Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineYour mind and spirit may be the most overlooked-and under appreciated-components of your well-being. But research has shown that nourishing them not only lowers stress, lifts mood and improves relationships but can also protect your health. "Mind, body and spirit are interdependent, so if you take care of your spirit, your body and mind will reap the rewards," says Linda Sapadin, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of It's About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination (Penguin, 1997). "And if you nurture your body, your mind and spirit."
Related: 24 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Mood
1. You stay indoors all day
Lack of sunlight, even during summer, can leave you lethargic and depressed. Just 20 minutes is enough to brighten your outlook, so if you work inside, take a brisk walk outside at lunch.
2. You've banned chocolate.
"Chocolate stimulates mood-enhancing brain chemicals like serotonin," says Debra Waterhouse, author of Why Women Need Chocolate (Hyperion, 1995). The amount in just two Hershey's kisses will do the trick, she adds.
3. You eat only fat-free food
"Bad" fats, like saturated fat, can lead to high cholesterol and heart damage. But "good fats," such as omega 3's, keep your memory sharp and your mood steady. Good sources include tuna, salmon, flaxseed oil, walnuts and beans.
4. You skimp on calories
Eating too little-less than 1,200 calories a day-can make you tired and irritable, says Kelley Brownell, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. Eat a healthy, balanced diet of at least 1,500 calories to maintain energy.
Related: QUIZ: Are You a Mind, Body or Spirit Girl?
5. You hate your job
The average American spends at least a third of her life working, so it's important to find a position that's challenging and fulfilling. If yours isn't, talk to your supervisor about how you can reshape your job responsibilities, or dust off your resume.
6. You regret not pursuing a childhood dream
Thoughts like "I should have played the guitar/been a sculptor/learned ballet" can lead to feelings of self-doubt. Instead of worrying about the opportunities you missed, enroll in a class or sign up for private lessons.
7. You rarely socialize with colleagues
You're not going to love every coworker, but having someone to chat with can make the day go by more quickly. Research shows that social support can prevent illness-and it can ease emotional stress, too.
Research shows that skipping vacations increases your risk of heart disease increases your risk of heart disease. Worried about your in box? Schedule a break a few months in advance and talk to your boss about delegating responsibilities while you're away.
Related: Your Energy Makeover Plan
7. When it comes to love, you ignore friends' advice
A recent Purdue University study found that women are particularly astute at predicting whether a friend's romance will last. "A friend will be able to see the negative aspects of a relationship that you may be overlooking," says study author Christopher Agnew, Ph.D.
8. You don't set aside "me" time
A recent study found that people with a packed social calendar were more likely to become ill. Try to take one night a week to give yourself a pedicure, try out a new recipe or pursue another hobby-it will help you unwind and stay healthy.
9. You never cry
Research has found that tears help flush stress-related chemicals that build up in your tear ducts when you're upset. If you feel the urge, find a quiet place and grab a Kleenex-it will calm and refresh you.
10. You're an Internet junkie
While the Web can be entertaining and informative, it eats up time you might otherwise spend with family and friends and leave you feeling isolated. A recent University of Michigan study showed that feeling isolated and lonely can lead to depression, so limit yourself to half an hour a day of recreational surfing.
11. Your place is a mess
"Being unhappy with your environment can make you feel weary and even defeated," says Celia Rocks, author of Organizing the Good Life (FOD Press, 2001). Reorganizing can be intimidating, so tackle one room-or even one drawer-at a time.
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