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11 Lazy Ways to Ease Aches, Speed Slimming, Lower Stress, and More

Good news: Coffee is involved!

Want to enjoy all that fall has to offer without a health challenge dragging you down? Check out these brilliantly easy shortcuts that will help you get healthy in a snap!

Tame tension quick.

Cornell scientists say as little as 10 minutes in the great outdoors is all it takes to lower the stress hormone cortisol. What’s more, they found that a daily dose of “nature therapy” has the power to prevent anxiety and blues, as well as sharpen focus and lower blood pressure.

Ease aches by chatting about books.

If nagging aches and pains threaten to thwart your fall fun, talking about books with friends or bookstore staff can help! According to British researchers, small gatherings where you read and discuss short stories, poetry or other literature may alleviate chronic discomfort better than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other commonly prescribed chronic pain treatments. Researchers say chatting about literature calls to mind emotional experiences, inspiring you to process and release past happenings that may be contributing to tension in your body that amplifies pain.

Count to five.

Slowing the number of breaths you take significantly reduces pain intensity by triggering a relaxation response, say Arizona State scientists. Simply breathe in and out to a count of five until the aches subside.

Quash GI upset by sitting up.

No need to suffer through a bother some heartburn flare after snacking on apple cider donuts. Simply sitting upright can stop GI upset in its tracks, according to research in the journal Digestion. Turns out, slouching compresses your abdomen, upping the odds that stomach acid will creep into the esophagus and trigger that burning sensation. But a quick posture tweak of sitting tall with your shoulders back for 30 minutes postmeal sidesteps the issue altogether.

Loosen your belt.

Pressure on your stomach from a snug waistband or belt can trigger (or worsen) a bout of heartburn, Scottish researchers s report. Luckily, the fix is as easy as loosening your belt or slipping on a comfy pair of sweatpants after eating. Instant relief — aah!

Sharpen focus by relaxing on your porch.

Sitting outside on a crisp fall day as you watch the fiery sun fade into the sky isn’t just peaceful, it can sharpen your brainpower too! New research in the Journal of Psychology and Aging found that older adults who spend more time sitting perform better on mental tasks than those who move around more. Researchers suspect folks who are “sitters” are more likely to read or do puzzles, activities that grow the area of the brain responsible for processing and storing information.

Catch a catnap.

Older adults who take up to 90-minute naps have better word recall, say researchers at Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center. Snoozing helps your brain lock in memories.

Beat the blues by fantasy shopping.

Good news! Research reveals you can get the benefits of retail therapy without ever spending a penny. University of Michigan scientists say simply thinking about what you like as you browse your favorite store’s website or flip through a catalog instantly lifts your spirits. Deciding what you’d like — even if you never buy — ups your sense of control over the world around you, which bolsters well-being.

Pour a cup of joe.

Harvard researchers found folks who drank four cups of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to be blue than those who drank a cup or less.

Speed slimming with a phone break.

The next time you sit down for lunch, enjoy the silly memes that pop up while scrolling through your social media feed. According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, folks who did so ate 150 fewer calories. Researchers explain that focusing on an engaging activity besides food while you eat suppresses appetite hormones, making cutting calories a breeze.

Settle in for a movie.

U.K. researchers say watching a film raised subjects’ heart rate as much as a 40-minute stroll.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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