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From what I read about the new Covid Omicron booster shots, you can get the new booster if at least two months have passed since your last Covid shot, or three months since you have had Covid, though in both cases you might get a better immune response if you wait 4 months.
In Australia, we don't yet have the distribution schedule for the Omicron shots.
We know that eating good food helps our entire body. But some foods have strong complementary benefits for our brain and cardiovascular health - see item #2.
Had a jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding kind of week? Then you're probably also having headaches as well - those morning tension headaches that get your day off to a bad start. There's a way to beat them - see item #1.
Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:
⭑ Beat morning headaches by learning how to relax your jaw at night ✔
⭑ Regular moderate exercise significantly reduces Covid-19 severity ✔
⭑ Looking for happiness? You might be looking in the wrong place
⭑ Jaw tension - these 6 exercises will reduce it, and you'll wake up better
01 How To Relieve A Tense Jaw [Cleveland Clinic]
Morning headaches are a complex problem to solve. They could be hereditary or may suggest poor blood sugar control, perhaps irregular sleep habits, or they could be an outcome of stress and tension.
The latter, stress and tension, often lead to us clenching our jaw as we sleep.
⇒ When we clench our jaw at night, we inadvertently put pressure on the blood vessels in our head, which can lead to tension headaches in the morning.
What it means for us: The best way to prevent morning headaches caused by jaw clenching is to do jaw relaxation exercises before bed. These exercises help to reduce the amount of tension in the jaw and thus reduce the risk of morning headaches.
Here is a simple but effective bedtime relaxation exercise:
- Start by placing your thumb on your jaw right in front of your ear.
- Gently push your jaw forward while keeping your thumb in place.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds before releasing.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- You can also massage your jaw muscles by using your fingertips. Gently rub your jaw in a circular motion.
Doing these exercises regularly will help to reduce the chance of a tension headache in the morning. If you would like more specific trigger-point massage techniques click on the article link above, from the Cleveland Clinic.
By adding in regular jaw relaxation exercises as you work all day you can also reduce morning headaches. Try these:
- Gently massaging the jaw muscles.
- Opening and closing the mouth slowly and evenly.
- Stretching the jaw by moving it from side to side.
- Yawning and holding the mouth open for a few seconds.
These exercises should be done for a few minutes at a time and can be done several times throughout the day. Set your timer for 25 minutes, stand up, and do these while standing outside in the sun :)
Related: How Bananas Benefit Your Bones — And Brain
02 Foods Linked to Better Brainpower
As we age, we can help keep our minds sharp by eating certain foods. It's "common sense" that a healthy diet is one that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Nutritionists recommend that protein should come from plant sources and fish, and healthy fats like olive oil or canola are better than saturated fats.
Research shows that the best brain foods are the same ones that protect our heart and blood vessels. There are many reasons why this is the case.
For one, these foods tend to be high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support cognitive health. Additionally, these same nutrients also help to keep our cardiovascular system functioning optimally.
⇒ Therefore, by eating brain-healthy foods, we are not only supporting our cognitive health but also our heart health.
What this means for us: The good news is that food recommended by Harvard Health to include in our everyday diet to help maintain our brain health are all readily available and enjoyable - depending on how much you like kale:
- Green, leafy vegetables. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene. Research suggests these may help slow cognitive decline.
- Fatty fish. Fatty fish are plentiful sources of omega-3s, healthy unsaturated fats linked to lower blood levels in beta-amyloid — the protein that forms damaging clots in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Eat fish at least twice a month, but avoid species high in mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and marlin. If you're not a fan of fish, choose plant omega-3 sources such as flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts.
- Berries. Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues, also help improve memory, research shows. A study done by Harvard's Brigham and Womens' hospital found that women who ate two or more servings of berries per week delayed memory loss by up to 2 years.
- Tea and coffee. The caffeine in your morning cup of coffee or tea might offer more than just a short-term concentration boost. A 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition found that people who consume large amounts of coffee may perform better on cognitive tasks. Caffeine may also help improve memory, according to other studies. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University asked people to study a series of pictures and then take either a placebo or a caffeine tablet. Members of the caffeine group were better able to remember the images the next day.
- Walnuts. Nuts are great sources of protein and healthy fat, and one type of nuts, in particular, may help our brain function better. A 2015 study from U of California found that eating walnuts could improve cognitive performance. Walnuts are high on a type of omega-three fatty acid called Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), which can reduce blood pressure and clean arteries. Diets rich in ALAs and other omega-3s have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. That's good for both the heart and brain.
I have most of these regularly, for example, a small handful of walnuts each day - enough to make a small mound in the cup of one hand. Truthfully, I have never particularly liked walnuts, but I like the idea that they are health gems.
Related: Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better
@Medium - Follow my publication there↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 Against the Pursuit of Happiness
From Vice.com, which explains why making happiness a goal is the most certain path to unhappiness - the so-called happiness paradox.
I find this topic interesting. If it interests you then you'll enjoy the article.
People going to a large party were each asked how much fun they expected to have. It transpired that the people who expected to have the most fun came away most disappointed with their night.
Been searching for that someone who'll "just make me happy"? It's a disappointing search. A fixation on satisfying your own emotional goals at every date or party is a sure way to not be present and to have no chance of enjoying the experience.
Here's the paradox. As you judge your degree of happiness or potential future happiness at every moment at a date or party you are projecting this as a neurosis. Others will reflect your unhappiness back to you and you'll come away disappointed.
What this means for us: Happiness is within our reach. But not when we pursue it as a goal. The pursuit of happiness moves us further and further away from the source of our own happiness, which is within each of us.
Achieving happiness, in the sense of contentment, starts with recognising our own beliefs and expectations and being realistic. If you believe that you deserve to be happy, then guess what, you are never likely to achieve happiness. That is an unrealistic belief.
The key to happiness is to balance our desires with our ability to satisfy them.
And here is the most important clue - desiring happiness does not bring happiness. Rather, desire to do things and be present in circumstances where you can naturally fulfil your own expectations of yourself.
“Happiness is something that generally tends to creep up on us when we’re not thinking about it,” said George Loewenstein, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.
⇒ Having a simple meal with a friend can bring unexpected happiness but that is not your goal in having the meal together.
Related: People With Problems Want To Give Them To You. Here’s How To Not Accept Them
04 6 Easy Jaw Exercises for Tension Relief
Our exercises of the week are ... jaw exercises, in keeping with the theme of potentially reducing morning headaches by releasing the tension in our jaw.
These exercises can either be to strengthen the jaw, relax the jaw, or stretch the jaw.
⇒ Perform these "as needed" e.g the relaxed jaw exercise before bed, the chin tucks while you are working at your computer.
What this means for us: There are 2 stretch exercises, 2 relax exercises and 2 strength-building exercises.
- Chin tucks - (Stretch) Keeping your shoulders back, chest out, and chin down, tuck your chin in toward your collarbone. You'll effectively create a "double chin" here. Hold this tucked posture for three seconds then release and return to the starting position. Do ten reps.
- Relaxed jaw - (Relax) Relax your jaw muscles by placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth, behind the upper front teeth. Allow the teeth to separate (the mouth to open). Do not force this action; let it happen naturally. Breath through your nose and release through your mouth for 10 breaths.
- Goldfish exercise - (Strengthen) Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and one finger in front of your ear where your temporomandibular joint is located. Next, place your pointer finger of the other hand on your chin. Using your finger, drop your jaw halfway and then close. There should be some mild resistance, but no pain. Repeat these 6 times in 1 round and complete 6 rounds a day.
- Resisted mouth movement - (Strengthen) Opening resistance - Place your thumb under the chin. Open your mouth slowly. Push gently against your chin for resistance, and hold for 8 to 10 seconds. Closing resistance - Use your thumb and index finger of both hands together to pinch your chin. Open your lips by dropping your jaw down and then gently pull your lower lip outward. Again, using your fingertips, hold gentle resistance on your chin as you try to close your mouth. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds.
- Breathe / stress release - (Relax) This is a general relaxation exercise to help you avoid grinding or clenching your jaw (which causes muscle tension and pain). While seated or lying down, take slow deep breaths through your nose. Inhale deeply into your belly, allowing your stomach to expand (rise) rather than your chest. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Keep your breath smooth and relaxed. Repeat 5-10 breaths.
- Tongue to roof - (Stretch) Place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Slowly open your mouth as wide as comfortably can (there should be little to no pain) and hold this open position for 5-10 seconds. Close your mouth slowly back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Doing these - all or any combination - will release tension in your neck and head, potentially reducing jaw clenching and teeth grinding during the night, resulting in fewer morning headaches.
In case you missed it...
Related: How To Exercise And Eat In Your 40s To Live Longer Better - Ten Tips
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