Pilar Gerasimo shares her top-10 list from the “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy.” I’m a fan of Rilke’s wise advice to “live in the questions.” But lately, ever since we launched our popular “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy” app, I am getting one question that always leaves me flummoxed: Of all 101 Ways, what’s your favorite? The problem is, there’s no way I can choose just one. I love them all. And so that question keeps nagging at me — but in a nice way.
Do you know how they keep the Golden Gate Bridge looking so neat and snazzy? They paint it a lot. “Continuously,” according to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation Web site. Basically, no sooner do they finish painting from one end to the other then they start back at the beginning and paint it all over again. The corrosive salt air eats away at the surface otherwise, so they just have to keep at it. Year in, year out. I find it works much the same way with clutter. I am forever decluttering — my files, my closet, my purse, my kitchen counter, my entry, my car — and no sooner do I complete one pass than it’s time to begin another.
Authoritative organizations may not be your best source of advice. As a health journalist, I rely a great deal on expert opinions and authoritative resources. But I've also learned to get second and third opinions, to do my own research, to follow the money and to consult my own common sense and experience. Basically, I've learned to question authority (which is No. 50 of the 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy). Because what I've discovered is that experts and authorities of all kinds are often mistaken -- sometimes about important stuff. And in my experience, they are wrong more often than they will admit to being in doubt.
These days, frankly, if you’re not at least a little concerned about your health, you’re probably not paying attention. The first time I heard that derisive phrase — the “worried well” — my initial reaction was, “Uh oh, I’m pretty sure I fall into that category!” My second response was, “Go ahead, make fun of us if you want. I suspect we’ll have the last laugh.” The worried well is a blanket term that describes people who are basically quite healthy, yet continually concerned about their health. But in my view, we fall into two rather distinct categories: (1) those inclined to believe they’re sick, want a pill for every ill, and who eagerly pursue every last body scan, diagnosis and prescription drug they can get their hands on; and (2) those who are intent on proactively maintaining and optimizing their well-being (even if other people make fun of them for it).
We've been taught that following through on New Year’s resolutions is all about willpower. But it turns out that willingness may be a far more valuable ally. One popular characterization of insanity describes it as "doing the same thing over and over, expecting to get a different result." And at no time of the year is that particular brand of insanity more evident than right now -- the dreaded resolutions season. Every January, there's a lot of talk about the right and wrong ways to go about making change. Techniques and strategies abound (another serving of S.M.A.R.T. goals, anyone?), but most of them share a common underlying assumption: That changing your life is an act of will.
Until we better master the art of cultivating renewable, sustainable health and vitality for ourselves, we’ll have a hard time respecting the principles on which all sustainable energy production depends.
Earlier this year, I introduced our “Get It Done!” issue of Experience Life magazine (March 2011), with a letter warning against the dangers of doing too much. A bit counterintuitive, perhaps, but as a person prone to overdoing, I feel it was, um — the right thing to do. Indeed, while I follow most of our magazine’s excellent advice most of the time, the piece that poses the biggest challenge for me personally is not the healthy eating, nor the regular exercise. It’s that pesky life-balance bit: setting boundaries around work, making time for play and relaxation, and recognizing that I can’t possibly get absolutely everything done all the time — certainly not to my own satisfaction.
Witnessing my father’s survival of a near-fatal accident convinced me that we are all making life-or-death decisions every single day.... View Article