30-Second Health Fixes

Need a quick fix? Here are some small moves that reap big payoffs.

Health Monitor Staff
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Sometimes it’s the small steps that make the biggest impact on your physical and emotional health. What are you waiting for? Try one of these surprisingly simple ways to feel better today!

Count your blessings
Identify 3 things you're thankful for. Being grateful can ease stress and boost your mood.

Compliment yourself
Look in the mirror and praise one part of your body.

Turn on the tunes
Add some music to your daily activities! Studies have shown that listening to any type of music can help reduce stress, boost brainpower and promote sleep.

Listen to your hunger cues
Set your table with plastic instead of metal silverware if cancer treatment leaves you with a metallic taste in your mouth.

Focus on fiber
Don’t have the energy to cook or eat? Try adding a high-fiber, complex-carb rich food like granola to your favorite yogurt. That way your body will get the high-quality nutrients necessary to help rebuild tissues affected by cancer and cancer treatment.

Breathe away anxiety
Take the edge off with this breathing technique: Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of 4. Exhale through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound. Repeat five times.

Go for the LOL
Write down a few funny lines you can use on phlebotomists, nurses, radiology techs and other members of your healthcare team. Think of the jokes as your stand-up routine for the medical set. They’ll appreciate the laugh, and so will you.

Boost energy instantly
Keep a bowl of peppermints on your desk. The scent decreases fatigue.

Think positive
The right attitude is everything when it comes to self-care. In fact, optimism has been linked to numerous health benefits, including increased lifespan, reduced risk of depression and improved coping skills during times of stress.

Spark a dialogue
It’s important to share your feelings with your loved one. You can say, ‘I’d like to tell you what I’ve been feeling, and then I’d like to hear from you.’

Wash your hands
Hand-washing is the best way to fight infection. Continue rubbing for at least 20 seconds or the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Spice it up
Cancer treatments, including chemo, radiation and surgery, can affect your taste buds and your sense of smell. If foods you normally like smell or taste terrible, use condiments with aromas that appeal to you—like ketchup, mayo and butter—and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

Say goodnight to lights!
What’s a simple way to reduce your risk of cancer? Shut off all light sources at night! Why? According to a preliminary study in Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics, that glow from your TV, laptop or electronic reader disrupts your sleep cycle, which can alter the expression of genes, a precursor to cancer development.

Sniff away stress
Grab an orange or pick up a container of rosemary. Aromatherapy, which uses scents to stimulate a bodily response, may help calm your nerves.

December 2012