If You Want to be Healthy, You Have to Do This

EXERCISE IMPROVES balance, flexibility, mobility, endurance, strength, stamina, oxygen intake, STRENGTHENS lungs, BOOSTS immune system, AIDS sleep, RAISES energy levels, INCREASES muscle mass, BURNS calories, REDUCES stress and risk of diabetes, inflammation, obesity, depression, osteoarthritis, broken bones, and dying prematurely.

There is one sure way to build, improve and maintain your physical and mental health. Exercise! Some people love it, but if you cringe at the thought, replace the big, bad X word with the word movement. 

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. Carol Welch

Frequent movement and regular activity raises metabolism, burns calories and keeps the physical engine humming. Walk, dance, garden, ride a bike, play sports, stretch, swim, throw a ball. Exercise will improve the shape you’re in no matter what shape youre in or when you start. And it is crucial for your brain as well as your body.

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Exercise virtually cleanses the brain. It flushes away the plaque buildup believed to cause Alzheimer’s Disease. It can stimulate neurogenesis, the birth of new cells, in certain areas of the brain. Exercise increases blood flow in the brain, heightens mental acuity, improves alertness, awareness, cognitive abilities of learning, memory, planning, scheduling, task coordination and attention, has positive biochemical effects and protects the brain from damage, disease and aging.

Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties.
Hugh Blair

Daily exercise can give a 30% boost to brain power. It is a proven anti-dote to depression. It activates the same systems in the brain as anti-depressant drugs and has similar effects without negative side effects.

Start by incorporating physical activities you enjoy into your life on a regular basis. At least one should be aerobic. As you start to feel more fit and energized, add muscle building to your routine. If you are just embarking upon an exercise program, be sure to choose something pleasurable so you’ll keep at it. Beginning classes in yoga, Pilates and tai chi are enjoyable and great for easing into shape. They improve posture and flexibility as well as strength.

To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.
Gene Tunney

EXERCISE TIPS

Get proper training or advice from your doctor if embarking on a new exercise program.

Warm up before, cool down after.

Drink water. Stay hydrated.

Visualize improvement. Visualizing exercises reinforces the associated neural patterns and can improve performance. Visualization can help build weak muscles, but you need to do it for at least 20 minutes a day to produce notable results. That’s meant to be an adjunct to physical exercise, not a replacement!

Practice balance. More than 1/3 of people over 65 and half of people over 75 have balance problems. Practice maintaining your balance while standing on one foot. Have a support close at hand to steady yourself.

Mix it up. Vary your program; challenge yourself with change. Aside from the basics of walking, stretching, aerobic and resistance training, add some different, enjoyable exercises like biking, swimming, gardening. All physical activity is good. The more vigorous, the better.

You Can Move Right Now! 

yoga-297527_640Shake arms and hands. Wiggle your fingers. Roll your wrists in circles, clockwise and counterclockwise. Hold onto back of chair and shake your feet and legs. Rotate ankles in both directions. Stretch foot forward and back. Hands on hips, knees gently bent, roll hips in a circle one way 8 times, then the other way.    

Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If nothing else, get up and go for a walk.

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. Plato

Partially excerpted from: Make The Best of the Rest of Your Life

Beware of the Powers of Passion and Addiction

The word addiction means craving and dependency. The word passion is generally interpreted to mean strong desire but originally, it meant to suffer. Put addiction and passion together and you have a dependency on that which makes you suffer.

The twin forces of addiction and passion often have roots in childhood. People who were sorely deprived of approval, nurturing, attention, security are inclined to develop a passionate desire for those things. The method used to obtain the object of desire can have an addictive effect. 

PASSION IS THE DESIRE, ADDICTION THE MEANS

Roger had rheumatic heart as a child. His over-protective mother kept him home after school, treated him as a weak invalid. Greatly frustrated and fighting against the image his mother held of him, he left home as soon as he could. He was passionate about proving his masculinity. Roger took jobs that involved hard, physical labor and risk-taking. He developed an addiction to dangerous adventures.

There are empty places in us that ignite passionate cravings. We become addicted to anything that promises to fill the empty places and ease our pain. We look outside for what’s lacking insideroad-sign-678973_640. We develop a passion for power, fame, money, material goods with attendant addictions. Common addictions include smoking, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, food, gambling, shopping, the internet, possessions, but there are countless others.

Passion and addiction are powerful forces. They release chemicals in the brain that excite and motivate us. The lustful passion felt at the outset of romantic relationships releases chemicals that have effects similar to cocaine and heroin, and are just as addictive. So-called love addicts love to be in love but never are. They want the lusty passionate feeling, not the person. Of course, the high doesn’t last – no high does – so another must be found to feed the addiction.

forsaken-1273885_640Those who have been deprived of love as children often believe they are unworthy of it. As much as they long for it, they cannot accept it. Some have sexual relationships but no intimate ones. Others drive partners away when they get too close. Some avoid personal relationships altogether. People who were physically abused as children may be addicted to abusive partners because they believe that’s the price they must pay for love.

The problem is not past experiences, but beliefs resulting from them. Our minds seek, find and produce what we believe not what we want. We attract relationships and experiences that reinforce unconscious beliefs – not conscious desires. That is why addictions exacerbate problems rather than solve them. In the case of Roger, the adventure seeker, his risk-taking eventually resulted in injuries that incapacitated him. He was a weak invalid once more.

UNCONSCIOUS BELIEFS OVERPOWER CONSCIOUS DESIRES

1. Fill in the blank: I am a _______________aholic.
EXAMPLES
: Workaholic, alcoholic, foodaholic, 
controlaholic, healthaholic. (Anything can become an addiction – family, belief systems, games, hobbies, clothes, books).

2. What need does your addiction satisfy?
EXAMPLES:
Work makes me feel important, worthwhile, needed. Alcohol/drugs make me feel happy, carefree. Food comforts me. Control makes me feel strong, safe. Health makes me feel ageless.

Your answers are your passions…what you really crave.

Addictions are deceptive, debilitating ways to meet honest desires and needs. If our means of acquiring what we believe we lack is not self-enriching, it will eventually be self-defeating and diminishing. If we are dependent upon something outside ourselves to be happy or feel good, we forfeit our power and potential for true growth.

Lucy was an alcoholic. Without the inhibition freeing effects of alcohol, Lucy was shy, introverted and, in her words, ‘gutless.’ With a falcohol-1198642_640ew drinks under her belt, she was outgoing and fun, an adventurer. So she thought. When her friends staged an intervention, she discovered that they didn’t see her that way. What they saw was a sloppy, silly drunk whose behavior was careless and at times dangerous.

Lucy was using alcohol to compensate for shyness rather than face the causes and learn healthy ways to overcome them. With the help of rehab and counseling, Lucy learned that her shyness was actually a mask over an inferiority complex. She didn’t like the ugly facts about herself, but she did have to accept them in order to overcome them.

If a person is to get the meaning of life he must learn to like the facts about himself – ugly as they may seem to his sentimental vanity – before he can learn the truth behind the facts.
Eugene O’Neill

WE CAN’T HEAL WHAT WE DON’T ACCEPT

Self-discovery is an exciting journey but not an easy one. We are not going to like everything we learn about ourselves. There are ugly emotions within human beings. If we’re honest, we will find them within ourselves. We all have a strong streak of selfishness. We manipulate to get what we want. We can be controlling, judgmental, self- righteous and insensitive. 

chains-23041_640We try to keep our dark side locked away. Looking at the hidden self is like opening a closet we think holds dark and scary forces. But when the door opens, all that happens is dust escapes and junk falls out.

What do you crave and why? What is the feeling you want or the pain you are trying to kill?

From Healing Feelings

Why People Crave Status and How They Gain It

Do you want lots of money? Fame? Success? Power? What you’re really after is status. Status, as defined by the dictionary, is “the position of an individual in relation to another or others, especially in regard to social or professional standing.”

Like it or not, status is an inherent aspect of social groups – animal and human. The more status one has the higher artwork-797_640his/her position on the social ladder. The higher one stands on the ladder, the more benefits. In hunter-gatherer times and within animal kingdoms, the higher a male’s place within the group, the more goods and food he was/is entitled to, and the more desirable as a partner.

We are genetically programmed to be attracted to strong, successful mates becausearon-920236_640 they offer the best chance of producing healthy offspring that will carry our genes into the next generation. Today power is associated more with financial
muscle than physical.
A 7-year-old was asked, “When is it okay to kiss a boy?” She promptly replied, “When he’s rich.”

There are numerous ways to earn status. In some cases, it is  ascribed, automatically acquired through birth or inheritance as in the case of royal offspring. The closer to the throne, the higher the status. The Indian caste system is also based on ascribed status.

PHYSICAL STATUS

Attractiveness, gender, height, skin color, ethnicity, age, vintage-1047921_640posture, and dress are status factors. Fashion, hairstyle, and accessories send signals about one’s nature, personality, taste, and socio-economic standing. In the past, some cultures had laws defining the fashions appropriate to each social class. Lacking the ability to gain status, some people choose outrageous hairstyles and fashion in order to stand out and be noticed.

OTHER STATUS SIGNS

graduation-1345123_640Behavior,  social skills, manners, intelligence, grammar can be signals of wealth or breeding – or lack thereof. Status is commonly acquired through achievement – profession, education, life experience, social and economic success.

Consciously and unconsciously, we are attuned to stmoney-1015277_640 (1)atus signs. What we’re looking for in people is an indication of their socio-economic class. Depending upon a person’s place in the social hierarchy, we respond with varying degrees of attention, agreement, deference.

Our reaction to a person’s status is founded on self-interest. Is this person worth knowing? Can he or she enhance my life, self-image? We are genetically inclined to create advantageous alliances, to associate with people who will benefit us in some way. Today it’s called networking. If we can’t be at the top of the ladder ourselves, we want to be around those who are. Being with people of status makes us look good. Flip side: we avoid people beneath us…  unless by helping them we enhance our reputation.

So, you may think you are working for money, power and fame, but what you really want is status. Status is power. Status is recognition. Status says, “I am somebody.” We want to leave our mark on the world, put our name on books or buildings or babies. We want proof that we are or were here. And the irony is this: we crave all this because deep down, we’re not sure we exist at all. 

We have all been hypnotized to believe we are what we do and the face we present the world. We know ourselves only as the costume we’re wearing but behind it, there is a deep-seated anxiety that none of it is real. We sense the façade will crack and fall apart the minute we stop reinforcing it, so we put all our efforts into shoring it up, dressing it up, making it stronger, more special. And still the sense persists: this is not who I truly am.”  From Healing Feelings 

question-mark-1020165_640Who am I? Really? The answer will not come in earning status, acquiring identity and value from the external world. The fulfillment sought will not be had by separating ourselves from our fellow man. True power comes from unity and co-operation. To know who we really are, we must look inside, not outside.