It Seems so Easy, but is it?

These days it can be easy to lose sight of the good in your life. Throughout the last year in our country, divisiveness has been on the front page of our headlines and in our consciousness.

gratitude

Sometimes it may be challenging to see the good in your life or in this world. As we approach the Holiday Season and Thanksgiving in particular, there is an opportunity to recognize the good in your life and in this world.

One powerful way to practice this is to practice the art of gratitude. How do you wake up every morning? Do you wake up, rush out of your house after your routine, and then go on with your day?

Or, do you start your day with gratitude? How do you do that, you ask? It’s easy. You wake up, open your eyes, and look around you. What do you see? -How about a house that you purchased, comfortable and cozy, with you’re your personal touches, filled with wonderful memories?

-How about the majestic mountains that sit right outside your window? The warmth of the sun? The glistening lake?

-What about your partner, your children, your parents who raised you and guided you?

-What about your friends, your coworkers, who keep you balanced and challenged?

-What about your health, and your decision to come to my office and regain your health?

-Listen to the music you love, how it moves you, motivates you, inspires you.

-How about the freedom you have, to travel where you want, to say what you want, to practice the religion you want?

-Walk outside and visit with nature. How awe inspiring is nature at all levels, whether it is a momma duck with her little ducklings in tow, birds flying free and effortlessly, a cow chewing on grass or your dog or cat curled at your feet.

My request for you is to begin each and every one of your days with gratitude. Develop a rhythm and a pattern. Make gratitude something you look forward to every day, and something that you carry with you all day.

My wish for you is that your practice of gratitude will help carry you through the darkest moments of your life and will raise you higher on the happier moments you experience during your life. After all, every day of your life is an experience wound within experiences. How you approach every segment of your life is based on the emotion you brought from the previous moment.

You have the power to show up however you want. You have the power to see the dark or the light of life. During this Holiday Season, why not begin a new practice, a practice of gratitude? After all, there’s very little to risk and a tremendous reward that awaits you.

What I Learned at the Wedding

A few weeks ago, I attended my childhood friend’s daughter’s wedding in Florida. It was a fun and exciting event, with the added thrill of spending the weekend with my mother, brother, and sisters. I noted that it didn’t seem that long ago that my family and I were the focus of the wedding we attended. Times goes by, and it seemed that we were now the weddingsecond tier relatives, kind of like the distant aunts and uncles I reluctantly invited to my wedding.

I had not seen some of the guests at the wedding for a few years, and others I had not seen in over fifteen years. In addition to catching up with those I had not seen, I really enjoyed just watching people. What do I watch in people? Call me crazy, but this is what I do:

I look at their posture; are they standing erect and comfortable like I remember them when they were in their 40’s, or are they slouching, with their heads carried forward like an oversized bowling ball?

I look at their gait. Do they walk with ease and comfort, or are their steps shortened, tentative, and uneven?

I listen to how they talk. Do they seem happy and upbeat like I remember, or do they sound stressed, tired, depressed, and angry?

I listen to what they talk about. Is it pain, sickness, illness, medication, and limitations, and the resignation that accompanies that type of talk,  or do they talk about plans, dreams, adventure, with a sense of excitement in their voice?

I wonder, what happened to them over these years? Why do they seem so different from what I remembered?

I truly treasure my knowledge and awareness about health, and am so thankful for the understanding I have gained over the years, whether it is in regard to maintaining the health of my Nervous System through chiropractic care, a proper exercise regimen, or choosing the healthiest diet to ensure my maximum health.  I understand that not everyone has that knowledge, or even a level of awareness to take action. It has taken me twenty years of dedication and devotion to arrive where I am.

Regardless of what you know and the actions that you take, here are your options:

When you reach your 50’s, 60’s, and beyond, if you haven’t made the decision and spent the time and energy to regain your health, it become harder and harder to climb that mountain. The warning signs have been sounding for many years, and the alarms are getting louder. When you have spent those years ignoring those warning signs, do you think your body is trying to tell you something? What is it trying to tell you? Probably something like, “if you don’t start listening to me, we’re going to take you down.”

If you are in your 30’s and 40’s, you may still think you are in your “immortal” phase.  Fortunately for me, I had experienced enough “warning signs” in my 30’s that I had to take action if I wanted to regain my health. If this is you, my words of advice based on my experience are that the hands of time only go forward. There is no turning back the clock. Take action NOW to make the rest of your life the healthiest it can be. It all starts with regaining the health of your Nervous System.

At the end of July, I have another wedding. It’s the daughter of my friend’s brother, and the cast of characters will be the same. I’m looking forward to spending that weekend with my family again, and doing my fair share of people watching and listening. I know what’s important to me, and that’s all I can control. How about you? What do you think you can control? Probably more than you think!

How much Baggage are you Carrying

When I worked in New York City years ago, I carried a large briefcase to all my appointments. I can remember at the end of the day the toll that physical stress took on my body. My back was sore, my neck was stiff, and my energy was very low.

What about the toll that the stresses of YOUR life take on you?emotional baggage

The other day, I was having a conversation with one of my patients about the progress they had been making. (For the purpose of anonymity, I will refer to my patient as “Pat.”) Pat then told me about some “conditions” that Pat had not told me about when Pat first started care.

What were those conditions?

-Anxiety

-Feeling stressed out

-Attention problems, starting early in life in school, and continuing through the adulthood.

My experience has been that when people experience conditions such as the above at an early age, they are often associated with difficulty dealing with emotional traumas. I asked about any childhood traumas. YES, there was a significant emotional trauma that occurred when Pat was two. On a scale of 1-10, this was a 10. We began to connect the dots. What would happen if you had experienced a trauma that your Nervous System was not able to successfully adapt to? What kind of effect could that have on you, a day later, a year later, a decade later?

Now that Pat is receiving care in my office, Pat is starting to notice how the stresses Pat experienced have affected Pat’s life. Pat is now seeing the cause/effect relationship between trauma and health, how conditions are labeled, and stick for life. Pat is observing that things do not have to be that way. If you never develop the ability to successfully adapt to the emotion stress of your life, especially your childhood, you run the risk of being stuck with all that baggage!

Wouldn’t a healthier choice be to unload that baggage, so that you are free to express your health and life that way it was meant to be expressed?

9 Proven Benefits of this Exercise

For the last 19 years, I have participated in the Bolder Boulder. This year will be extra special, as my two sons have agreed to start the race with me. I last ran with my older son, who will be 25, when he was 11 or 12, and I last ran with my younger son, who will be 20, when he was 13. My training this year started in March, so I spent some time researching the benefits of running on your body and health. Many of these benefits can be applied to walking or hiking, so don’t think you have to take up running to achieve these benefits. If you do, more power to you. So here you go…BB

Overall mental health.
Runners are happy people. They’ve got that runner high thing going for them. Running supports the release of endorphins. Nature’s home-brewed opiates, endorphins are chemicals that act a lot like their medically engineered counterpart, morphine. Runners have credited them for their feel-good effects for decades, but it wasn’t until 2008 that German researchers used brain scans on runners and were able to identify exactly where they originated. The scientists found that during two-hour-long runs, subjects’ pre-frontal and limbic regions (which light up in response to emotions like love) spewed out endorphins. The greater the endorphin surge in these brain areas, the more euphoric the runners reported feeling.

Strengthens your lungs.
Runners have increased lung capacity from logging mile after mile. Those strong lungs come in handy if you ever find yourself on the other side of race as a spectator. A runner’s WOOHOO! is loud and proud.

Helps prevent high blood pressure.
Your arteries expand and contract while running helping to keep your arteries fit which in turn keeps your blood pressure in a normal range. Just 30 to 40 minutes of running most days of the week can help prevent or reduce hypertension — a potentially deadly condition in which abnormally high blood pressure damages blood vessels and vital organs.

Strengthens immune system.
Regular running builds up your tolerance to germs which results in fewer minor illnesses. People who run (or exercise aerobically) at a moderate level experience fewer days of sickness from the common cold and other Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI). What’s more, less competitive endurance athletes following lower key exercise regimens have enhanced immune reactions to infection. One study found that women who walked briskly for 35-45 minutes, 5 days a week, for 15 weeks, experienced half the incidence of colds as the sedentary control group. A Runner’s World survey showed that 61% of recreational runners reported fewer colds since taking up running, and only 4% had experienced more colds. Many studies indicate that exercising at a medium intensity level reduces our risk of infection over the long term. How does this happen?

Light or moderate running boosts our body’s natural immune system by circulating protective cells through the body faster, to attack and eliminate bacteria, viruses and fungi. Infection fighters, such as Natural Killer Cells, macrophages, immunoglobins, white blood cells, and other antibodies, are produced in the bone marrow, lungs, and spleen, and have a clean up effect on foreign invaders.

Weight control.
Running burns mega-calories. However, it makes you mega-hungry, especially if you are training for long distances. Your ability to lose weight while running will be measured by what you eat after you run. If your run ends at Sweet Cow every time out, you’ll probably find you’re gaining weight from running. Runs should be followed by a quality source protein, a vegetarian or whey based protein powder shake or a lean meat such as chicken. Protein helps rebuild muscle and will not add calories as carbohydrates do.

Physically strong legs.
Want the strong, lean look of runners’ leg muscles? Depending on whether you are jogging or sprinting you utilize one of two types of muscle fiber: slow-twitch or fast-twitch. Long-distance running uses slow-twitch fibers which are not as strong as fast-twitch but have a good oxygen supply and can work for long periods of time without tiring. By contrast, fast-twitch muscle is stronger but tires quickly, so it works when you are sprinting. The bulging leg muscles of sprinters are because they have more fast-twitch muscles, while the lean legs of distance runners are composed of slow-twitch.

Relieves stress.
Running boasts the brain’s serotonin levels which make you calmer and more relaxed. Aside from simply being happier because you’re in better shape and feeling good, endorphins play a big role in these results. You might know endorphins as the “feel-good” hormones of the body. It’s an opiod chemical that the body uses to help quell pain. They also help slow the aging process, relieve stress and anxiety, and enhance the immune system. And you guessed it — running can release a flood of these endorphins.

Increased bone density.
Running stresses your bones. Essential minerals are sent to the bones when under stress, which makes them stronger. Moderate amounts of running provide the most beneficial influence on your bone health, the U.S. Sports Academy reports. Runners who get 12 to 19 miles, or 20 to 30 km, of road work per week typically fall into this healthy category. However, runners who regularly exceed this amount of activity risk permanently elevating their blood levels of cortisol, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands that can degrade bone health. In fact, athletes who run roughly 56 miles, or 90 km, per week have shown levels of bone density that are lower than those found in physically inactive individuals.

Increased confidence. Once you start running, your confidence begins to grow. You’ll feel more in control of your life and your body. Endorphins, stronger legs and muscles, reduced weight, improved mental health, stronger immune system, what NOT to like? Improved self-confidence is just the natural byproduct of accomplishing all of the above.

Practicing Forgiveness

On Saturday, I was out for a nice long run. I was running on a very wide sidewalk. A man was standing on the grass area off the sidewalk with 2 small dogs. As I ran by, one of the dogs jumped out and bit my leg. It was a considerable bite, and I was angry. I stopped, and after I expressed my anger towards the man, I asked for his address and phone number, so I could get assurance that his dogs were vaccinated. He refused, and did not take any responsibility or accountability. forgiveness
On the remainder of my run home, I was caught in a place of blame and forgiveness. I would forgive him, and then blame him for his lack of caring and accountability. As the day wore on, and I looked at my injured leg, I continued to debate my feelings. I thought, “if I had my phone I would take his picture, and blah, blah, blah.” This experience has been a good lesson for me practicing forgiveness. I’ll be frank. I’m not there yet. I rationalize it by saying, “if this was me, I would give someone my phone number, I would be more responsible.” But that is not what forgiveness is about. So this experience has made me wonder, what other feelings am I holding onto? How about you? How do you practice forgiveness? I am seeing not being able to forgive affects my life. It takes me away from being in the moment, of loving others, of having fun, of being focused. This has been a great lesson for me, and I am excited to share it with you. I would love to learn from you, and your successes. What are your keys to forgiveness? What barriers do you face when you are choosing between blame and forgiveness?
Lastly, I just saw this quote, “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their actions. Forgiveness stops their actions from destroying your heart.” OUCH!

Is this How you Want Things to Turn Out?

This past weekend, I traveled to Florida to celebrate my Mom’s 84th Birthday. It was an amazing family experience, as I got to celebrate with my Mom, one of my sisters, my brother and his family, and several lifelong family friends.hunched woman

Sitting at my Mom’s breakfast table provides a view of her parking lot. From here, I can clearly see the decline of health in Florida, and surely America. It’s a parade of men and women in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Most of them are stooped in their posture, using walkers, canes or wheelchairs. In speaking with my Mom, her friends, and others I meet, they are all too happy to share their litany of health problems:

-COPD

-Arthritis

-Congestive heart failure

-Degenerative Joint Disease

-Degenerative Disc Disease

-Every imaginable pain in every imaginable place

-Constipation

-Diverticulitis

-Gall Bladder problems

-Diseased Liver

and more and more and more.

My favorite saying is, “Your health is your most important asset. What are you doing to protect it?”

I have no doubt that most of these individuals, my Mom included, when they were in their 50’s and 60’s, thought they were healthy, and that they would stay that way.

What happened?

How did they lose their health?

Will they ever regain it? You can’t just close your eyes, click your heels three times and say, “I want my health back!”

What are YOU doing to ensure that you protect your MOST IMPORTANT ASSET – YOUR HEALTH!

Last week I had a discussion with a patient about her progress, and I recommended that she view her chiropractic care as an investment over the course of her lifetime. She questioned me about that, and I replied, “Look at all the great things you are doing for yourself. Yoga, diet, proper sleep, exercise. Would you ever consider giving them up? Her answer was “no.” Your regular visits here help your Nervous System, which controls and coordinates everything that happens inside you, work the BEST it can. Why would you want to give that up? She agreed, and made a commitment to a lifetime of care.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on hiking Mount Sanitas every Friday into MY 80’s. I plan on traveling and living my life healthy for many years. I am not going to be one of those people I see from my mom’s breakfast table. Everything breaks down eventually. What are you doing to ensure that YOU last as long as possible?

What’s your Vision?

This question may elicit two responses – the first, “What IS my vision?” or the second,

vision board1

“What is a vision?”

Simply put, a vision is a way of communicating your goals. Why is it important to understand your goals? Interestingly enough, on a business level, according to a recent study in the Harvard Business Review, up to 70 percent of employees do not understand their company’s strategy. Failure to understand your company’s position can lead to poor decision making at all levels of an organization.

How about you? How will lack of vision affect YOUR life’s decision making?

During my recent vacation, my wife Shari suggested that our family make vision boards. So we got out our scissors, magazines, and glue sticks and went to work finding words, phrases, and pictures that represent our vision.

It was a fun family project, and we made presentations to each other to explain what everything meant and why we chose it. I brought my Vision Board into the office so that I can see it every day, and allow these thoughts and feelings to morph into a vision, then into reality.

Getting back to my original questions, if you are wondering what your vision is, this may be a great time to create your own vision board. In terms of the second question, what is a vision, I hope I have helped answer that. A vision board can always be changed when your direction changes in your life. I like to think of it as a roadmap to help guide me from where I am in the dreaming phase to where I want to be in the living phase.

My vision board is sitting against the wall near my reception desk. You are invited to visit it. I am excited to hear about your visions, and what steps you are taking to create them. (By the way, that picture is not my board!)