressure. A third collection of research indicated that people’s cognitive performance was better – people concentrate better at work and at home with plants inside.

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Don’t Instagram everything you eat

Do you care about what everyone else eats? If you don’t want to lose followers who are going to get annoyed by having to scroll down past your frequent food posts, stop feeding their feed with your meals. Also, shooting photos should be the last activity you’re engaged in when you’re out for dinner. Instead, try talking to your friends and socializing.

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Spoil yourself

This is not the opposite of saving money, which is another common New Year’s resolution. Be kind to yourself, which doesn’t mean spoiling yourself by eating donuts every night after dinner because they are such a delicious dessert. A healthy reward, worth every penny, is a massage. It will help melt away any tension you’re holding onto. This is a great “before bed” habit.

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Learn to tell the difference between real and fake news

The issue of fake and legitimate news sources has become very problematic, especially during the most recent presidential election. How can you find reliable information and recognize the propaganda? The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism will soon offer an online course to help.

Out-of-the-Box New Year's Resolutions to Start 2017