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10 Feel-Good Things to Do in October

Martha Stewart Living, October 2010

No 1: See the appeal of peels

It's the season when apples are stacked high in produce bins and seducing crowds at farmers' markets. Enjoy the fall fruit in abundance, but put away the paring knife before biting into your next braeburn, Gala, or Golden Delicious. Apple skin is an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which not only makes you feel fuller faster but also has been linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

No. 2: Find science in superstition

Wearing your lucky bracelet to a job interview might actually improve your performance, a study in the journal Psychological Science reports. In the study, volunteers who brought good-luck tokens with them set higher goals and did better at a computerized memory game than those who did not. Researchers hypothesize that the charms increase confidence, making a person more likely to succeed.

No. 3: Snooze consistently

To be alert, most people need seven and a half to eight and a half hours of sleep, says James Maas, a psychologist at Cornell University specializing in sleep. He advises counting eight hours back from the time you have to get up and going to bed at that hour every night, even on weekends. "It takes about three weeks to establish a regular circadian rhythm, but you'll feel more energized within a week."

No. 4: Mimic a Tyrannosaurus Rex

The next time you're lifting a potted plant, a toddler, or any other heavy object, hold your upper arms snug to your torso. "I tell all my clients to use 'T. Rex arms,'" says Karen Litzy, a physical therapist in New York City. "You have more leverage when your arms are 'shorter,' so things feel lighter. And your shoulders stay down and back, so your back isn't strained."

No 5: Buy another bag of Kona

Another coup for caffeine -- and one more reason to love your French press. Drinking coffee may reduce your risk of diabetes by preventing the development of high blood-sugar levels and increasing sensitivity to insulin, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

No. 6: Say "Chevre"

Fresh goat cheeses, especially those made from the milk of grass-fed animals, contain high levels of conjugated linoleic acid, which helps you feel full and may help reduce body fat. Toss the cheese with whole-wheat pasta and kale, or add it to a black-bean-and-squash burrito.

No. 7: Simply Ask

When people ask themselves, "Will I?" rather than saying, "I will," before doing a task, they perform that task better, according to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers say pausing to ask yourself if you'll do something triggers self-motivation.

No. 8: Upgrade your moisturizer

In the cooler months ahead, skin will lose moisture more easily. prepare for the drop in temperature and humidity by switching to a thicker facial moisturizer. If you use lotion in the summer, transition to cream, says Francesca Fusco, a professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. if you use a lightweight cream in summer, swap it for something richer and denser.

No. 9: Snag a snack from a jack-o'-lantern

Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc and fatty acids that benefit the heart, says Esther Blum, a nutritionist in New York City and the author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous. So don't toss them out after carving the jack-o'-lantern. Lightly toast the seeds in the oven (at 250 degrees for 20 minutes), and then sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy while waiting for trick-or-treaters.

No. 10: Turn off phone, let mind roam

Instead of checking your smart phone nonstop, put it away for 30 minutes a day, says Elisha Goldstein, a psychologist in Los Angeles and coauthor of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Then be in the moment. "Imagine you're Jacques Cousteau exploring a reef," he says. "You might realize there are things you've been missing, like tasting your food or having a meaningful conversation."

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