Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting The Day In A Wellness Way

Right now as I type this, it is Monday morning, I’ve seen my first group of patients, have a short break before the next ones arrive, and I’ve had a thought in my mind since early this morning that I thought I’d share with you. I was reading through some posts on social media outlets today, and saw varying degrees of “Monday morning” comments. As you might imagine, they ranged from “ugh, it’s Monday”, to more encouraging ones wishing everyone a great start to the week. I had a brief conversation with my 14 year old son this morning on the way to school (aren’t all conversations with 14 year old boys brief?) about the same topic. It really got me thinking about the importance of how we start our days. I always encourage people to “Finish Strong”, but I sometimes think we forget to “Start Well”. This can set the tone for an entire day, and an entire week.

So, how do you start the day? Are you the “Good God it’s morning!” person? Or are you the “Good morning God!” person? Admittedly, I have both types of days at varying times, but honestly I have to say it’s more the latter to a very large degree. I don’t think it’s because I am especially blessed, or lucky, though both of those come into play to some degree. I know I am blessed to have a profession/career that is a blast. I know I am lucky to have the wife I have (she’d agree too) etc. But beyond that, I believe there are some keys that I’ve learned in my years of living and in my years of practice and observing the habits of my patients. So, today I’ll share a couple of tidbits that work well for me to have the best chance of “Starting Well”.

First, today being Monday, that means that I arose extra early to spend time at the gym for a spin class (stationary bike class). It’s an hour of intense cardio work and calorie burning. I’ll be honest that when that alarm goes off at 4:45 on mornings like this, I always have a 3 minute conversation with myself as to whether or not I will actually get up. Getting up usually wins because I think about how great it feels afterward to have started my day in such a great manner. You may not desire to rise that early and go spin for an hour, but the point is to find some way of expending some energy right off the bat and help your day start well. You’ll be proud of yourself and thus feel better emotionally about you. You’ll release endorphins that automatically make you feel good too. You will have awakened your body and made it ready to attack the week. Consider finding some way to exercise right off the bat, even if it’s walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you’ll be glad you did it and learn to love the new habit.

Another way to start your day off in a wellness manner is to eat well. Fuel your body in an appropriate manner. A caramel machiotto and pastry doesn’t qualify! Remember it needs to be real food. I start my day off with a Superfood Shake with some products we carry, giving me the equivalent of 8-10 servings of organic fruits and veggies, some healthy whey protein, a solid dose of Omega 3 fish oil, and my vitamin D for the day. I add in a boiled egg often, and a piece of fruit. It’s the first chance I’ve had since the previous dinner to re-fuel so I want to make sure I do it right to avoid mid-morning cravings for twinkies, soft drinks and the like.

I also enjoy a bit of quiet time first thing every morning. Sometimes this is spent with a cup of coffee on my back porch, sometimes sitting in a comfortable chair in my family room. That’s the time I spend mentally preparing for the day, connecting with my God, reading my bible and planning out the day. It organizes my brain (as much as that is possible at least) and helps me insure that the coming day will be as productive as possible.

Lastly, if nothing else, getting up early enough to not be rushing out the door is vital. Being able to take the time to enjoy the morning time (yes it’s possible) sets a good tone for the day. Stressing because we’re running late and trying to remember all the things we need to take with us at the last minute causes stress and certainly isn’t conducive to starting well.

If you begin one or more of these habits, I think you’ll find it easier to start well, stay productive, feel better about one’s self, and banish the “Good God it’s morning” persona!

Until next time…Be Well!
Dr. Bruce

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hatred Killed Americans 10 Years Ago

And hatred is killing America today. It's sad, but it's true. Hatred of people within our own country has weakened us. Hatred of each other creates an "us vs. them" mentality within our own team. We have to remember that we are on the same side in the long run, and stop hating someone just because they have a different letter behind their name. "They" are Americans, "they" are one of us. We don't have to like "them", or what they believe in and stand for, that's not what I am saying. It's impossible to like everyone, even if "they" are on "our" side politically.

But the mass hatred I see in this country for entire political groups is a worthless emotion, with no upside to it. It has created a divided country where each side blames everything bad on the other. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. But to go on hating, and blaming, gets us nowhere. I'm like a lot of people this weekend, watching a lot of football. The teams that are strong and successful are united and work together, and I am sure they don't all like each other. If they acted on on the fact that they don't like each other, they'd not succeed. That same analogy can be said about our country, which is why I believe we are weakened country for many reasons, and divisiveness is one of the big ones.

Hatred in this manner kills. It kills the owner of that emotion. It is not a wellness oriented emotion, and can serve no good. The Carpenter from Bethlehem said for us to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us. How much more so should we do this for those on our own team? How much more so does this weaken us individually by harboring said hatred? And when each of us is weakened individually by holding on to such hatred, well, the whole is the sum of it's parts.

If you want to be well, and if you want our country to be well, and be healed, it starts with each of us individually. Just like when one or more of the cells in your body become ill, it makes the whole body less healthy. Release that hatred, focus on the good, focus on doing good, serving others, caring for one's self. Thinking well is one of the 4 Pillars of Wellness I teach, and hatred of entire groups of people is the complete opposite of that pillar.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce