Archive for: Healthy Directions

Perfect Storm, Perfect Boat

Summer had arrived, and with it came many opportunities to dust off the snowy old branches of an upstate New York winter–just in time to make way for the new life and lush green of summer playdays.

JVCL on sailboat

It had been a tough winter for Bob and Cheryl. Nearly 25 years of marriage had strained the rigging, so to speak. They both wanted to weather the storm, but weren’t sure if they actually had the staying power.

For a number of years they had talked about learning to sail, but it was just one of those things that never happened. And now, with their marriage in trouble it began to sound like Don Quixote’s dream.

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How do I get from ‘Here’ to ‘Happy’?

Are you happy? Do you know anyone who you would describe as happy?

Most humans, consciously or unconsciously, want to know the how of getting from Here to Happy.

Happy woman

Image Credit: andresr / 123rf Stock Photo

Researchers tell us that people who rate themselves in the upper registers of ‘happy’ are more likely to stay well and feel better connected in their relationships. So what does it take?

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Beyond Half Full. . .

I have a client who knocked my socks off last week with a story.

She was at this conference and the keynote speaker hefted a half glass of water at arms’ length for all to see. Everyone expected to hear the old question about our viewpoint on life—is the glass half full, or is it half empty? But the presenter didn’t go there. . .

Instead she asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’

Image credit: captainzz / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: captainzz / 123RF Stock Photo

As attendees shouted out answers, she held up her hand to stop them. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ she continued. ‘What matters is how long you hold it.’

If you hold the glass for 5 minutes, the weight doesn’t matter at all.

If you hold the glass for 5 hours, you will feel numb and become stiff and achy.

If you hold it for 5 days, you will likely pass out and crash on the floor.

This water illustration captures perfectly the way we interact with our environment when under stress. Our systems were designed to absorb some stress without ill effects. However, in our ‘push-it-to-the-max’ society, we need to be aware that we are often stressed beyond our body’s capabilities. AND if we don’t sit up and take notice, it may kill us.  Literally.

So what’s a body to do?

Rewind to a graduate course I took in my master’s program. Our instructor told us that if we didn’t remember anything else—we should remember this. (It worked, see?)

‘After a stressful day,’ she exhorted, ‘you will be carrying around a cocktail of toxic chemicals dumped into your body by the stresses you’ve just experienced. The best thing you can do,’ she said, ‘is to go for a brisk run for just 5—that’s FIVE—minutes. That’s all. The burst of energy you get by running gives those chemicals somewhere to go and neutralizes their debilitating residue.’

Furthermore, she upped the ante even more by telling us that these potentially lethal stress hormones—unneutralized by the short burst of invigorating exercise—just hang in there and do their dastardly work against our major organs. The same major organs, mind you, that will ‘knock on the door’ one day to hand us one of the 10 deadly diseases that take us out the back door in a pine box.

Lesson learned–I still remember what she said. She got me. And I’m glad.