To reduce stress – listen to music!

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While classical music has a particularly soothing effect – it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones – ANY music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.

And music is particularly beneficial if you’re in the middle of a stressful event. If you don’t have access to music, make your own. A study on stressed-out nursing students found that singing relieved their stress and prevented burnout.

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If the chardonnay was really flowing on girl’s night…

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…do this when you get up in the morning: Have a cup of coffee and a splash of hot sauce on your breakfast. The plant compounds in coffee – and the capsaicin in hot sauce – can help detox your liver. That’s according to the World Cancer Research Fund. Even better, put hot sauce or chili flakes on avocado toast. The avocado has potassium and magnesium, two minerals that alcohol drains from your system.

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Bad weather driving safety!

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Now that rain, sleet, and icy roads are forecast in some areas, here’s how to stay safe behind the wheel:

First: If it’s rainy, snowy or foggy, use your LOW-beams. Automotive engineer Peter Leiss says high-beam lights bounce off water particles in the air, causing a glare that makes it much harder to see.

And if you’re stuck in the snow, put your car’s rubber floor-mats under the wheels! It’ll give your tires a couple of dry feet to grab onto and pull your car out of the snow.

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If you have diabetes, and you’re going out for Chinese food…

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skip the white rice!

The Harvard School of Public Health found that the daily consumption of white rice makes people 1.5 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. That’s why registered dietician Jill Weisenberger recommends brown rice. It contains fiber, so it digests more slowly. Plus, it has magnesium, which helps your body use insulin more efficiently.

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Here’s a quick way to snap out of a blue mood.

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Look at the last loving text you were sent and blow up the font like you’re majorly farsighted. According to German research, reading upbeat, positive messages can lift us out of a funk. But by blowing up the font to 28 points or larger, we can make those positive feelings last 20% longer! That’s because our brain interprets larger words as more important. So those loving text messages will have a more powerful effect.

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Grilling isn’t just for summer!

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29% of people surveyed say they grill outside even in winter. And registered dietician Melissa Joy Dobbs says, when the weather dips, we crave heartier meals – which you can make with fewer calories on the grill. Because you can get a lot of flavor from meat and vegetables without adding a lot of calories.

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A brisk walk is better than hitting the gym…

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for keeping the weight off! London School of Economics researchers found women of all ages who walked for over 30 minutes most days weighed less than those using treadmills or stationary bikes. Walking women also had lower BMIs and smaller waists than those who regularly played sports. The researchers speculate it’s because walking is free – and you can do it anywhere, anytime – which means people are more likely to do it, than making the effort to hit the gym or play a sport.

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Lift your mood by engaging in a calming leisure activity!

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Want to de-stress? Do something soothing and hands-on, like knitting. British researchers surveyed over 35-hundred knitters – and the more frequently they sat down with needles and yarn, the lower their stress. Don’t want to learn a new skill? Try jigsaw puzzles. University of California at Merced researchers found people engaged in calming leisure activities reported a‑third less stress than those without a relaxing hobby. But the best ones create a finished product, whether it’s a completed puzzle or a knit hat. Because the accomplishment lifts our mood and reduces stress.

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Are you thinking of trying high-intensity interval training?

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If you’re thinking of trying high-intensity interval training, like Cross Fit or Orange Theory, be sure to listen to pumped-up workout music. You’ll enjoy it more! The University of British Columbia had exercisers new to interval training work out either WITH music – or without. The result: Those exercising with music enjoyed it more and were more likely to try it again, than those working out in silence. That meshes with previous research showing music can make exercise feel easier. So if you’re trying interval training to shape up in the New Year, be sure to include a great playlist. You’ll be more likely to stick with it.

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If you want to ward off flu germs…

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hug your loved ones more often! Psychology professor Dr. Thomas Joiner from Florida State University says, in studies, people who do the most hugging are less likely to get sick when exposed to a flu virus. It works because regular physical contact with other humans bolsters the immune system – by challenging it through exposure to other people’s microbes, which makes it stronger. Another reason hugs are a flu fighter? They reduce stress, which makes us more resistant to infections. So get hugging!

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