This is why I was delighted to learn that there are also some health benefits of holidays. Perhaps we would enjoy this period of time more if we could just focus on the benefits and do what we can to minimize the risks.
Below are some ways you can fully enjoy the health benefits of holidays.
Giving Really is Better Than Receiving
We all like to get presents. Did you know that it also makes us feel just as good to give a present as it does to receive one? In fact, many people feel better when they give someone a gift than when they receive one. Of course, you do not want to overdo it and add to your financial worries. However, when we focus on giving and helping others during the holidays, we really will feel better about ourselves.
Give the Gift of an Experience
Not all gifts need to be something that comes in a box or bag. Why not give the gift of a trip, lessons, an evening at the theater or some other experience gift ... especially if it is something you can share with the recipient? According to a 2014 Cornell study, people who anticipate an experience are happier than those who purchase an item.
Shopping Burns Calories
Is there any other time of the year when you find yourself walking through shops and malls more than you do during the weeks before Christmas and other gift giving holidays? You burn between 200 and 300 calories every hour you spend mall walking. Even if you do not do much shopping, it can help you to get out of the house and do some window shopping. The holiday decorations and music will lift your spirits and you will burn calories at the same time!
Singing Holiday Songs is Calming
Did you know that singing can reduce your stress hormones and boost your natural oxytocin ... also known as the love hormone? Singing also slows your breathing in a way similar to what happens when you practice yoga. Even if you just softly sing along to the music in the grocery store or mall, you will feel good.
Some Holiday Treats are Healthy
As reported in other articles in this blog, one tablespoon of cocoa a day can lower your LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. It also improves your cognitive function and contributes to a healthy blood flow.
Another treat that can help you is peppermint. It reduces inflammation in the colon, although the amount in a candy cane may not be enough to accomplish this. However, just sniffing a candy cane can reduce food cravings and cut the amount of calories you eat!
The Holidays Can Bring Out Feelings of Gratitude
Do you send out holiday notes or cards? If so, consider mentioning the reasons you feel grateful for the year that has just passed. People who jot down the reasons they are grateful tend to be more optimistic. Some studies report that grateful people exercise more and see their doctors less.
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Holidays
Like many other health issues, your attitude can make all the difference. Focus on the good aspects of the holidays, make sure you eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest. Enjoy new experiences. Give fun gifts you can afford. Sing. Be grateful for anything good in your life.
Do these things and you truly will get the most out of the holidays.
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Photo credit: Photo of mall taken by author, Deborah-Diane. All rights reserved.
Source: "Why Holidays Are Healthier than You Think," Reader's Digest, Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015