OSU’s Sugar Bowl Victory and My Mental Health

Thursday, January 8th, 2015
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Ohio State University logo

The logo of my alma mater, The Ohio State University.

In lieu of workout videos, I thought I’d share some exciting video footage (ha ha!) from January 1 at the Sugar Bowl. I’m not sure it will be good for your emotional health, but the game and the outcome were definitely good for mine! Remember, part of creating and maintaining superb health is to have fun and enjoy your life. Well, that’s exactly what I was doing when I filmed this.

Good luck in the National Championship in Arlington, TX on Jan. 12, 2015, Ohio State! I will be there!!

Happy New Year from the Sugar Bowl!

Sunday, January 4th, 2015
happy new year banner

Happy New Year to All!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!! My 2015 began fabulously, with fireworks in New Orleans, Louisiana. Then, it was REALLY fabulous because my beloved Ohio State (my alma mater!!) Buckeyes beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in an exciting, close game at the Sugar Bowl.

Here is how I spent my first day of the New Year, 2015: Watch this very brief video of the celebration at the Sugar Bowl following Ohio State’s victory over Alabama on January 1, 2015.

Happy New Year to all OSU alumni and fans!!

Why Do People Think Those Who Meditate Are Saints?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

I meditate on a regular basis. I find that I am the most calm and centered when I meditate first thing in the morning after I wake up and right before I go to bed. The morning meditation gets my mind right for the day and the evening meditation allows me to release any issues or tensions I may have surrounding how my day went. I am fortunate to never have had a problem with sleeping. But now I go to bed relaxed and content instead of just tired!

I have a friend who meditates on a more regular basis than I do. Whereas I may meditate 30 minutes a day, she typically meditates one hour in the morning and another 20-30 minutes at night. (She gets up an hour early to do this.) Just as for me, meditation has helped her move from a Type A personality. However, unlike me (I’m a reformed Type A, not fully laid back yet!), she exudes calm and coolness, even beyond that of a laid back personality. Because of this, people attribute all of her calm and coolness to the fact that she does yoga and meditates. She occasionally complains that people think those that meditate are saints.

Meditators are not saints

My Dad saw this quote on the Dark Goddess’ Facebook page and thought it sounded like me!

My friend, K. (name abbreviated to protect the innocent!), says people refer to her as a “meditating yogi.” I had a good laugh at that one. K. does not teach classes nor does she have a following but that’s what some people call her. When she shows the slightest bit of anger, people look surprised. She’s not a Buddhist monk! She doesn’t pretend to be, but apparently some think she is.

I must not yet exude the same level of calm because people don’t have the same expectation from me! I radiate confidence but sometimes I think my calm comes across as the calm before the storm. People don’t run from me but they never expect me to be a saint. So I shall count my blessings. People who know me appreciate that I am calmer as a result of meditation but understand that I am a work in progress. And they’re happy for the progress instead of wondering why I’m not a saint!

Back to K. The purpose of meditation is to calm and center you, relax your mind, drastically reduce and eventually eliminate, with practice, the continual stream of thoughts that stress you. By emptying your mind or focusing on one or a few positive thoughts you de-stress and detoxify your mind, which helps your mental health and your physical health. Meditation is a spiritual practice, working above the level of pure thought. So I can see where people get visions of saintlihood for those who are avid practicioners.

But note, a morning meditation or evening meditation practice is there to make you a better you. NOT a saint. You and K. are still human. You become less reactive, typically significantly less reactive over time, but you still react on occasion. So, if you know someone who meditates and you treat her like she should be a saint, relax your judgment. Just let that person be and be happy that she is typically calmer than most around you! If this is you, relax! Who cares what others think? Appreciate how you are compared to how you were and commend yourself on your continued growth.

Laughter is Good for Your Health! Fallon and Smith

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Here’s a clip from the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It’s Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith’s absolutely hilarious history of hip hop dance. Laughter is really good for your health. Many studies show that laughter releases endorphins, reduces stress levels, reduces blood pressure, among many other benefits.  I hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did and have the same belly laugh I did!

Sometimes Health Problems are Symptoms of Emotional Stress – Part II

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

To change your emotional state and reduce or eliminate emotional stress, eliminate or alleviate negative emotions. You can also reduce the impact of any negative emotions on your body. Different options work better for different people. Try a variety of options to identify the one or more activities that work best for you.

I personally use acupuncture. My acupuncturist in Atlanta, Dr. Lee, has been phenomenal. I have cleared up a few of my short-term or chronic ailments with acupuncture. I also see a chiropractor periodically. Finally, after seven (yes, 7!) different chiropractors, I finally found one who is a good fit for me and who helped me clear up my back issues.

I am also a huge believer in massage. Years ago, two nights before I left for a 2.5 year stint working as an engineer for Honda in Japan, I had a one-hour massage. My massage therapist, who was also a registered nurse, gave me a 2-hour massage instead as a going away gift. I was excited about my impending journey. I didn’t realize that I was also scared until I burst into tears around the 75-minute mark of the massage! I’m not a crier so I was embarrassed. But she told me to let it out. The tension was in my body because of the unexpressed (and unrealized) trepidation. The massage loosened up my emotional stress and made it come out.

Me doing yoga. My 6 yr. old niece took this photo!

Me doing yoga. My 6 yr. old niece took this photo!

I also do yoga. I practice Ashtanga yoga with Vinyasa (which means flow). I remember I had purchased a newspaper company in early 2007 and was having problems with the transition. I was all stressed and knew I needed a massage. I had practiced various forms of yoga off and on for five years. But I took that Ashtanga class and felt so relaxed afterwards, like I’d had a massage. All the free flowing, somewhat strenuous movements and continuous deep  breathing released the tension from my body like nothing but massage had ever done for me. I was hooked!

I also practice meditation now. Daily. Sometimes twice daily. I can tell when I skip a day. I feel a little off my game. Things bother me more. My thoughts are not as constructive. I give thanks for my discovery of meditation all the time. Occasionally I pray. I don’t get down on my knees like I was taught in Catholic school. I go walk my dog late at night (after 11 pm when people are in bed and can’t hear me!) and talk out loud to God. My thoughts get really clear.

Of course, I work out.  Working out is an amazing stress reliever. It clears my head and builds and tones my body. But the strenuous exercise I do places stress on the body. So the other activities I mention balance the mind, reduce my emotional stress and relieve my physical stress.

For more information on the mind-body connection and how emotions take residence in your body, please read Louis Haye’s awesome book, “Heal Your Body, Heal Your Life.”

Sometimes Health Problems are Symptoms of Emotional Stress – Part I

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
Sugar Depleted or Worn Out? 10 Juices / Smoothies for Energy & Health

Smoothies can help reduce the adverse impact of emotional stress on your body.

I am a firm believer in the health maintenance and restorative effects of food. However, I don’t think food alone does it. You need to exercise, which I do 4-6 times per week. (I consider myself an athlete. You can’t sit on the couch and be an athlete, right?!) I also believe you need to pray, meditate, play music, listen to music or something similar to calm your mind.

When people tell me about how a very fit person who ate well dropped dead (as people who don’t want to take action love to do!), I tell them they may have had insufficient nutrition or they may have had a lot of emotional turmoil or a habitual way of thinking that negatively impacted their body. In that case, eating well acts like hydrogen peroxide around a splinter. Hydrogen peroxide will keep the infection from setting in as long as you put it on almost daily; but if you skip a day or two, the infection begins to take root.

You can reverse the infection if you act quickly, but if you wait too long, you’ll have to take more drastic action. Because the splinter is the cause. The infection is the symptom. The same applies to your emotional stress and issues. For example, if you internalize your anger, you may end up with back problems, digestive issues, headaches, skin issues, and if it continues for a long time, much more serious diseases.

Your emotions impact your body...for better or for worse.

Your emotions impact your body…for better or for worse.

Eating very well will help your body cast off the effects of that internalized anger but if you slack off a bit, your body will revert. Or the anger will catch up to you and cause a heart attack. Because your health problems are due to the internal stress caused by your emotions, not your food. Cause: internal emotional stress. Symptom: health ailment or discomfort. Do you understand my analogy?

I have seen a number of unhealthy people who “eat well”. Some of the “eating well” is a lot of processed organic foods and sweets. Some of these people only eat well and do not exercise. Others may suffer from a psychological ailment. Still others have a pattern of thinking that causes them to generate negative emotions and then pull that emotion into their bodies.

Example: I often think I’m relaxed when I’m really not. I notice this when I sit down to meditate and go through my head-to-toe relaxation scenario. I was actually very tense before meditating. How does that impact my body? For me, I had neck and back problems. I sat tensed up at the computer typing for hours in improper sitting positions. Some was due to my work but most was due to my concerns about the book I was writing, the work I had to finish, etc. My negative emotions impacted my body.

You don’t have to experience strong emotions to have it impact your body. It can be a low grade worry niggling at the back of your mind or a slowly festering resentment you may not even realize you have. But it’s there.

So how do you improve your emotional health to improve your physical health? Tune in to my post tomorrow for my suggestions.

 

Merry Christmas to All!

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Merry Christmas from the Wright family!

Merry Christmas from the Wright family!

The only one missing from this picture is my father, who is taking the photo! Merry Christmas to all of you.

May the spirit of Christmas — hope, joy, and love — permeate your life during this time.