Blog Posts by Healthy SELF, SELF Magazine

  • 5 Simple Tricks to Feeling Happier

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Got the Monday blues? Here's a quick trick to make you feel happier...

    ! According to a new study out of the University of Kansas, putting on a happy face can actually make you feel better.

    "Age old adages, such as 'grin and bear it' have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life's stressful events," researcher Tara Kraft, a graduate student in clinical psychology, says in a statement. "We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits."

    Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    Study participants who made themselves smile, either physically (using chopsticks to make their mouths form the shape of a smile) or by just plain-old smiling, had lower heart rate levels after recovery from stressful activities, though "real" smiles, involving the whole face, had a stronger

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  • Olympian Missy Franklin's Post-Swim Secret

    Courtey of usaswimming.orgCourtey of usaswimming.orgErin Bried, SELF magazine

    Though she hasn't even graduated from high school, Missy "The Missile" hopes to make a big splash at this year's Games, where she will be competing in a total of seven events. This last year alone, the 6-foot-1 soon-to-be-senior broke the world record in the 200-meter backstroke and nabbed three golds, a silver and a bronze in the 2011 FINA World Championships.

    Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    By the end of the week, Franklin will have competed in seven Olympic swimming events, including the 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke, 4x100 freestyle relay, 4x200 freestyle relay and the 4x100 medley relay. She's one busy Olympian!

    How do you stay calm when the whole world is watching?
    "Having a strong mental attitude before a big event is so important. It helps me know that I have done everything I possibly can to be ready for that moment, so all that's left is to have fun and do what I love!"

    Related: Shed Pounds Without Starving


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  • 6 Reasons Your Friends Are Good for Your Health

    BFFs Michelle Williams and Busy PhillipsBFFs Michelle Williams and Busy PhillipsApril Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Have you called your bestie today? You should -- just to say thanks! Because in addition to being good for your spirit (and your need to have company when you Facebook-stalk your ex-boyfriend!), your girlfriends are literally healthy for you!

    "Having good friends improves your health and your longevity," psychologist Irene Levine, Ph.D., a professor at NYU Medical School and author of Best Friends Forever, tells HealthySELF. Today just happens to be National Girlfriends Day, so here are six of Levine's top reasons to celebrate those awesome women in your life:

    Related: Shed Pounds Without Starving

    1. Good friends improve your health.
    According to Levine, "There have been many studies that show an association between good health and friendship." To start, says Levine, good friends encourage you in healthy lifestyles. Indeed, as SELF has previously reported, women who work out with a BFF are 45 percent more likely to exercise than those

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  • 5 Things Olympian Jordyn Wieber Won't Leave Home Without

    Courtey of jordynwieber.comCourtey of jordynwieber.comErin Bried, SELF magazine

    We were shocked when high schooler Jordyn Wieber didn't make the individual all-around gymnastic finals, but she's not out of the game yet! Wieber's ready to help her team win Olympic gold in gymnastics team finals for the first time since 1996. In the team finals, the phenom will once again attempt one of the most difficult moves in the sport--the Amanar vault: a roundoff on the springboard, back handspring onto the horse and a 2 1/2 twisting layout backflip before landing. (Good God!) If she sticks it, Team USA might just get something shiny in return.

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    How do you handle high expectations? "I focus on one practice at a time, one meet at a time, one event at a time. I have my ultimate goals in the back of my mind, but to make sure I don't get overwhelmed, I try to stay in the moment."

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    What's your favorite indulgence?
    "I'm trying to avoid indulging right now. But when I can, I like

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  • Burn 300 Calories During Tonight's Olympics Opening Ceremonies

    Courtesy of NBC UniversalCourtesy of NBC UniversalAmanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    Tonight is the (very long) opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. We're not usually fans of parking your butt in front of the television for such an extended period, but we'll make an exception for such an awesome display of athleticism and national pride.

    Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    And speaking of athleticism, there's no reason you need to just sit and watch: To get into the spirit yourself, I pow-wowed with Heather Hatfield, a personal trainer at the Maryland Athletic Club in Baltimore, to come up with a SELF Summer Games Game you can play right from your living room. (You can even invite some friends over to make it a friendly competition!)

    Just by concentrating on the moves below and moving for about 60 minutes overall, Hatfield estimates you can sizzle at least 300 calories -- and with the ceremonies scheduled to air for more than four hours, there's potential to burn even more. Follow these as written, or add Read More »from Burn 300 Calories During Tonight's Olympics Opening Ceremonies
  • Save 500 Calories with These Pizza Swaps

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Who doesn't love pizza? This comfort food combines different flavors and textures and is always fun to share with pals. Choose the right toppings and you can save 560 calories -- that's enough to have an extra slice!

    Instead of topping your pizza with chicken, try mushrooms.
    They have the same great, meaty texture, but these veggies will save you 80 calories per 3 oz serving and add important nutrients like Vitamin D and potassium.

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    Swap out pepperoni for chicken sausage
    . It has less than half the fat and saves 85 calories per ounce while still adding that same savory flavor to your pizza. If you're making pizza at home, look for the fully cooked kind to save time.

    Stick to marinara sauce instead of opting for a cream-based sauce
    to save 107 calories per 1/2 cup serving. Plus, it only has 3 g of fat per serving while packing tons of flavor versus the 18 g of fat per serving in the white sauce.


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  • 5 Questions to Ask Your Waiter

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    One of my favorite things to do over the weekend is to round up my friends and have long, relaxing dinners. We're all so busy, so dinner is the perfect opportunity for us to catch up! Most of the time we head to a restaurant in town, and I always ask the waiter a few questions to make sure I know how my food is prepared so I can make the smartest selection. Here's a handy list of questions to ask YOUR waiter:

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    What's your favorite dish on the menu?
    If you want to ensure that you are going to get something yummy, this is the question to ask. Servers have generally tried everything on the menu and are very open and honest about their favorite dishes. I have never been disappointed when I ordered something that the server recommended! As an added bonus, as they describe the dish, you have a better idea how it's prepared, how fresh it is and of the flavors in the dish. For example, the server might say, "My favorite

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  • 6 Ways to Stay Safe Against West Nile

    Photo: CDC.govPhoto: CDC.govApril Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Lakeside picnics and sunset cocktails on the deck are what summer's all about, but pesky mosquitoes can leave you with more than just an annoying, itchy bite. You hear about West Nile virus every summer, and yes, it's back again this year.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the West Nile virus is considered a "seasonal epidemic" in North America that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall (it was first discovered in the U.S. in the summer of 1999).

    "Seasonal outbreaks of West Nile virus disease occur each year in the United States," Nicole Lindsey, M.S., epidemiologist with CDC's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, tells HealthySELF. Since West Nile virus is primarily transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, Lindsey says most human infections in the U.S. occur when mosquitoes are most active: from June through September, peaking in mid-August.

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  • The Secret to Feeling Successful

    Dr. Catherine Birndorf, SELF magazine

    How do you define success? Many would list achievements like SAT score, salary or where they went to college. And yes, these are all impressive ways to remind yourself and to tell the world: I am smart and I am successful. However, we are much more than the bullet points on our resume. These external merits, while significant, do not fully define us. But when people base their self-worth entirely on these things, it can hurt them in the long run.

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    One of the biggest problems I see when people define themselves by their IQ score or job title is that they develop a fear of trying new things or putting themselves out there. When your value is based on achieving success, the threat of failure can hold you back in a big way. Yet, the hardest experiences (which you might very well fail at) are also those that can be the most rewarding.

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    So rather than focusing solely

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  • Women Are Officially Smarter Than Men

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Hey smartie! Have you heard the news? IQ test scores are confirming what we've known all along -- women are just as smart, if not smarter, than guys.

    "About 40 or 50 years ago, men did better than women on IQ tests," James R. Flynn, an emeritus professor of political studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand and an IQ researcher, tells HealthySELF. "But when you take large, representative samples from modern nations today, women at least match men or are a point ahead of them."

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    Flynn, whose data will be published in his upcoming book, Are We Getting Smarter? (Cambridge University Press, September 2012), says he's been conducting his study for the past 10 years. The five nations for which he has good data from a standard IQ test called the Raven are New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Argentina and South Africa. In Australia, he says, women "merely match" men, but in the other nations, they are a

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