A high quality of life is all about the choices you make, and it doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. According to several recent studies, a few simple habits can markedly affect your health and longevity.

Get up early.

According to a study of more than 32,000 women published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, early risers are less likely to suffer from depression. Greater exposure to daylight has something to do with it. "Try to get enough sleep, exercise, spend time outdoors, dim the lights at night, and try to get as much light by day as possible," lead researcher Celine Vetter told The Independent.

Have faith.

Researchers at Ohio State University have found a link between having religious faith and living longer. They analyzed more than 1,500 published obituaries and found that people with a religious affiliation lived on average about four years longer than people without one. The study authors speculate that people who believe in a higher power may have fewer bad habits, such as drinking or drug use. Plus, they may practice prayer and meditation, both of which reduce stress.

Stop eating at work.

At least don't get your lunch or snacks from your employer. According to a study of 5,222 employees across the U.S., almost a quarter of them consume food provided by work vending machines, cafeterias or common areas such as meetings or events. The problem: most of it is high in fat and sugar and accounts for an extra 1,300 calories a week. It's bad news considering researchers have also found that foods which are both fatty and sweet disrupt the part of the brain which regulates how much a person eats. Why not pack a healthy snack such as an apple instead of accepting free bagels or pizza the next time you have to endure a PowerPoint presentation?

Try to take a nap.

Even if you don't completely fall asleep your brain will shift into theta waves, which can help you think more divergently. "That's why a lot of times when you wake up from a power nap or from sleeping, you'll be able to solve that intractable problem that you couldn't earlier in the day," sleep scientist Daniel Gartenberg recently told Quartz.

Published on: Jun 19, 2018
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