News Flash: Doctors’ New Year’s Resolutions, Gratitude and Healthier Eating, and Other Health News

Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at a handful of resolutions doctors would prioritize, the influence gratitude has on your food choices, and why people procrastinate.

If doctors were in charge of your resolutions

While you’re digesting all those holiday cookies and thinking about New Year’s resolutions, the doctors at the American Medical Association have some very specific ideas to get you started. Here are a handful of their resolution suggestions, from Time Health:

The emotion that can help you eat healthier

If one of your resolutions this year is improving your eating habits, here’s an unlikely tip that just might put you over the top. Start a gratitude practice.

New research in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology featured in Greater Good Magazine shows that the practice of expressing gratitude has a positive impact on the food choices you make.

Researchers split up more than 1,000 ninth- and 10th-grade students into groups that either wrote gratitude letters and journals each week or simply listed their daily activities. At the end of a month, researchers tracked the eating habits of all the teenagers studied and found that the gratitude groups reported eating healthier than those who simply listed their activities. In fact, they had marginally better eating habits up to three months after the study concluded.

Why does gratitude have such an impact on what you eat? Researchers found that the practice of gratitude reduced negative emotions, which consequently lead participants to eat less fast food and other junk. Gratitude alone won’t overhaul your diet, researchers say, but it’s a good complement to a sensible plan.

And as a bonus, gratitude also has been shown to promote a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure and improve your sleep.

Why you spend so much time putting things off

Are you a task delayer or a chronic procrastinator? This piece in The Atlantic explains the difference and why we wait so long to do something that takes so little time like doing dishes, prepping meals or taking out the trash.

Knowing how to get around the tendency to procrastinate can help with your goals. You might consider moving dreaded tasks from the end of the day when you are worn out and have “decision fatigue” or try lumping a dreaded chore such as housecleaning into something else you find positive such as having a monthly dinner party.

How could you tweak the chores you hate to make them more palatable?

Photo credit: Javier Diez, Stocksy