Gratitude As A Lifestyle, Not A Yearly Event

Today is one week prior to Thanksgiving 2014.  On Facebook, I see the same thing I see every year, people doing the 30 day thankfulness challenge.  I think that’s a great thing, I’m not belittling it.  But, I wonder what about the other 335 days left in the year?  What do we do to cultivate an attitude of gratitude all year round?  Why is it important?  How can we do this?  I’ll explore in the next couple of paragraphs.

Our brains, from cultural exposure or whatever reason, seem to be hardwired to focus on the junk in life.  We look for tabloid stories by default.  We get bummed out by one incident.  We remember much of the sad or stressful times.  Just the fact that our culture has issues with stress indicates we have struggles seeing the good in life.  So we need to take action steps daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  If we don’t, we are doomed to focus on the yucky stuff of life.  Believe me, I know it’s there, but that doesn’t mean we have to zero in on it.  When we do that, it creates a cascade of negative, health defeating physiological changes in our body.  Studies have shown that when we re-live a negative, depressing, bad event in our minds, the same physiological changes that our body underwent when we originally went through the event, occur again.  So, do you want negative hormones like the stress hormone cortisol running rampant in your body?  Or would you prefer feel good hormones like endorphins to dominate?  I’ll take door number 2 Monte!!  It’s vital for optimum health that we work to rewire our brains to see the good that is going on in life and be appreciative of it.

I recommend two simple actions to achieve this.  One is a gratitude journal. I do mine online using the Evernote app.  Every night before I go to bed, the last thing I do is I review my day and type up a minimum of 3 things that I am grateful for from that day (sometimes I’m an overachiever and do 4 or 5). I also write (type) what about that event makes me grateful. In that way I re-live the experience in  my own head. It’s a great way to end the day and a perfect mindset to go to sleep with.  The other step I take is to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier than I need.  I hit the snooze button, but then I go into what I call “Think and Thank” time. I spend the next 10 minutes thinking about things I’m grateful for, sometimes remember those things from the night before.  But the main goal is that I have the right attitude when my feet hit the floor 10 minutes later.

Try those on for size.  Make it a New Year’s Resolution for 2015.  But if you want it to be a habit by 2015, you better start now so that in 6 weeks when January 1, 2015 rolls around, it’s already an installed habit!

Until next time…Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

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The Magic Pill For Health

After spending about 25 years in the health and wellness business, I think I’ve seen just about everything in regards to products.  In the 90’s and early 2000’s I was approached with just about every possible “latest and greatest” health related product.  The claims for so many of these were outlandish, curing anything from an ingrown toenail to an obnoxious mother-in-law (I bought anything that had the latter claim……just kidding).  Many of these products were tied to a multilevel marketing company.  Many of these companies were start ups and that was their claim to fame:  “We’re a ground level opportunity”.  Most of them are gone today, or have morphed into something else after having bad press for one reason or another.

I still see new businesses come online even today with claims of being THE way to weight loss, health and well being etc.  Can I just say, there’s no ONE thing.  Period.  Yes, there are products that can help you lose weight fast.  But as soon as you stop taking said product (and you will stop, I guarantee), you gain the weight back.  And, beyond that, weight loss doesn’t equal health.  The extreme example of this would be an anorexic person, or a starving person in a third world country.  They may be thin, but they’re definitely not healthy.  Thin absolutely DOES NOT mean healthy.

There is no magic pill for health.  There’s no shortcut.  It’s a process.  If you’re unhealthy, it took time to get that way, it will take time to undo the negative effects of your choices.  And there’s the key word, choices.  Daily choices make or break us.  Sure, you can have an oreo cookie on occasion, indulge in pumpkin pie during the holidays.  But those DAILY choices we make create momentum, one way or another.  Everything you put in your mouth moves you either toward health and wellness, or sickness and death.  There’s no zero sum effect.  Remember, if what we eat can make us sick, what we eat can make us well.  And there’s more to optimum health than just eating and exercise, I’ll touch on some of those later.

For now, don’t pursue weight loss, pursue wellness.  Truth.

Until next time….Be well.

Dr. Bruce

Welcome!

So here it is, my blog.  What will it be like?  Will people find it among all the other blogs and sites out there?  Who knows?  Who cares? (hopefully someone).

I plan on making this fun, education with regards to living your best life.  I give personal stories, important studies, advice, common sense, and challenging thoughts on living life in a way that allows us to show up as our highest and best at all times.  Are you game?  I hope so.

Until next time….

Be well!

Dr. Bruce