Beginning of a New Year and birthdays are the most commonly preferred auspicious occasions for making lifestyle changes and resolutions. Though we tend to make one change at a time, a new study suggests that multiple lifestyle changes can be a better option.
The study conducted by researchers at the University of California demonstrated a six-week program to show that simultaneous, significant improvement across a broad range of mental and physical functions is possible.
‘Make multiple, simultaneous life changes to get out of the rut and move on with your life.’
They recruited 31 students, of which 15 participated in a six-week intervention while the rest were the controls. They did 2.5 hours of physical exercise one hour of mindfulness practice and 1.5 hours of discussion on topics such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, compassion, relationships or well-being.
All were instructed to limit alcohol intake to one drink per day, have eight hours of sleep daily and to eat a balanced diet.
During the intervention period, participants were subjected to several tests such as physical fitness, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, working memory capacity and also an MRI scan.
Participants showed a significant improvement in their strength, endurance, flexibility, focus, mood, self-esteem, mindfulness and life satisfaction after six weeks. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Lead author of the study Michael Mrazek said, "Recent research suggests its often more effective to make two or more changes simultaneously, especially when those changes reinforce one another. It's easier to drink less coffee if at the same time you get more sleep. Our intervention extended this logic by helping people make progress in many ways, which can create an upward spiral where one success supports the next."