Feel Better Tips for 2018

This has been a tough year, what with terrorism, wildfires, the disintegration of political reason  and the unfathomable dick banging between the oval office and Kim Jong Un. To quote Rudy Cheeks, “It’s a complex world.” When it comes to your health, that can translate to a lot of stress. To lighten the load, here are some simple feel better tips that, like love, don’t cost a thing.

* Accept who you are. There is good and bad in everyone; don’t beat yourself up over it. Before you were old enough to know any better, some people you had no control over started shaping your life and beliefs by the things they taught you and the behavior they showed you. Some of it was crap. You can forgive yourself for buying into it. Whatever you are now, make the most of it. Don’t be your own abusive parent and berate yourself for every flaw and error. Be your own nurturing parent and look for the best in yourself. When you grow the good, the good grows.

* Do something to help someone else. When we get caught up in ourselves, we are far more aware of pain, anxiety and depression. Focusing on something outside of ourselves really helps – the same feel-good neurotransmitters are released when you give and help solve problems as are released when you get something you really want. You can’t always get what you want … but it’s easy to perform a simple act of caring. As the Dalai Lama once said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

* Ask for help when you need help. Become part of the world exchange; it’s what community is all about.

* Get thee into the trees. We are, despite our affection for devices, creatures of the earth. Being away from the static of the city, out where the birds sing and the leaves whisper, is supremely stress relieving. It’s as if all those living green things can suck the cyber-cynicism right out of you.

* Smile! No one knows exactly why, but the physical act of smiling makes us feel better. Even if you don’t mean it, beam away. It’s like whipping up a batch of happy.

I’d like to leave you with a single, inexpensive and insanely easy way to improve your overall health: Drink enough water. I started reading up on this miracle liquid and some of the facts I unearthed really blew my mind.

First, let’s get this common myth out of the way: the human body is not 98% water. When we are born, we have a water content of about 75%, equivalent to about that of a fresh potato. As we age, we start drying out. After a year, a baby is only 65% water. By the time we are adults, the average male is about 60% water and the average woman is about 50 to 55% (due to a higher percentage of fat cells). Humans who reach senior status have dried up to about half water.

You would think that your blood has the highest water content of any of your body tissues, but you would be wrong. That serum coursing through your veins contains only about 20% of the total water in your body. The human heart and brain are 73% water and your lungs are 83%. Even your bones contain 31% H2O! This is why dehydration can wreak such havoc on the human system. The symptoms can mimic many other disorders.

Water is vital to the life of every cell. The nutrients that feed us are transported by water in the bloodstream, and water flushes out toxins and waste. Water regulates our internal body temperature, lubricates our joints and acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord. When we get dehydrated, it does more than make our lips stick together – absolutely nothing in our body can function properly. We can feel confused, irritable and exhausted. Severe dehydration is life threatening, and constant low grade dehydration can leave us feeling listless and cloudy, anxious and sore. Many people think they are hungry when what they really need is an infusion of liquids. How much? This is an extreme variable that depends on size, activity, climate, gender and many other factors. In general, the Institute of Medicine advises that men consume about 3 liters (roughly 13 cups) of beverages a day and that women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). But don’t forget that many foods have a high water content (watermelon springs to mind) and some of your daily fluids come from there. The best way to judge hydration is by the color of your urine. If it’s the color of straw, you’re good. The darker it is, the drier you are. If it turns amber or brown, you are in serious trouble. Drink a big bottle of water on the way to the ER.

And please don’t forget to drink water along with your booze on New Year’s Eve. You’ll wake up to a better 2018.

For more on dehydration and prevention tips visit mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086

 

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