Behavioral Health

Lifestyle change: “I know what to do, I just need to do it…but how?”

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Despite willpower, many people find that making significant lifestyle changes is very difficult. Factors both internal and external influence our ability to make changes, but being aware of them is the first step to overcoming them.

Coping with the loss of a pet

David R. Topor, PhD, MS-HPEd

Losing a pet can be as difficult as losing a human family member. It’s important to acknowledge this grief, and there are many ways to do so, for example, creating a memory book, journaling, building a memorial, or donating money or time to a pet welfare cause.

You can do yoga: A simple 15-minute morning routine

Marlynn Wei, MD, JD
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, Contributing Editor

The benefits of yoga for the body and mind are well documented. If you have been thinking about trying yoga, this simple routine includes breathing techniques, movement, and beginners meditation and will help you start your day.

What is addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Contributor

As understanding of addiction evolves, experts now believe that the roots of addiction can be found in a person’s efforts to escape discomfort and that this drive that can take a number of possible expressions, whether through a substance or an activity. The road to recovery can be long and include setbacks, but with time life can become much better.

Biking to work linked to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

A five-year study of more than a quarter of a million commuters in the United Kingdom found that those who commute to work by bicycle had lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, or of dying from any cause.

Resilience: A skill your child really needs to learn (and what you can do to help)

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

It’s crucial for children to learn resilience in order to navigate the world and deal with setbacks. Parents can help their children learn resilience by spending time with them regularly, encouraging their independence, and allowing them to take risks.

Racket sports serve up health benefits

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Racket sports like tennis are beneficial to health, in part because of the types of movement required, and also because of the social component of playing with others. One of the fastest-growing racket sports particularly among older adults is “pickleball,” which blends tennis, table tennis, and the backyard childhood game of Wiffle ball.

Exercise versus caffeine: Which is your best ally to fight fatigue?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

When you need a boost, it’s tempting to reach for a cup of coffee or a soda, but studies show that even a short burst of physical activity will also provide a dose of energy, plus all the other benefits of exercise.

Could artificial sweeteners be bad for your brain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

While diet soda and other types of artificially sweetened drinks may not have calories, research is suggesting that those who drink them regularly may be at higher risk for stroke or dementia.

Safe injection sites and reducing the stigma of addiction

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The scope of the opioid crisis in the US has led some individuals and communities to revise their view of addiction and substance use disorders. One idea being considered is creating supervised injection facilities that would provide a safe environment and make treatment resources available to those who want them.