The Pillar of Relax

Engaging in the habits outlined in the Pillar of Relax is imperative to our health.

In this go-go-go world we can have a breakdown. Our bodies are not machines. We’re human beings that need rest and recreation every day.

The strategy I employ is a simple one predicated on mindfulness: pay attention to what your body is telling you to do and how your body feels at any given time during the day.

One Sunday it was unseasonably colder. My body had gone on strike it seemed. There would be no going to the gym and no going outside.

Pushing yourself to do demanding activities is a mistake when your body is telling you to slow down and rest. Yet too often people think that being busy is a sign of health.

Being busy isn’t a sign of health. Being fit and active is the barometer of health.

You can do less every day and achieve more peace of mind and better health.

We should not be checking work e-mails from home. In my house I have the inviolable rule of not checking work e-mails when I’m on vacation.

The corollary to relaxing is the Pillar of Sleep. Dr. Chatterjee recommends establishing the 90-Minute Rule: shutting down all TV, cell phone, and tablet use 90 minutes before you go to bed.

Getting enough rest and recreation can absolutely halt disease from starting or progressing.

I’ll end this blog entry by saying that for years I was skeptical that a person’s behavior and lifestyle choices could cause disease.

Now I know without a doubt that the keys to unlocking optimal health are in our own hands. We are not passive victims of illness. Disease is not the natural outcome of getting older. It’s too often the result of inactivity and poor choices.

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Moving the Needle to the Left

I’d jumped into writing about the visionary book.

It seems I’d wrote that I’d write next about how to shift the needle to the left of the dial.

My intent in titling my memoir Left of the Dial was to demonstrate how doing the things you love can help you heal.

Living your life left of the dial–joyously, creatively, and passionately–if you ask me is a beneficial method of healing.

I’ve reckoned with the fact that becoming a trial attorney wasn’t in the cards for me in this lifetime. I was destined to go left when everyone else goes right.

Seeking emotional harmony between your thoughts and feelings is a way to shift the needle to the left. This can be via talking to a therapist. It can be via reducing the nonstop reliance on your electronic devices at all hours of the day and night.

What has changed my life for the better has been exactly this: shifting the needle to the left of the dial.

In theĀ  book How to Make Disease Disappear Dr. Chatterjee recommends keeping a grateful journal. You can buy a hardbound journal to keep at your night table. Write three positive things that happened to you that day before you go to bed.

Dr. Chatterjee refers to a pioneer in the positive psychology movement who asked his daughter three questions every day: “What did you do to make someone else happy?” and “What did someone else do to make you happy?’ were two of the Qs.

Giving joy to others as a daily ritual is the foolproof way to feel good yourself.

We can’t control whether other people do good things for us or simply act for self-gain every day. This isn’t our concern. If we want to feel good, the best way I know to do this is to help others feel good.

Living a healthy life. Living whole and well.

These things are possible when you live in recovery.

That’s the ultimate premise of Left of the Dial: you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in endless hell. You can heal.

 

How to Make Disease Disappear

how to make disease disappear

Dr. Chatterjee in the above book details his 4 Pillars of Health: Relax – Eat – Move – Sleep.

This British M.D. is able to cure patients of disease without using medication.

The 219-page book I read in one day. I recommend loyal readers of my blog buy the book or at least check it out of the library.

For years now I’ve thought that who gets sick is random. It seemed like if the ball landed on your number in the Roulette wheel of ill health you’d become sick.

Now I know without a doubt that disease can often be caused by poor behavior and lifestyle choices.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk in more detail about topics in How to Make Disease Disappear.

I care about readers. The route and routines to get to a life of fitness are often simple and cheap. Preventing disease is doable.

In the U.S. unfortunately the medical model is predicated on disease management instead of illness prevention. This has to change if we want people in society to be healthier and happier and wealthier.

The money we spend managing disease after it occurs would be better spent offering healthier food choices in the marketplace. It would be better spent on effective health campaigns.

In the book How to Make Disease Disappear Dr. Chatterjee tells readers point blank that traditional diet advice is wrong. For details about the right way to go about eating read his visionary book.

Each of us has to take our health into our own hands. We can’t rely on the government to have our backs as regards our health.

The book is only 219 pages. It’s an easy read.

Setting Up a Home Gym

I’ve exercised in my living room two or three times since I was thrown into the role of caregiver for my mother.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership to work out every week.

You can go on YouTube to watch videos to see how to perform different exercises.

For a cost of $90 or so upfront you can buy equipment to use in your home.

I’m not a big fan of buying things on Amazon yet I do shop on this online superstore every so often.

I bought from Amazon sellers a 20-pound kettlebell, two 10-pound dumbbells, and a 36-inch foam roller.

That’s all you’ll need to exercise in your living room: just these three items.

Amazon also sells adjustable weight dumbbells.

With this equipment you can do an exercise routine for thirty minutes or longer.

If you’re not ready for higher weights buy the weights you can use at this time.

Turn on the radio, internet, iPod or other device to your favorite music for a mood boost while you work out.

Some exercises you can do in your living room:

Stretches and foam roller

Kettlebell swings

Single-leg deadlift

Alternating V-ups

Goblet squat

Curtsy squat

Pulse side squat

Lunges

Dumbbell curl

Chest press

Renegade Row

Plank

Side Plank with hip drop

Bicycle crunches

Figure 4 crunches

Push-ups

Jumping Jacks

Metabolic Syndrome Information

While I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral schizophrenia website I wrote numerous articles about medical conditions that people with this emotional illness could be at greater risk for.

As I don’t own the copyright for my HealthCentral news articles (and I’m not an M.D.) I’m going to provide in this blog entry links to other health websites.

Use this information at your own discretion. Seek professional help for your own health matters instead of relying on the internet to diagnosis yourself.

Yet if at all you think there’s a benefit in getting help schedule an appointment with a doctor.

I’m providing links to metabolic syndrome information because I want to give a public service. A loved one of mine has had a stroke. She had metabolic syndrome.

People who have 3 out of the 5 factors are diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome increases a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

At the least I firmly believe everyone should haveĀ  a check-up with their primary care doctor at least once every year. Go more often if that would benefit you.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about fitness and nutrition again.

It’s Greenmarket season. It’s also perfect weather for taking long walks outside.

May is Older Americans Month as well as Mental Health Month. May is also Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

This is a trio of topics that are right up my alley that I’ll link together to talk about in coming blog entries.

Mayo Clinic Metabolic Syndrome Information.

American Heart Association Metabolic Syndrome Information.

Mental Health Acceptance Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

From here on in I’ll call this Mental Health Acceptance and Awareness Month.

Like in keeping with Autism Acceptance Month in April we need to recognize that for a lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia good things have come from having this illness.

We also need to frame May as Acceptance Month because it’s imperative that we prioritize mental health as the number-one driver of a person’s recovery.

In here before I’ve championed fitness of mind, body, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Without mental health all the other links in this fitness chain can be broken.

I will always fight for the rights of individuals with chronic unremitting schizophrenia. This is a given because not everyone is going to do well after they have an episode.

Most people can recover. A minority cannot. It’s those of us whose illness is more severe that require intensive treatment and unrelenting advocacy efforts to protect their rights to services and support.

Those of us who are able to recover should pass the baton to help others recover.

Acceptance of our challenges is the gateway to owning our recovery. When we resist facing the truth and are in denial this will only perpetuate the illness.

Awareness of schizophrenia and other mental health conditions isn’t the end. It’s the start. Any awareness must come with corresponding acceptance that these illnesses are real health conditions. That most of us recover and some of us might not do as well as others.

In the end this involves treating everyone with dignity and compassion.

Not whitewashing the truth. Not catering to only people we deem worthy of advocacy.

Treating everyone as individuals whose stories are valuable.

Helping others tell their stories. Listening when we hear another person’s story.

Getting Into the Gym Groove

Round about the New Year a lot of people join gyms across America.

There’s a guaranteed way to persist at your fitness goals.

Read the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. It can help you succeed when you execute each step in the right order.

In a recent New York Times article a woman writer snipped about yoga pants. She joined a gym and wears sweatpants to work out. She thinks people stared at her because she’s not wearing yoga pants. The woman claims that yoga pants objectify woman as sex objects.

This is blarney. If you want to succeed at your fitness goals you need to dress the part of a champion. Elite athletes don’t wear sweatpants to perform.

How you dress in any area of life can affect how you feel about yourself. Getting into the gym groove will be easier when you dress the part.

I used to wear whatever clothes I could pass off as workout gear when I first started lifting weights. Then I got hip and started to buy training pants and tee shirts specifically for sweat sessions.

You can buy for at tops $79 a pair of training pants in Modell’s. Or get cheaper options in Century’s in New York City–Century 21 off-price discount retailer. Even Target if I remember has Champion workout gear.

In all areas of life if you want to get in the game you have to put on your game face as it’s called. Wearing the right clothes to the gym can put you in a champion’s frame of mind.

JackRabbit sells running shoes at their stores and online. In person you can get tested to see which kind of shoe is best for how your feet touch the ground.

I tell you loyal readers that resisting buying quality training clothes is a royal mistake. You’ll feel better about yourself when you’re dressed better.

No one else is looking at you at the gym either way. Hardcore fitness buffs are too busying working out to spend more than a minute or too glancing around the room.

Should you not want to buy skintight yoga pants there are plenty of options with a boot cut hem out there.

If you power through the next two months at the gym and want to stay motivated to continue I urge you to rethink wearing sweatpants to work out.

In the coming blog entries I’ll return to a focus on fitness and nutrition.

In the end having a fitness routine and a balanced nutrition plan is a valid adjunct form of treatment for people with mental health issues.