To live longer: Embrace birthdays!

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A lot of people see getting older as a negative thing. But research from Purdue University shows that if you THINK that way, you’ll trigger chemical changes in the brain that speed up the aging process and actually MAKE you feel older. Fortunately, it works the other way, too… People who say they feel younger than their age consistently report fewer health issues than those who say they feel older. They also act more responsibly, and get better sleep – which can add 7 YEARS to your life expectancy, on average.

Do you play video games late at night?

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Why aren’t you able to sleep? Because you play video games at night to unwind. The blue light from screens can disturb your sleep. So can intense, interactive video games – like Call of Duty – which stimulate the brain, and boost production of stress hormones, like adrenaline – making it nearly impossible to wind down and drift off. And nearly half of all gamers are womenso it’s not just a guy thing.

Don’t let mosquitoes get you!

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If you’re going to be outside in the early morning or evening – when mosquitoes are the most active – slather yourself with citrus! Because mosquitoes hate the scent – especially lemon grass. So mix a couple drops of lemon grass oil into your body lotion – and put it on before heading outside. It’ll repel mosquitoes for up to two hours.

Sore after a workout? Eat this!

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After a tough workout, have salmon for dinner. It’ll help with muscle soreness and tenderness. That’s according to sports physician Jordan Metzl. He says the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are anti-inflammatory. And just like they’re good for your heart – they’re good for your muscles, too.

Wear sunscreen…

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If you’ve been out in the sun without sunscreen for an hour and forty minutesyou’ve suppressed your immune system by 50%. And when the body’s defenses are lowered, that’s what raises the risk of skin cancer… and can make people vulnerable to infections. That’s because too much UV radiation decreases the amount of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cell that help keep our immune system strong. That’s according to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Share that with someone you know who spends a lot of time outside.

Do you know the best time to step on that scale?

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If you want to weigh yourself when you’re at your lightest – step on the scale Friday morning, right when you wake up. We’re always at our lightest weight of the day when we wake up because we’ve been fasting overnight. Plus, we typically weigh the most on Mondaysafter a weekend of indulging – and as the week progresses, we weigh less, since our weekday eating is more regimented.

Smelling the right scent can help relieve nausea & motion sickness.

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In a study conducted by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, researchers showed study subjects a video designed to make them feel queasy. One group smelled rose oil – another smelled nothing. Well, the group that sniffed rose oil felt 50% less nauseous than the other group. The researchers say certain scents can conjure up powerful emotions. And if that emotional response is positive, it distracts the brain enough to ease motion sickness. And you don’t necessarily need rose oil. Any pleasant scent will do the trick. The researchers say you can start with your favorite cologne or perfume – which hopefully elicits a positive sensory response for you.

Do we need to worry about germs in our backyard?

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Microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno says, unless you have pets that use the yard as a bathroom, rolling around or playing in the grass is perfectly safe. Because most yard bacteria isn’t pathogenic – which means they don’t cause disease in humans. As a matter of fact, a common bacterium found in garden soil increases our feel-good hormone levels. So after gardening, you’ll feel less anxiety and have better concentration.

Remove your contacts before you go swimming!

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To avoid an inflamed cornea, don’t wear your contact lenses when you shower or swim. Because bacteria-filled water can get trapped under your lenses, leading to an inflamed cornea. It’s painful – and it could even cause blindness. And nearly a million people get it every year. If you need to wear contacts or you forget to take them out – after you get out of the water, disinfect them, ASAP. Or if your contacts are the one-day disposable kind, throw them away after a shower or swim, and put in a fresh pair.

Wait 30 minutes before you go swimming – or not…

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Let’s put this old wives’ tale to rest once and for all. No, you don’t have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim. The theory was that, after eating, the process of digestion would divert blood flow away from extremities – causing leg cramps, which could lead to drowning. But the truth is: Eating lunch and then jumping in the pool won’t cause any problems.