5 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy

5 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy

A mental-health expert on how to keep anger, anxiety, and depression at bay through everyday habits.

Good Sleep
Research shows that people who go without enough good sleep (generally considered at least six hours a night) are up to six times as likely to become depressed as those who get good sleep.

Good Sex
Levels of the “happy neurochemicals” serotonin and endorphin have been found to rise in postorgasmic rats. At the same time, there’s a surge in oxytocin — which is believed to reduce stress levels — as well as an uptick in prolactin, thought to be associated with the sleepy feeling after sex. These findings suggest that having sex (or taking matters into your own hands) brings some temporary relief for stress or anxiety

Good Exercise
Particularly aerobic exercise. The best evidence to date – based on the analysis of fourteen random controlled trials – indicates that to prevent, and even effectively treat, depression with exercise requires three thirty-minute sessions per week of aerobic exercise at 60 to 80 percent of maximum heart rate (i.e., typically between 110 and 160 beats per minute) for at least eight weeks.

Good Food
Up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, both of which show promise in contributing to mental well-being. Tuna, mackerel, and salmon are good sources for omega-3 fatty acids, as are dark green vegetables, flaxseed, nuts, and soybeans. For sources of B12, look to seafood and low-fat dairy products. Carbs have also been found to raise the level of serotonin in your brain, but it’s best to stick with low-fat, whole-grain sources.

Take it easy and limit it to the standard two drinks a day.