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10 Health Resolutions to Adopt in 2017

2016 was a resoundingly tough year for many people. In fact, one massively public event, the juggernaut that was this year’s presidential election, was reportedly the “source of significant stress in more than half of Americans”, according to a Stress in American Poll. According to the poll, this stress crossed all party lines and has continued post-election.

The America Psychological Association (APA) cautions that stress can make existing problems worse, can cause disease, worsen depression, increase cardiovascular risk, and make it difficult to recover from illness.

walks in nature

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until there’s a chronic issue to prioritize stress reduction. Below we’ll outline 10 small, actionable mental and physical health resolutions that are sure to raise your quality of life in 2017.

  1. Take a moment to breathe deeply during times of high stress – As you feel the stress levels rise in your body, slowly focus on your breath and mentally run through a ‘wheel of awareness’ that engages your focus on all five senses one-by-one. From there, it should be easier to calmly approach your problems.
  2. Eat locally and seasonally – Buying and consuming local, seasonal produce is a great way to increase your vitamins and mineral intake. These crops also tend to be fresher because they are harvested at their peak. Only thing you’ll miss are the chemicals and pesticides associated with most factory farms.
  3. Spend money on experiences – Several studies published this year alone suggest that the “secret to happiness is spending money on experiences, not things”. If you’re looking to material possessions to increase your happiness over the long-term, try springing for a vacation, spa day, a new skill or giving gifts to others instead.
  4. Go on morning walks in nature – What you do in the morning can set your tone for the entire day. Why not start it by taking in fresh air and sunshine? Bonus: you’ll continue burning calories for up to 14 hours after you complete your workout!
  5. Keep a gratitude journal – Scribbling down ten positive experiences you had throughout your day will help you integrate the experience and relive the things you’re most grateful for.
  6. Eat more Omega 3s – Whether you take supplements or choose to eat the real thing, the Omega 3 fatty acids found in foods like oily fish have been shown to reduce a number of age-related health risks such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
  7. Start an herb garden – Having steady access to freshly grown herbs is an easy way to get a boost of vitamins and minerals while adding incredible flavor to your meals. Many varieties like dill, basil and chives are easy to grow and pair well with many flavor profiles.
  8. Go barefoot more often – Children do it all the time, but as adults we quickly forget how revitalizing it can be to kick off our shoes and let our feet connect with the earth. Even 15 minutes is enough to let feet breathe and stretch out!
  9. Use pet therapy – Petting an animal for just 10 minutes each day can help regulate blood pressure and reduce the chances of heart disease.
  10. Practice mindfulness – Staying present in each moment is the simplest definition of mindfulness. It does wonders for anxiety and depression, and mindfulness also has a calming effect, which can reduce blood pressure.

Don’t have a repeat of last year. Take note of these stress reducing health resolutions and make 2017 your best one yet!