Category Archives: Health

Health and Happiness – Part 1

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. – World Health Organization, 1948

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields,
What the River Knows, 1990

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. – Chinese Proverb

If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. – Elbert Hubbard

I’ve been thinking a lot about health and it’s connection to happiness. Many of us take our health for granted. I believe that we truly underestimate its effect on our happiness. Its easier to not think about it if things are working okay.

True health comes from more than regular exercise and good diet. It really starts with a positive attitude and emotional state. That’s the secret foundation to good health and another tool to manage your level of overall happiness. Think about it, when you feel good you want to go and do something physical. You want to move around, get out of the house or enjoy nature. When you feel bad, you tend to eat poorly and lay on the couch. Your attitude is not positive and your energy level decreases.

You can exercise all you want but if you haven’t built the foundation with an inner positive outlook on yourself, your health and therefore your happiness will never be quite as good as it could be. But saying that, exercise (even small amounts) can have an incredibly positive effect on your mood. There have been many studies on this. Think about how well you feel after taking a brisk walk through your neighborhood or local park. Your body releases endorphins. Your blood flows more. Your body and mind have received a healthy dose of extra oxygen.

So, work on both. Cultivate a positive attitude and emotional outlook. Take periodic walks or some other form of regular (that’s the key) exercise. Together they will synergistically work to help increase your level of happiness.

Tomorrow I’ll touch on illness and its effect on happiness.

Have a great day!


Hospital Beds Are Comfortable

I never thought I would say this, but hospital beds are comfortable. I only realized this after trying to get comfortable in a normal bed shortly after abdominal surgery.

I had to laugh at myself last night as I keep reaching over for the bed controls. Alas, they didn’t exist. I had to make a raised bed by using multiple pillows. It was not as flexible nor did it work as well as the hospital bed.

One great thing is that I’m in a hotel room and not a hospital room, though I obviously miss the bed. It definitely means I’m improving and quickly at that. Of course, that feels great.

Also, I have a lovely view from my hotel window of the Brussels Stock Exchange (BSE) called the Bourse. Beautiful building! Very impressive.
Have a great day!


Back Online after Appendicitis

It’s been several days since I’ve written here. I’ve been in a hospital in Brussels, Belgium with acute appendicitis. I had no access to the internet and for at least a couple of days would not have been able to post anyway.

This has been quite an extraordinary adventure (yes, an adventure) for me; not the least of which was being in a foreign country with a potentially serious diagnoses and with very limited skill in speaking French. Okay, I can say hello, goodbye, good evening, your welcome, please, thank you very much and no. 🙂

I’m doing quite well now and was released from the hospital early this afternoon. Over the next several days, I’ll be posting some of my experiences during my hospital stay. The last few days have been difficult but also blessed in many ways.

Time for some rest. Apparently getting dressed, walking to the cab and then getting settled in my hotel room in Brussels took a lot of energy.


Appreciating the Small Things

Today, Nat talked about appreciating the small blessings in that come our way. It’s really a fantastic skill to learn and then use constantly. I like using this technique because it is a great way to get through tough days. It helps to bring your focus back to things that are more important and can very quickly lift your attitude.

I got to practice appreciating the small things over the last seven days as I dealt with the flu virus.  Here are 20 things I appreciated during my illness:

  1. Calls from my parents.
  2. Calls from Erica.
  3. Calls from my daughter.
  4. Realizing I hadn’t coughed for about 15 minutes straight.
  5. Watching Seinfeld.
  6. Catching up on some reading.
  7. That really great cup of tea.
  8. Not having a fever when I checked it.
  9. The neighbors bringing me homemade chicken soup.
  10. The positive mood of the nurse at the hospital.
  11. Falling snow on my second worst flu day.
  12. Oranges. (Not sure why. They just tasted really good.)
  13. Catching up on some To-Do items.
  14. Playing with my new iPhone.
  15. A hot shower.
  16. Sleeping for six hours straight.
  17. Chatting with my friends in London.
  18. Erica cleaning the snow off my car.
  19. Not having to go to work.
  20. Kleenex.

What are some small things that you appreciate?

Have a great day!


Catching Up on To-Dos

Between periods of coughing today, I decided to try and catch up on some outstanding To-Do items I’ve had for quite some time. I know I should be completely resting, but I get antsy after awhile and have to do something.

So, I decided to be productive while recuperating. I picked things that I could do from the couch. It worked. I got a number of things accomplished and was able to check them off my enormous list. It helped me focus on positive things today. I felt much better because of it.

There was one other bright moment. Erica brought me a bunch of food, so I wouldn’t have to get out. I was in dire need. Thanks Erica!


Definite Improvement

I can definitely feel that I’m on the way to getting over this flu. Today was much better than the very low point that yesterday ended up being. I took it easy all day, which was quite easy to do. No real work required. 🙂

A nice bonus for the day was that it snowed almost the entire time. For me, there’s nothing like freshly falling snow to make me feel better. It definitely kept my attitude up and combined with actually feeling better my hope was at an all time high.

I look forward to tomorrow and how much better I’ll be.

Hope your day is going even better!


Down for the Count

Well, I thought I was feeling bad yesterday until I woke up this morning. Wow. It’s amazing how fast things can change. I had to make a visit to the hospital today for some badly needed help.

I could find dozens of things to complain about with this flu, but how would that help me. It wouldn’t. I would only feel worse.

So, I focus on the fact that I feel a little better than this morning. That gives me hope.

Back to bed. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.


Getting Intimate With the Flu Bug

I left work early yesterday because I was feeling very run down. Over the next two hours my state of health declined dramatically. I could barely walk and was coughing continuously which lasted through the night. I typically don’t get the flu. I do pick up other respiratory infections here and there but rarely the flu.

This one is a whopper. I could hardly believe how fast I went down. I’m sure that I speak for everyone, ” I don’t like being sick.” So, I find it challenging to keep my attitude high during those times when I’m physically sick.

I do try really hard though. I watch humorous shows on the television or play some DVDs. I focus on relaxing through each moment and not getting caught up in my symptoms. That’s the hardest for me. I’m getting better though.

This is a short post tonight. I need to go take a nap. 🙂


Dealing with a Cold in the Cold

Like everybody else, when I don’t know what else to do, I seem to go in for catching colds. – George Jean Nathan

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. – Irish Proverb

Well, the temperature currently is 8oF (-13oC) and it is expected to drop to 4oF (-15oC) during the night. Bitter cold. Best to stay inside. I’m doing that mainly because I’ve contracted a small cold and have been feeling a bit “under the weather” the last 3 days.

I used to be quite a complainer when I was sick, but I’ve gotten better over the years. Now, I really try hard to keep my attitude high, laugh a lot, talk with friends and do fun things. It’s a much better experience than in the past. 🙂

So, my day consisted of surfing the net, playing the guitar, buying some remedies for cold symptoms and relaxing all day. I always wonder if this is my body telling me to slow down, stop doing so much and rest. I usually get the message at that point.

I followed the Irish proverb above; laughed and got some rest. I need to do some more.

Have a good day!


Lenses of Our Lives

I had my first yoga lesson today. This is part of my new effort to take more care of myself and manage my stress. I choose yoga because it is really good at connecting mind, body and spirit.

During today’s lesson I learned a lot about myself and had some interesting realizations. While doing two postures I had a strong feeling that I couldn’t really do them very well, because my muscles were so tight; hamstrings and upper back to be exact.

My instructor could tell what I was saying in my mind. She told me that we all have many lenses when evaluating what we can and cannot do. I’ve talked about this topic before but I liked her slightly different perspective.

She proceeded to tell me mine. I had preconceived ideas about how far I could stretch my hamstrings. She also told me that I was thinking if the exercise was hard to do on my right side than it will most certainly be hard on the left. These thoughts were preventing me from completely experiencing the yoga position and therefore getting the full benefit. She proceeded to show my how my ideas were incorrect. In fact I was able to do much more than I had anticipated by her bringing this to my attention.

We do the same thing in life. It really is important to be vigilant about keeping an open mind. Most of us have so many lenses to view the world and ourselves that they become habits. These habitual thought patterns become unconscious. So, it’s important to continue to look at how we view the world which will help remove our lenses and be more open.

Have a great day!