The little things in life make the biggest impact

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By LISA SMITH MOLINARI\meatandpotatoes.com

As we board life’s runaway train for another year of twists and turns and ups and downs, we can’t help but wonder, “How can we ensure our happiness, when we have no control over the economy, deployments, interest rates, orders, our health and the future?”

Fact is, we can’t control the “big-ticket” items in our lives, but what about the small stuff? Throughout the course of a normal day, we make hundreds of seemingly insignificant choices that can affect our overall happiness. Like the tiny Lilliputians in “Gulliver’s Travels,” we can wrestle giants by pulling a few small strings in our daily routines.

1. Wear comfortable underwear. Ever had one of those days when your undies were in a bunch, literally? You dig your skivvies out of your crevasse, but they creep back in. The constant wedgie adds a subtle undertone of discomfort to your day, making you grumpy and more likely to snap at your boss, your kids and your spouse. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the near-commando feel of a thong, or the maximum coverage of cotton briefs—wear comfy undies if you want this to be a good year.

2. Install a new shower head. Does your shower emit a wimpy trickle, making it difficult to lather, rinse and repeat? Do you spend the rest of the day feeling greasy and lacking self-confidence? Dash to your nearest hardware store, and find a shower head with a water output similar to that of a regulation fire hose. The therapeutic massaging action of the pelting water will blast away stress, tension, toxins, troubles, soap, conditioner . . . and sometimes the first layer of skin. Regardless, you will emerge cleansed, refreshed and ready to face the year with confidence.

3. Attain digestive regularity. Have you ever had one of those days when your pipes are clogged? Do your intestines occasionally go on strike? Does your digestive tract stubbornly maintain a holding pattern, with no landing scheduled on the flight plan? Let’s face it—if the “magic” doesn’t happen, it can ruin your day. You feel full, heavy, lethargic, bloated and irritable. Eat leafy greens, guzzle copious amounts of coffee, get new reading material for the bathroom—do whatever it takes to convince your nether regions to declare a truce. Succeed in attaining digestive regularity, and you will face the challenges of this year with a cheerful spring in your step.

4. Go to bed! According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven-nine hours of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep negatively affects physical and mental health, attention span, memory, learning and even body mass index. Put down that clicker and toddle off to bed an hour earlier, and 2017 may be the year of your dreams.

5. Good morning sunshine! Not only will 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight three times a week boost your body’s supply of vitamin D, but sunshine (even in artificial forms for those of you stationed in Alaska) can have a positive affect on people prone to depression and anxiety.

6. Mange, mange! Overindulgence during the holidays may have you wanting to eat less, but “grazing” throughout the day really can make you happier. Eating six healthy meals/snacks spaced evenly throughout the day will keep your blood sugar, energy level, weight and mood on an even keel.

7. The Dog Days aren’t over. For the last 25 years, research has shown that living with pets lowers blood pressure and anxiety. And some new studies actually indicate that children who grow up in households with pets are less likely to have asthma and allergies. Who knew?

You may not be able to change your spouse’s deployment schedule, run marathons or win the lottery in 2017, but sometimes it’s the little things in life that make the biggest impact.