Ridiculously small steps

Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)

Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)

Remember in the movie, “What About Bob?” how Bob’s Psychiatrist recommended “baby steps”?

Writing in his regular health column on Chron.com (Houston Chronicle), Keith Wommack took a look recently at how “ridiculously small steps” can be utilized to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

He writes:

  • “Motivation and willpower fail us…”
  •  “Frustration and discouragement set in.”
  • “Spirituality is the power that directs thought patterns that are mentally and physically beneficial.”

Recommended reading: Ridiculously small steps lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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Unplug to connect?

Picture I took in Venice, Italy

Picture I took in Venice, Italy

Sounds almost a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But read on.

As one who has been to Venice and also one who enjoys Rick Steves’ travel programs, the lead paragraph in a recent Vancouver Sun article by Health Writer Anna Bowness-Park drew a vivid word picture for me:

“On a recent Rick Steves travel program, Steves made the comment that taking a gondola ride in Venice has changed. No longer are couples likely to be romantically basking in each others arms as the gondolier navigates them through the narrow canals. Instead, they are on their cellphones taking photos, texting and communicating the moment to others half a world away. Shortly after hearing that I travelled to Venice on vacation and saw firsthand how accurate Steves was.”

She discusses the “spiritual ability within each of us” to connect with the Divine and to one another, and the benefit to health of using it.

See how she applies the idea of a Sabbath to the use of technology. An interesting read:
Owning our Health: Tech Sabbath shows benefits of unplugging. 

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Instead of losing your temper, lose your temper

Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)

Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)

That’s right. Or, as Health Writer Bob Clark in Florida puts it, in a recent Tampa Bay Times article, “Don’t manage anger — get rid of it”.

Clark points out: “studies show that somewhere between 75 and 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians result from stress-related disorders.” And doesn’t it make sense that less anger means less stress? And that then means better health?

So, if you have a temper, lose it – drop it – for good. Clark shares five great tips to help with this, including using humor and love.

See all five helpful tips in: Don’t manage anger — get rid of it.

___________________
(See more on Clark’s blog.)
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Needed indeed: New and alternative ways to relieve pain

Americans constitute only 4.6% of the world’s population, yet consume 80% of all opioids (painkillers).¹

This statistic, which appeared in the media again this week, again caught my attention. It brought to mind this observation from Escape Fire (which aired on CNN): “… the answers are not in a sack of pills.”

Bill Scott (Photo courtesy of Bill Scott)

Bill Scott (Photo courtesy of Bill Scott)

Bill Scott in Washington State, writing on the mental and spiritual aspects of health in BlogCritics.org, shared that pain expert Dr. Alex Cahana believes Americans “suffer more, not less” because of all the painkillers. Scott also spoke with Escape Fire director Matt Heineman, who said this about non-drug alternatives:

“There are spiritual aspects that aren’t recognized in traditional medicine. Look at Dr. Ornish and his work with Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Blackburn. There is a growing body of evidence that the more amorphous treatments need to be recognized.”

Scott shares an example of a new approach in which a woman “felt ‘an overarching, spiritual sense of love’ which brought lasting relief” from chronic pain.

Recommended reading: Needed: New and Alternative Ways to Relieve Pain

________________________

See more of Bill Scott’s articles on his blog.
References
¹ Source: Pain Physicians 2010.
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Women’s History Month: One woman often overlooked

Women's History Month (©Glowimages/Stock photo)

Women’s History Month (©Glowimages/Stock photo)

She “was no ordinary woman. Behind her Victorian-era velvet and lace dress was a 21st century power suit.”

March is Women’s History Month. And so, appropriately, Ingrid Peschke, a regular health blogger on the Huffington Post, “highlights an often overlooked 19th century woman for her significant contributions to religion and health.” Peschke continues, “Her strength of character, courage and commitment are evident in the body of work she accomplished.”

  • What is this woman’s name and what is her remarkable story?
  • How did she test her conclusions?
  • Why did a doctor ask her to write a book about her findings in achieving health?

A great read from start to finish. Find the answers here: Women’s History Month…

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An increasing desire to explore rather than ignore?

Eric Nelson (photo courtesy of Eric Nelson)

Eric Nelson (photo courtesy of Eric Nelson)

What connection, if any, is there between prayer, healing, Albert Einstein and William Randolph Hearst? What is the current trend in the level of research on prayer? Is there an increasing desire to “explore rather than to ignore” the relationship between prayer and healing? And is there a “potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions?”

Eric Nelson in Los Altos, California takes a look at these questions in a recent article in his Communities Digital News health column.

An interesting read indeed:
What happened when Albert Einstein and William Randolph Hearst prayed?

 

(Note: edited same day as posted to fix link.)
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3 Olympics-inspired articles about achieving better health

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are drawing to a close.

Here are three articles by colleagues of mine that look at achieving better health through the lens of Olympic ideals, athletes and their remarkable efforts.

There’s a common thread running throughout these articles. See if you can identify what that is.

 

1. Can inspiration learned from athletes – Olympic or not – offer us all better health?

By Wendy Margolese, Ontario, Canada, Durham Region 2-20-14

Synopsis: Olympic inspiration = gold medal ideas for your health.

Margolese quotes spiritual thinker and author, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote: “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.”

2. Olympic mindset contributes to feeling youthful

By Steven Salt, Ohio, Cleveland Plain Dealer 2-17-14

Salt asks, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Excerpt: “The Olympic motto, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ is a high ideal that speaks more to mental acuity than physical prowess.”

3. My time with an Olympic coach

By Linda Ross, Connecticut, Hartford Faith & Values 2-03-14

Her running club hired an Olympic coach for one day.  Upon learning that she had no injuries to deal with, he asked her, “What are you thinking when you run?” Read her article to find out.

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What the poor suffering heart needs

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)

February is American Heart Month and the month with Valentine’s Day. With that clearly in mind, comes a wonderful guest post on my colleague Kate Johnson’s Health Blog in Westminster Patch in Maryland earlier this week by Pamela Savage, who is in the healing practice of Christian Science.

In her article entitled, “When heart is more than the sum of its parts!” Savage shares a researcher’s findings that a state of love turns off the stress response and she discusses the exceptionally good health of the people of Roseto, Pennsylvania, who seem to defy conventional health laws and trends.  For example, for men over 65, the death rate from heart attack is half that of the United States as a whole.

She also shares an apropos quote from Mary Baker Eddy, who explored the spiritual nature of health and challenged “health laws” of her day: “The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving kindness.”

She puts it all together nicely.

A real heart-warming read: When heart is more than the sum of its parts!

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Olympics inspire taking it to the next level — health wise

(©Glowimages/stock photo - model used for illustrative purposes only)

(©Glowimages/stock photo – model used for illustrative purposes only)

This past weekend, Karly Shorr – who not so long ago was a student at our own Milford High School here in Milford, Michigan - placed 6th in Slopestyle Snowboarding. On Twitter, she tweeted: “6th place at the Olympics… Not too shabby for a 19 year old. Could not be more stoked…” It’s inspiring to see athletes excel like this.

Tim Mitchinson (Picture courtesy of Tim Mitchinson)

Tim Mitchinson (Picture courtesy of Tim Mitchinson)

My colleague Tim Mitchinson, a Health Blogger in Illinois, also inspired by Olympic performances, wrote a nice blog post today about ways in our lives to “take it to the next level.” Specifically, he talks about thought and character and the qualities that, taken to the next level in our lives, may have health-giving properties.

Here is an excerpt:

Allowing our thought to be guided spiritually can help any one of us to ‘take it to the next level’ – whether we are an athlete, a patient, a caregiver or simply someone looking to overcome limitations in some area of life.

A nice – and timely – read: Taking personal bests to “the next level”.

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Health effects of spirituality: placebo effect?

Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)

Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)

“No placebo effect going on there.”

Much attention has been given to the placebo effect. The placebo effect shows that what we believe – what we think – matters when it comes to health.

Some wonder if the positive effects on health of spirituality are simply a variant of the placebo effect. Wendy Margolese, Health Blogger in Ontario, Canada, takes up this question in a recent article in York Media.

Here’s an excerpt:

“One of my favorite Biblical accounts of Jesus’ approach to healing is the story of a man who, for thirty-some years, sat by a pool waiting for a stirring of the water – as this was believed to be done by an angel and thus have healing power. Is this not similar to the belief of health associated with a sugar pill?  Jesus did not sugarcoat his words when he commanded the man to take up his bed and go home – back to an active and productive life.  The man was healed immediately and gladly complied. And, he did not even expect to be healed by this passing stranger – no placebo effect going on there.”

In an honest assessment, Margolese acknowledges our need to “better understand the role spirituality, prayer and religious practices have on a person’s health.”

Read her article here: Are positive health impacts of spirituality simply a placebo effect?

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