"Oh my god, I will never drink again!" It's the chorus of January 1, ringing out across Facebook pages everywhere.
Maybe that one's a bit of hyperbole, but we do vow to imbibe less, not to mention quit smoking, go on diets, start exercising, write a novel, change careers, stop being assholes, save money and learn to tango/speak Chinese/code/whatever.
Then, by January 15, it's all out the window, of course. It's tradition!
The new year is a time of renewal, and dammit, we're going to renew.
Well, I can't help you learn to code, but I did consult with a variety of practitioners and ask them to share one simple and effective new year's resolution you can make for a happier, healthier 2013.
Happy new year.
What the experts say
"Resolutions can backfire. Starting a meditation practice is a big ask. I suggest starting small and building on that. Commit to paying attention to the sensations in the soles of your feet three times a week. This is a way of disengaging your attention from multi-tasking under stress and bringing it back into the body, back into your experience. It also gives you a five-second pause. Another way to pause is to take three conscious breaths. Pauses are manageable and doable. Then you can expand on them. The more we're able to recognize where our attention is, the more we're able to bring it to bear on working wisely with our emotions. Also, in practising mindfulness there is non-judgment. A lot of mental disorders are driven by intense judgments, criticism and forms of harshness that people make about themselves."
ZINDEL SEGAL, Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Studies, department of psychiatry, U of T, CAMH
"Resolve to eat breakfast every day, and include eggs: they're digested slowly and keep you feeling full longer. The whites are rich in protein, but don't discard the yolks - that's where most of the nutrition lies. Egg yolks are rich in a fat called choline, important for short-term memory and for stabilizing mood. They're also a great source of the yellow pigment lutein, needed for eye health. And don't worry that they will raise your cholesterol. There is no reliable scientific evidence that increasing eggs to one or even more a day increases your risk of heart disease."
AILEEN BURFORD-MASON, author, Eat Well, Age Better, Toronto
"Laugh every day. Watch something funny or go retro and pick up an Archie comic book. Laughing has been shown to boost your mood by increasing endorphins in your body and boosting your immune system."
MUBINA JIWA, naturopath, Toronto
"My number-one resolution is to get more exercise. Even adding a five-minute walk outdoors three times a week will do wonders for your health.
There is no pump in your body's lymph system. That means your immune system doesn't work without regular movement. Not only will your immune system work better with more exercise, but your mood will improve and your appetite actually decrease! If I had to pick more exercise or less eating and booze, I'd take more exercise."
KALEB MONTGOMERY, Chinese medicine practitioner, Toronto
"Do not diet in 2013. Studies have proven that only 2 to 3 per cent of people who lose weight by dieting keep the weight off. That's 97 to 98 per cent of people for whom diets don't work! Instead, make 2013 the year to learn to eat intuitively. Eating intuitively means checking in with your body to eat the foods and amounts that you truly crave/want/need at that moment in time. It means accepting and loving your body at every size and working toward health for health itself. For more information on this radical concept, I recommend Lessons From The Fat-o-sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby."
MASINA WRIGHT, naturopath, Portland, Maine
"Pay attention to your body. Treat it like a close friend. Be nice to it, make sacrifices for it, treat it with kindness and respect even if you don't quite feel like it at the moment or it's extra effort."
PAUL DORIAN, professor, medicine and cardiology, St. Michael's Hospital, U of T
"Use your daily agenda to make an appointment with yourself to exercise, just as you make appointments for many other things in your life. Respect that calendar entry just as you do the other dates you make."
MARIO TALAJIC, cardiologist, president, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Toronto
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