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Our Health is Largely in Our Own Hands

We have the opportunity to take action regarding what ails us more effectively than any previous generation

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The political and cultural turmoil fomented by the Left aside, we are fortunate to be on earth at this time: Ours is the first era where people can largely be in charge of their own health, if they so choose.

Thanks to an abundance of information resources, available primarily via the Internet, we have the opportunity to diagnose and to take action regarding what ails us more often and more effectively than any generation before us.

Sites such www.medicalnewstoday.com, www.healthline.com, www.webMd.com, and www.CDC.gov among dozens of others provide a wealth of authoritative information.

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Certainly, doctors play an important role and always will. We never want to substitute legitimate medical observation for what we conclude on our own. However, what we can research and discover as a result of our comprehensive reading, increasingly, represents reasonably sound information.

Natural Cures Abound

Sometimes we can avoid having to pay for expensive visits to doctors, outpatient services, clinics, or labs: Today, for whatever ails you, it’s might be possible to find potential natural remedies and to minimize ingesting pharmaceuticals. And why not?

For tens of thousands of years prior to our recent history, people communed with nature and they gleaned many health-enhancing gifts that nature had to offer.

Thousands of herbal remedies, and plant and flower extracts were discovered through the ages, passed on to offspring, and are available to this today. One can search online and find potential natural cures for this affliction or that. Food is a remedy in many cases.

When else has humankind ever had the capability to learn so much, so easily, that could be of value to one’s health? Rather than endure a surgical procedure, as recently as one score ago often perceived as the only option, alternatives might well abound.

Instead of undergoing surgery for spine-related discomfort, if practiced diligently and correctly, yoga could serve you well. Undertaking the exploration is worth the pursuit. Then, if surgery is the prudent path to take, with the advances in surgical procedures, if you must be operated on, it’s likely to be to your benefit.

Daily Wonders

For many people, daily health and well-being is within one’s grasp much of the time. We can find legitimate information to help lower blood pressure, stave off headaches, or minimize stress.

Meditation is effective as a stress reducer. Don’t knock it, try it! Medical journals today now discuss the multitude of benefits that accrue to regular meditators. MindfulnessMeditationinstitute.org, in particular, provides such information.

The physical manifestation of meditation, the aforementioned yoga, is beneficial to your health. Yoga is proving to be a physical “elixir” of sorts that can help you in ways that normally one wouldn’t presume.

Stretching can work wonders and, the older you are, the more likely you need to be stretching on a regular basis. You can buy books on stretching, such as Stretching to Stay Young, Stretching for Beginners, and Better Stretching: 9 Minutes a Day.

You can read articles on stretching, and view YouTube videos on the topic. You can quickly gather a variety of key illustrations and carve out for yourself a program that could last for months or years. Even doing simple stretches yields amazing results.

Exercise is vital to effective mind-body functioning. Exercise offers you greater mobility, enhanced mental sharpness, better sleep, better digestion and elimination, and much more.

As with meditation, yoga, and stretching, a host of web resources are available to guide you. If you engage in sports, or seek to take up a new sport, the same opportunities abound.

Pharmaceuticals, Cautiously

As you assume greater charge of your health, you’ll encounter information about supplements. They will show up in your reading. Many people are confused between vitamins and food supplements, versus pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs.

Vitamins and supplements essentially are the crushed extracts of a larger volume of food. The best have no additives. They give you the benefits, in part, that the original source would provide.

Many supplements have evidence-based benefits with almost no side effects. A good example is turmeric which is touted at length www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-turmeric.

Resveratrol is another example. Healthline.com reports, “If you’ve heard that red wine can help lower cholesterol, chances are you’ve heard of resveratrol… Beyond being a healthful part of red wine and other foods, resveratrol has health-boosting potential in its own right… and resveratrol supplements have been linked to many exciting health benefits, including protecting brain function and lowering blood pressure.”

Pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs, those from a pharmacy, are chemical compounds manufactured in a laboratory, often made with synthetic materials, designed to create or achieve a specific outcome within your body. Depending on your affliction, pharmaceuticals could be beneficial.

Pharmaceuticals might include a host of additives and preservatives, however, that you don’t need. Pharmaceuticals also can become habit-forming, that is, addictive. They invariably come with direct effects, which colloquially are called “side effects.” The long list of side effects, rapidly cited on TV commercials, could appear.

Working in Tandem

For most of us, gone are the days when we walk into a doctor’s office, announce what’s wrong, and then ask can you fix me? You and the doctor are a team, and the team approach will work better than anything else currently going.

Enlightened doctors today recognize the importance of working with you, as opposed to being the dominant or sole-source of medical and health information.

They realize that you can quickly find authoritative health advice. They know that you’re likely armed with such information when you arrive. For sure, help your doctor to help you.

Discover as much as you can about your situation before your appointment. Then, spill the beans. Let the doctor know what you’ve uncovered, what you suspect, and what you conclude.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Too Tired for Your Own Good

The realization that you are fatigued is the first step to resolution

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It’s Sunday. Go back to bed and then return to this article!

Based on what you do an average day, it is understandable that sometimes you feel very tired, but when is the tired feeling that you have bordering on danger? Many signs exist, among them these:

    1. Your fatigue is prolonged. Getting several nights of extra sleep in a row or sleeping for an entire weekend doesn’t seem to put a dent in your feeling of fatigue. Perhaps worse, you feel as if you “will never catch up.”
    2. You experience indigestion or lack of appetite. You normally look forward to meals, but when highly fatigued, you have trouble getting them down. Maybe, you’re eating less.
    3. Loss of sex drive. This isn’t as obvious a sign as you might think. Loss of your libido usually takes place a little bit at a time, such that you don’t notice what’s going on. Your partner probably will, though.
    4. You begin to experience trouble getting to sleep, if not outright insomnia. During the night, you find yourself waking more often or tossing back and forth, and then to exacerbate the situation, you spend the rest of the night worrying that you’re not getting good sleep.
    5. You feel tired in the morning even after getting a full night’s sleep. Realistically, there’s no reason for this. If by 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning, you can hardly keep your head up, it’s time to take heed.
    6. Your ability to focus on the task at hand is diminished. Your powers of concentration are not what they have been in the past. Generally, this is not due to your aging.
    7. You feel that you’re no longer in control. In many ways, this is the most insidious of the signs. You doze at highly inopportune moments, such as in an important meeting, or when driving.

Not Enough Sleep, but Otherwise Functional

Here’s a second list of indicators showing that you’re not getting enough sleep, but perhaps you’re not at the danger level:

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  • Your eyes are red.
  • You’re not mentally sharp.
  • You avoid tasks that involve adding up numbers.
  • You find yourself daydreaming often.
  • In situations with others you simply go through the motions.
  • You don’t want to handle any phone calls if you can help it.
  • You watch the clock frequently throughout the day, hoping it will go by more quickly.

Before I learned how to keep my stress level in check, I used to look forward to going to the dentist. When I got to the dentist’s chair, and they tilted the seat back, it was one of the few times during the day where I actually reclined and had relatively little to do. If there wasn’t to be any drilling or serious poking during the session, such as a routine visit or cleaning, in some cases I became so relaxed that I didn’t want to leave. For me, that was an indication that I was highly fatigued.

You probably have your own personal corollaries to this. The realization that you are fatigued is the first step to increasing your efficiency and defeating the problem.  A life of constant exhaustion, no matter what else you accomplish, is not a desirable situation. No one, however, is coming to bail you out.

The road back from exhaustion starts with self-awareness, then resolve, then action. Will today be that day?

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Life

Work-life Balance and the Five-Mega-Realities

Work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with needed leisure

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In the 1st edition of my book Breathing Space which appeared in 1990, I discussed five major trends – what I called mega-realities – that influenced every aspect of our being, and from which no one was immune. Briefly, these five mega-realities include:

* an expanding volume of knowledge
* mass media growth and electronic addiction
* the paper trail culture
* an over-abundance of choices
* population growth.

Knowledge – In one way or another, everyone fears being under-informed. The enormous volume of new knowledge broadcasted and published in every field exceeds our ability to keep pace. More words are published and broadcast in a day than you could ingest during your lifetime. America leads the world in sheer volume of information generated and disseminated.

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The impasse of this over-information era is that the time necessary to learn the rules for effective living now exceeds your lifetime. This is why management books so often miss the mark: they list dozens — if not hundreds — of rules, when you are already grappling with more rules than you can handle.

Mass Media – The effect of the mass media on our lives continues unchecked. More than four out of five American households own DVD players. In 1972, three major television networks dominated television – ABC, NBC and CBS. Now, there are more than 500 full-power independent television stations. Many cable TV subscribers receive up to 200 channels that offer more than 72,000 shows per month.

With its sensationalized trivia, the mass media glut obscures fundamental issues that do merit concern, such as preserving the environment or feeding the poor.

Paper Trails – Like having too much data and eyewitness reports, having too much paper to deal with makes you feel overwhelmed and overworked. Americans today are consuming three times as much paper as ten years ago. There are two basic reasons why society spews so much paper:

* We have the lowest postal rates in the world.
* We have the widest base of paper-generating technologies.

The typical executive receives more than 200 pieces of unsolicited mail each month – about 12 pieces daily. The average family receives more than 100 catalogs that they did not request, on top of those they did request.

An Overabundance of Choices – Having choices is a blessing of the free market economy, but it’s overwhelming, increases time expenditure, and is a mounting form of exhaustion. More than 1,260 varieties of shampoo are on the market. More than 2,000 skin-care products are for sale. An excess of 75 different types of exercise shoes are available, each with scores of variations in style, function, and features.

Population – From the beginning of creation to 1,850 AD, world population grew to one billion. It grew to two billion by 1930, and is now approaching eight billion. Every three years, nearly 250,000,000 people are added to the planet.

Each day, world population (births minus deaths) increases by more than 265,000 people. Geometric growth in human population permeates and dominates every aspect of our earth, its resources, the environment, and all living things.

The Quest for Work-life Balance

Against this backdrop, the quest for work-life balance is more vital than ever. Predictably, a preponderance of speakers, trainers, authors, journalists, and others whose professions entail regular communication with the masses, proclaim the virtues of achieving and maintaining work-life balance.

However, a glaring question arises. What, exactly, is work-life balance? Compared to the legions of instances in which the term is cited, surprisingly little has been written in articles and books about what the concept actually entails.

During my 33 years in pursuit of understanding why the pace of society has sped up, what the impact has been on the typical individual, and how each of us can forge our own sense and experience of breathing space throughout our lives, I have honed and refined the tenets of what I consider work-life balance.

What Exactly is Work-life Balance ?

For several years now, those who apparently have no idea what work-life balance is and have virtually never experienced it are proclaiming that it is passe — in favor of work-life harmony or work-life integration.

The truth is, these terms all mean approximately the same things. You can split hairs anyway you want, and I suppose that’s a good way to differentiate a program if you’re seeking to offer one to clients, but the reality is work-life balance is the overarching issue of our time that all career professionals strive to achieve.

Work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with sufficient leisure. It is attaining focus and awareness, despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for your time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having some breathing space for yourself each day; feeling a sense of accomplishment, while not being consumed by work; and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. It is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within 24-hour days, seven-day weeks, and however many years you have left.

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