In "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," the heroine declares one bowl of porridge tastes too hot, another too cold and the third, well, that's just right. The idea that avoiding extremes provides the best results is called the Goldilocks Principle and researchers from New Zealand's Otago University are advocating it so you can flourish emotionally.
Looking at the habits and mental health of young adults, they discovered that too much or too little of a good thing damages well-being. In their study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, they found that sleeping eight hours nightly produced the highest level of well-being. Sleeping less than eight or more than 12 hours a night was indicative of depression.
Physical activity and diet also follow the Goldilocks Principle. Study participants who ate 4.8 servings a day of raw fruit and veggies had the best quality of life. Those who ate fewer than two servings or more than eight servings had the lowest measure of well-being and mental health. And physical activity -- at least 30 minutes daily and not more than two continuous hours some days -- defeats inflammation caused by being sedentary and doesn't cause chronic inflammation from overdoing it!
Getting the right serving size of any one of these lifestyle traits helps offset deficiency or excess in the others. But the study found that integrating all three into daily life can increase your well-being by more than 35% and decrease your risk for symptoms of depression by 38%. And that, as Goldilocks said, is just right!
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
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