Do it Better: Flip a Bad Day


IstockphotoFrom Health magazine

When nothings going right, halt the negative vibes with these tips from Alice D. Domar, PhD, executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Ask yourself: How much does this really matter? If somethings bumming you out, think about what itll mean tomorrow, or a month from now. “You may see that whats happening doesnt have as big an impact on your life as you think,” Domar says.

Imagine bliss. Close your eyes and picture a cherished spot (a tropical beach, or even your own backyard). “Your brain is easily fooled, so when you conjure this place, youre conditioned to feel happier instantly,” Domar says.

Phone a friend. Connect with a far-flung pal. But call, dont e-mail. Hearing her voice and sharing a laugh will brighten your outlook.

“For a daily mood boost, use a photo of your favorite place (or face!) as your screen saver on your computer or phone.”

Do it Faster!

De-stress After a Long Day
“One of my favorite breathing exercises is from Andrew Weil, MD. Sit with your back straight and place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth. Inhale, holding your breath for seven counts, then exhale through your mouth, creating a ‘whoosh noise for eight counts. Repeat three times and youll feel naturally more tranquil.”

—Bill Benda, MD, member of the board of directors of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a contributor

Next Page: Do it Smarter! [ pagebreak ]

Do it Smarter!

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Scared of blowing your diet? Your fear can actually trigger cravings and overeating, according to Michelle May, MD, author of the new book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle. Instead of depriving yourself, May says, plan to eat a few pieces of your favorite treat, savor every sweet bite, and banish any thought that its bad. Then toss out the leftovers, and move on.

—Shaun Chavis

Do it Better!

Stay Organized
Contain yourself in this great take-everywhere canvas Avon Crusade Tote Bag Designed by Marimekko ($10; Very big bonus: $6.24 goes to breast cancer research.

Do it Cheaper!

Book a Hotel Room
We asked leading hotel concierges the inside secrets to getting the best deals this holiday season. Bon voyage!

Secret #1: Be persistent. “A lot of people take the first thing we say,” says Margaret Connick, reservations manager for The Lowell Hotel New York. “But we usually start with the highest rates and go lower, and we dont always mention every special.” So keep asking if they can do better, or at least throw in perks like a spa discount.

Secret #2: Check the rate after you book. Be on the lookout for cut rates and specials on the hotels Web site and discount sites like Travelocity. “The hotel will often try to honor a lower rate even after youve booked,” says Todd Nelson, chief concierge at The Peninsula Chicago.

Secret #3: Ask for an upgrade. And do it when you check in. “If the hotels not sold out, well try to upgrade you for the same price of the room you reserved,” says Guilherme DeMelo, chief concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Miami. —Brittani Tingle

Next Page: Do it Easier! [ pagebreak ]

Do it Easier!

Organize Your Photos
Overwhelmed by the gazillion digital photos youve taken? Sort them once and for all with these simple strategies from Laura Leist, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and founder of the Seattle-based Eliminate Chaos.

Streamline your files.
Instead of just grouping photos by date, pick a system that makes sense to you, such as organizing by event or by people, Leist says. Then create subfolders you can drop pictures into. So, if you sort by event, you might have a folder called “Holidays,” then subfolders for each holiday. Within the Thanksgiving one, say, you then sort the snaps by year.

Presort albums.
If youre using a site like Snapfish or Shutterfly to print your photos, put your picks in a separate folder on your desktop first, then upload the whole thing with one click. Youll save time by not having to drag individual photos onto the site to upload them, plus, you can e-mail albums to friends and family in a snap.

Create a photo book online.
Photo Web sites make it easy for you to create albums (and collages, calendars, etc.), so you can avoid boxes of prints gathering dust. We like, which lets you choose your own cover and page designs, as well as type in captions for each photo. Result: a customized bound photo book (prices start at $6.99). No more stuffing pictures in plastic sleeves!

—Stephanie Wu

Photo albums for less. Save 25 percent on any photo book you create on Just type in HEALTH25 when you check out; offer good from September 29, 2009 to October 26, 2009.

Instant Joy Trick!

Pop in a Comedy.
Skip reality TV and watch a funny DVD. Laughing helps release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals, says Judith Orloff, MD, author of Emotional Freedom. Just out: The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, season 5.