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Working for or against your health

 

We can never know about the days to come

But we think about them anyway…

 

Carly Simon’s hit, “Anticipation” opens with a truism that has proved to be at times comforting; at times, calamitous. And when it comes to the near or distant future, anticipation about our health can be a good or a bad thing. It depends how you think about it.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpgLet’s face it, we’re mental time travelers. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the future and the past, possibly at the expense of the present. Rehearsing events and conversations that have yet to take place is a favorite pastime (future-amusement) for us mortals.

Why do we do it? Preparing for all the possible scenarios in life, anticipating outcomes within those inner conversations we have with ourselves is a curious habit. For one thing, it is believed to be a protection technique often used to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Ted Kaptchuk, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, gave a talk recently at TEDMED and referred to the brain as a prediction machine.  He related this story:        Read more…

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Can you think your way to better health?

“Now think, men, think!”

Professor Harold Hill’s desperate plea as he stands before his ill-prepared River City Boy’s Band with a broken pool cue for a director’s baton, is the iconic and ironic highlight of “The Music Man,” the endearing stage and film musical.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpgHaving convinced the gullible parents that he could produce a band and taken their money for instruments and uniforms, the lovable con artist reluctantly turns to his own confidence scam, the “Think System,” in his desperate attempt to avoid the wrath of the townspeople as they are about to hear the not-so-melodious sounds of their children’s instruments.

Thinking actually had little to do with the scheme the professor devised. He was literally as well as figuratively handcuffed by a lack of musical know-how. Producing musical concord is a science, involving knowledge of the rules of harmony and their implementation. Ignorance of the principles and procedures ensures cacophony.

Health can be viewed in much the same way.  Read more…

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The boomerang effect of being a good neighbor

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“Whatever blesses one blesses all…” Mary Baker Eddy shared this verity a century ago.  It’s true.  The merits of neighborliness, brotherhood and sisterhood are countless and favorably impact entire communities as well as nations. And interestingly enough, being a good neighbor affects you!

Helping neighbors has a boomerang effect that comes back to bless you too. It might seem counterintuitive, but being the giver puts you on the receiving end of good things.

Never before has loving “thy neighbor as thyself” been so intensely scrutinized. Studies linking neighborliness with good health have intensified.  Who would have guessed there are tangible health perks to living next door to those who live by the Golden Rule?

The latest research out of the University of Michigan points to a positive connection between good neighbors and good heart health.  The findings published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health measured something called neighborhood social cohesion. It turns out the better we get along with our neighbors, the less risk for heart attack.   Read more…

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Nudgin curmudgeon attitudes toward better health

Yep, another ‘significant’ birthday has come and gone.  AARP has extended membership benefits to me for… well, some time now.  And while I could be considered chronologically enhanced, I don’t consider age to be the topmost descriptor of my individuality. No way!

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Age is a perception thing. The sooner we drop the stubborn views of aging from our constant contemplation, the better for our health. I am thinking of deleterious assessments like mental weakness, physical feebleness, illness – and the anxieties they all perpetuate.  Must aging be repeatedly linked with these complaints?

“Perception by the five personal senses is mental,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, “and dependent on the beliefs that mortals entertain.” Believing that age must come with significant drawbacks only perpetuates those shortcomings. I guess you could say, you are what you believe.   Read more…

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Health is more than meets the eye

“Who are you wearing?”  The favorite opening query of many a red carpet reporter is taking on new meaning these days for anyone focused on health.

cropped-HealthInkLogo-1.jpgA new crop of designers is making a name for themselves, but you probably haven’t heard of any of them yet.  Their creations are called ‘wearables’, clothes and accessories that monitor your body’s vital signs. It’s one of the hot trends in health care.

Everything from socks to bras to bracelets is included in the drive to weave technology into everyday wear for the purpose of evaluating our health. The idea is simple enough; collect as much information as possible about what the body is doing and evaluate the data.  Search for meaning and patterns in the numbers accumulated and hope it yields some practical information that can be applied to enhance well-being.

But not everyone is convinced the numbers add up. Experts are divided on whether they can deliver on the health promises being made.  After all, wearable health sensors, biometrics, and algorithms don’t begin to tell the whole story of you.  Read more…