Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘health

Little Love

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So, yesterday’s lesson was that hens might lay a “Fairy Egg” that has no yolk and is a fraction of the usual size. I had no idea. Funny how easily we jump to our own conclusions on what a situation might be, while being entirely off base.

I was also convinced that our property had been walloped by damaging wind and flooding rain Tuesday night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Apparently, my intuition is a little out of calibration.

That doesn’t surprise me. There are many disparate issues rattling around in my wee little brain of late, and I’ve not stopped to clear thoughts and ground energies in quite a while. If I can improve my sleep schedule and achieve a better feeling about several challenges taxing my peace of mind, I could focus better on preparations for a week of vacation in the great outdoors. That will do me some good.

Then I just need the government to start functioning in a productive way, the climate to reverse this race toward disaster, the human race to get over its ugly in-fighting, and love to fill the world. Wouldn’t that be nice?

What if we actually learned from mistakes and never repeated them?

What if people purposely took action to invert a pyramid of increasing mental and physical ills and converted it to a pyramid of increasing health and wellness?

What if governments and societies never allowed interference from financial entities (corporations or individuals) that seek to influence solely for their own gain at the expense of any others?

Fifty years ago this month, Jackie DeShannon sang it.

Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see 

Send some love out into the world today. And while you are at it, put a little in your own heart, too.

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Hippocampal Neurogenesis

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Secret weapons. I have two of them. One is love. Okay, that one’s not so secret. The other one is my new favorite phrase: hippocampal neurogenesis. Isn’t that just the best? It’s fun to say and it describes the mental health benefits available from exercising.

You can read about the details in this March 2018 Psychology Today article, “How Your Mental Health Reaps the Benefits of Exercise,” by Sarah Gingell, Ph.D. 

I just discovered a link to the article earlier this week, and the marvel of new growth of neurons in the hippocampus has me giddy over this hidden benefit of exercising. In particular, the insights of these three paragraphs:

Evidence is accumulating that many mental health conditions are associated with reduced neurogenesis in the hippocampus. The evidence is particularly strong for depression. Interestingly, many anti-depressants — that were once thought to work through their effects on the serotonin system — are now known to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

What does this all mean? Theories suggest that newborn hippocampal neurons are likely to be particularly important for storing new memories and keeping old and new memories separate and distinct. Thus, neurogenesis allows a healthy level of flexibility in the use of existing memories, and in the flexible processing of new information.

Much mental ill health is characterized by a cognitive inflexibility that keeps us repeating unhelpful behaviors, restricts our ability to process or even acknowledge new information, and reduces our ability to use what we already know to see new solutions or to change. It is therefore plausible that exercise leads to better mental health in general, through its effects on systems that increase the capacity for mental flexibility.

Exercise increases blood flow to our brains, bringing oxygen and nutrients to create new neurons in the hippocampus. As a result, we are rewarded with increased ability to process new information, and deal with change because of increased mental flexibility.

That means a lot to me because I can look back at some of the struggles I dealt with under the weight of depression and vividly recognize a particular inflexibility of my thinking, as well as an aversion to the stresses of change.

Today, I am all about hippocampal neurogenesis. You might say, it’s my healthy drug of choice.

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Mental Health

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Every day. A quest for optimal health is an every day endeavor. Just as I make conscious choices about the food I eat and the exercises I do, I also tend to my mental health every single day.

May is mental health awareness month. Pay attention!

I am eternally grateful for the professional treatment I have received, and the educational information I’ve been given, to successfully resolve a depression that negatively colored my perspective for much of my early life. Today I enjoy the ability to more fully enjoy good moments, and recover much more quickly from bad ones.

Mental illnesses are treatable. They deserve the same healthy attention that our physical illnesses get.

Mental illness deserves to be free of stigma. Learning to be comfortable discussing mental disorders does wonders for both those of us who experience them and those around us who don’t. With a statistic of 1 in 5 Americans affected by a mental health condition, nearly everyone has a connection that deserves attention free of stigma.

Choose health. Optimal health. Mind, body, and soul.

Break the stigma.

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Conversation

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how do you have
the conversation
that is easily avoidable
because some are uncomfortable
about things inevitable
saying out loud
the worst that could happen
along with wishes they might not
can cloud the visual
of events in our minds
that haven’t happened yet
but will in due time
precious time
to crown a life well lived
with love and affection
establishing peace
understanding
forgiveness
resolution
celebration
demonstrating to the world
an extraordinary bookend
to the miracle
of birth

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Choose Twice

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In celebrating the accomplishment of my 10-years of posting daily, I am somewhat randomly exploring the “Previous Somethings” archive in search of anything that might catch my fancy. One of the first challenges I have discovered is dealing with a bit of embarrassment over plenty of what I am finding. Who wrote this stuff!?

Oh. I did.

Skip that one. And that one, too.

One of the features of “Relative Something” that evolved pretty early on was resorting to two-word post titles. On one hand, it took a lot of thinking out of the process of deciding what to title my posts. When writing every single day, trying to come up with a worthy title over and over again can become an inordinate burden. Limiting it to just two words simplified the task nicely.

However, when I started down the path of this feature, I didn’t realize how soon I would reach a point where I was coming up with titles that I’d already used. Most of the time, I make changes until I come up with something fresh, but as I’ve approached this tenth anniversary, I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter so much.

You may have noticed that I differentiate my poetry posts by using a single word title. It’s a lot harder avoiding repetition when reduced to one word.

Here are two poems that I posted under the identical title, “Choose.”

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From August, 2013:

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freedom
to choose health
in the face of other options
takes effort
that is rewarded
incrementally
sometimes infinitesimally
over time
do the math
not the science
that it takes
making rockets fly
simple addition
day after day
for months at a time
healthy emerges
for goodness sakes
like green on the grass
running in a river
rounding the rocks
headed toward forever
where life is esteemed
and success of good health
the spectacular garnish
that feeds on itself
in magical ways
running and jumping
with joyous persuasion
returning investments
of health options chosen
turn off that tv
go do something else
break down that routine
be someone else
that unlikely person
you never felt could
emerge from your shell
stuck there for good
just a choice
to be made
inside the mind
there’s reward to be nabbed
free for the choosing
life filled with promise
of better than good
outside the lines
of everyday drab
just beyond reach
of those who don’t try
it’s easy to grasp
for the bold few who do
exercise free choice
to choose better health
not just for a day
but from now on
days-months-years at a time

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.From October, 2017:

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

March 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

Heading Somewhere

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Apparently, if my recent dreams are any indication, there is somewhere I’m trying to reach, but circumstances keep delaying my readiness to depart. But, isn’t that just an inherent existential dilemma? Why are we here?

It’s the journey, right? Not just the destination.

I love a good adventure, but the truth is, I’m not all that fond of traveling. One common thread of people’s stories about their travels are the hassles and struggles faced along the way. Getting through airport security, navigating the unknowns of destination ports, communicating through language barriers.

It’s all part of the package of traveling. Choosing to see those parts of the journey in a more positive light than as just being hassles, goes a long way toward helping a person accept them as pleasurable, as in, a puzzle to be solved. If you like puzzling, I mean.

If you are not traveling, you are still headed somewhere. Are the everyday challenges being navigated, hassles? Or are they puzzles being solved?

Are we trying to get ready to depart, or are these little conflicts actually the journey, itself?

Where the heck are we heading, anyway?

To a better place. Free from pains, both physical and mental. We are looking for peace and love.

Don’t just be a consumer of those commodities, though. Be a distributor, as well.

Yesterday, after my well-health check-up physical with my doctor, I needed to visit our local pharmacy. To my surprise, I was offered the option of trying out a short-term regimen of an oral corticosteroid to see if it would settle the lung congestion left over from my recent cold. This, in contrast to the usual long-term (and much more expensive) daily inhaled asthma treatment.

Without thinking fast enough, I let them transmit the prescription to an Ellsworth pharmacy that Cyndie recently discovered was not functioning well. They are understaffed, overburdened, and may be headed out of business.

We phoned to see if they had my common prescription ready for pickup. So far, so good.

They’ve closed the drive through (because it’s too cold outside?), so I had to go in. I was not surprised to see a queue of visibly frustrated customers waiting. The angst in the vicinity was palpable.

Armed with prior warning, I was not flapped by this. I brought love and peace. Calmness. Understanding. Smiling. My energy smoothed some of their rough edges, while I accepted the process of waiting.

I enjoyed an added bonus of being able to find someone on my way out, and tell them they had forgotten their insurance card, which I had witnessed the staff fretting over.

Where are we heading?

Oh, yeah. To peace and love.

And better health, too. What an adventure!

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Twenty Years

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Six months into 2019, I will reach another decade milestone of birthdays. It will mark the entrance to my fourth life span, as measured by my twenty-year segments of life. My perspective goes like this: From birth to age twenty, it seems like a mind-boggling amount life experiences.

We know almost nothing when born, basically starting with little in the way of consciousness, then progressing to a fully functioning adult –give or take a few/some/many skills; individual results obviously vary. Using those first twenty years of life as a benchmark, the changes in the next twenty years aren’t so dramatic.

But here’s the key: It is still the same span of time in number of years.

If it felt like a lifetime of experiences to get to twenty-years-old, then use that same reference to view life from twenty to forty. Don’t devalue that second span of twenty years just because of how much you already knew when it started.

Same thing again when reaching sixty. You have lived from zero to twenty, three times by sixty years old.

Young people may naturally perceive small differences between people in their sixties or eighties. But considering it from the twenty-year reference, that difference is another lifetime.

Last fall, my health insurance provider mailed me a notice that it was time for my annual physical. You know, that annual physical that I get around to every four years or so. As the calendar rolled over to the new year, the one where I will turn sixty, I felt motivated to make the appointment.

Now that I’ve survived that nuisance cold I picked up over the holidays, I’m in great condition for a well-health check. Problem is, I don’t want to bring up any symptoms of aging for fear the doctor will want to sell me a battalion of pharmacological solutions.

Among nuisance details like age spots on my skin, and declining testosterone induced nose/ear/eyebrow hair growth, I’m recognizing new and increasing signs that my oft-sprained ankle from years of sporting activity is sending very arthritic aching signals lately.

The ankle pangs provide a compliment to the arthritic thumb pain that my hand doctor discouraged me surgically treating when I sought advice on it after the family trait showed up in my left hand about a decade ago.

Being uninterested in long-term prescription treatments, I would like to delay a standard routine of osteoarthritis pain medicines as long as possible.

I’ll focus my next twenty-year life span toward optimal hydration, controlled sugar intake, healthy meals (portion control!), regular planking and stretching, clean air, positive mental focus, regular dental checkups/eye exams, interacting with our animals, and sending love to everyone, in attempt to manage the ravages of time.

Who knows? Maybe in another twenty years, they will have perfected the art of genetically re-engineering epigenetic changes or senescent cell management, and aging will be a thing of the past.

Twenty years seems like a lifetime of experience, though, doesn’t it?

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