Wouldn’t it be great if we could improve our lives in just five minutes a day? It’s actually possible to boost both physical and mental health in that tiny amount of time and these science-backed actions are easy ways to do it.
- Pet your dog- According to Harvard Medical School, research shows dog owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people without dogs. High cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) are major risk factors for heart disease. Scientists believe that dogs have a calming effect that can lower blood pressure, which lowers the risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Make a gratitude list- Start your day by jotting down five things you’re grateful for and it could boost your mood. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude gets the brain to produce more dopamine, a feel-good chemical.
- Talk to a friend- Text or call one of your besties to protect your heart and brain. Social isolation and feeling lonely can increase risk for a heart attack, according to one study, which finds people with solid friendships have a 29% lower risk for coronary disease and a 30% lower risk of stroke than those without those social relationships. And researchers believe that’s because loneliness increases chronic stress, which can wear down the heart.
- Take this supplement- Studies suggest vitamin D can support the immune system and can lower the risk of developing several types of cancer. Dr. Kathryn Boling, a family medicine doctor, advises her patients to take 2-thousand IU of vitamin D every day.
- Stretch- Taking a few minutes a day to limber up is good for more than just your muscles. Stretching can help your health in the long run with better flexibility, better bone and joint health, improved balance and even lowered stress. Harvard Medical School explains, “Even without formal meditation and controlled breathing, the gentle muscle stretching of yoga can reduce stress.”