One of our favorite magazines is a weekly called "The Week," which gives a summary of the important events and happenings during the previous week. Our daughter and son-in-law give us a subscription each year.

In the last edition for 2009, "The Week" listed some of the things that health professionals said are good for us. I thought my readers would enjoy hearing them.

1. Googling: An hour a day spent searching the Internet can improve your brainpower. There's a lot of stuff out there and some of it can challenge and stimulate you.

2. Doodling: Research has shown that people who doodle with a pencil during a lecture retain 30% more of the lecture than people who just sit there.

3. Feeling Down: Supposedly, being sad sharpens your attention and makes you less gullible.

4. Looking Up: Women classified as optimists were 14% more likely to survive longer than their negative-thinking counterparts.

5. Swearing: Increases your tolerance for pain. By using foul language, you raise your aggression level, which is known to numb people to physical discomfort.

6. Grunting: Brings more muscle fibers into play, generating additional force. (Think Serena Williams)

7. Recessions: Helps us all live a little longer because we have a tendency to eat and drink less, sleep more, and suffer fewer accidents.

8. Having a Sister: Increases your odds of being happy and well adjusted. Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families.

And, just so we balance the scales, here are the 8 things the health professionals tell us to avoid:

1. Positive Thinking: Can make depressed people feel worse.

2. Canned Soup: Contains Bisphenol A, a chemical additive known to cause reproductive and hormone problems and to raise the risk of diabetes.

3. Not Venting Your Spleen: If you keep your feelings pent up, you are far more likely to suffer a heart attack.

4. Beach Sand: Fecal bacteria from sewage and run-off are more prevalent in sand near the waterline. Best to use a hand sanitizer after playing in the sand.

5. Divorce: People who are divorced, separated, or widowed tend to ignore their health, exercise less, sleep poorly, and avoid the doctor.

6. Fruit Juice: This is just as fattening as sugary soda. High doses of fructose raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

7. Multitasking: It's a waste of time. You have weaker memories, are more distractible, and are slower to switch activities.

8. Being Elected President: Will age you quickly – roughly twice as fast as a non-President. Your decisions have global weight; you're always on call, and under constant guard.

Whether or not you agree with these two lists, it certainly gives us something to think about during the New Year 2010.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH798@SC.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.