This section addresses areas of personal choice that help us live a better and more enjoyable life. Here you'll find articles about choices relating to health/exercise, honesty/kindness, alcohol/drugs, handling stress, managing anger and being helpful to others to name a few. These fundamental areas of choice define us as a person and determine how we conduct much of our day-to-day living. Each article offers facts, examples and ideas for improving youself. Read the articles in this section to arm yourself with information that will better equip you to live a healthier and more productive life.
What’s not to love about exercise?
Plenty, right? It makes you hot and sweaty. It takes up time when you could be on Facebook or playing your favorite computer game. And it’s not very convenient in the dead of winter or in the heat of summer.
So, you’re ready to embrace exercise as your new best friend. But can you keep the friendship going? All those perks—disease prevention, weight control, heart and lung protection, energy and more—won’t last if you don’t maintain the friendship. Dr. Mark Stengler, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, warns, “If you abruptly stop exercising, within a couple of weeks you lose most of the benefits that you gained.”
“Thanks for dinner, Mom. It was good.”
Nancy hears those words from her 16-year-old son almost every night of the week. Whether it’s just a turkey sandwich or a holiday turkey dinner, he never fails to express his thanks to her. Like most people, Nancy taught her son the importance of saying thank you from an early age. But why is this habit so important? Why do people say thank you anyway?
Everyone knows saying thank you is the polite thing to do. It acknowledges kindness shown to you, expresses appreciation for the other person, and might even provide a bit of inspiration or motivation for that person. But have you ever thought about how saying thanks affects you?
Pete needed a job. But he bristled when his dad told him he had arranged an interview for him. “I’ll find my own job,” Pete said.
Molly’s husband called her to the kitchen phone. “I’m dialing my mom,” he said. “We just got a check from her in the mail.” A feeling of dread washed over Molly, and she went upstairs, pretending not to hear.
Clearly, Molly and Pete had trouble receiving kindness in these situations. Perhaps they needed a “gratitude upgrade.” How about you?
Imagine you’re relaxing on the couch sipping a tall glass of your favorite soda. You open the peanut-chocolate candy bar you bought on the way home from work and take a big bite. “Ah! This is the life,” you tell yourself.
But if you learned that you were about to consume a whopping 68 grams of sugar (39 from the soda, 29 from your candy bar)—and if you discovered the danger you were getting into as a result—you might not think it was quite “the life” you originally thought.
Imagine you’re sitting on the couch, relaxing after a hard day at work. You’ve certainly earned a snack. But you’re trying to live a healthier life and make better food choices. So instead of a candy bar, you’re having a cereal bar, and in place of a soda, you’re drinking bottled iced tea. “This is the life,” you tell yourself. “I’m having a great-tasting snack, but it’s healthy, too!” You feel you’ve made a wise choice. But have you?
Imagine you’ve gone two days without sugar. You’re determined to change your diet and break the sugar habit. But at the end of the day you’re exhausted and irritable, and you’ve developed a splitting headache. When you see that someone left chocolate chip muffins on the counter, you let the temptation overwhelm you.
How do you react when your child gets ill or when his grades begin to fall? What happens when he throws a temper tantrum? Do these events increase your stress level? Of course, they do. Interestingly, each of these events is a possible sign that your child is also suffering from stress.
As 18-year-old Zachary drove down the road one night, his chest began hurting, his pulse raced, and he had trouble catching his breath. I’m having a heart attack, he thought. He wisely pulled over and called 911. As it turned out, Zach was having a panic attack.