February Health blog

My 4 year old grandson, Odin, is a funny little guy.  At times he is fearless and easily navigates the climbing wall and at other times, when he gets frustrated, he melts down and starts to cry, saying he can’t do it.  Today Carrie and I took off the training wheels on the bicycle we have here at the house and within 20 seconds he was riding around our driveway, me running beside him, but him completely doing it on his own.

Here comes the real learning curve, however.  As soon as he fell over, or couldn’t restart, or banged into the wall, he would get frustrated, claim he “can’t do this” and then start to cry.  Carrie and I would cajole him and reason with him and he’d stop and try again, but it was a frustrating period of time working with him to develop confidence and for him not give up so easily.

Lately, I am having more and more conversations with adults who are getting frustrated and thinking of giving up, just like Odin, and I understand, this pandemic has created too many things to be frustrated about and with, many of them outside our control.  This is where I ask you “what strategies do you employ to calm yourself, inspire yourself and center yourself.

For many of us, it is finding solace and peace in Jesus Christ; for some it is in their yoga and meditation practices and training; for others it is in music or communing with nature.  Most of you who are my patients might remember that I asked you what kind of animal you would be if you weren’t human.  I ask this question to get you to imagine how you would move if you weren’t human, but rather as a cat or dolphin or bird.  There is grace, ease, fluidity, strength, power and the ability to relax in all nature’s animals and I call upon you to tap into your inner “animal” and get back to what is natural, in order to calm your mind, muscles and psyche.

We humans have become afraid, intolerant, aloof, insensitive, depressed and poor stewards of this world and of each other; but if humankind disappeared from the face of this earth, guess what?  The earth would go on prospering without us.  I think we should be taking more lessons from Mother Nature and return to what is natural and pure.

Our best defense against disease is sunlight, vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet, laughter and plenty of sleep.  Our best defense against depression, anxiety and loneliness is caring for one another, walking and playing with each another, (even with social distancing and masks), laughter, showing kindness, grace and patience with everyone we meet (and I know that is a tall order).  However, it starts with each one of us saying one kind word, lending one helping hand, and being quick to forgive and slow to condemn.

We are coming on one year since the beginning of this pandemic and many people have gotten sick, lost their jobs or businesses, and some have lost friends and loved ones, but, how are you doing?  Still hopeful or feeling despair?  Still fearful or more confident?  Feeling lonely or more blessed?  I am inviting you to take the initiative and call someone you haven’t spoken with in a while (I did it last night).  Have coffee with someone, outside, just so you can see each other’s eyes and smile.  You can even call me, I’ll listen, or come on in for some hands-on TLC.  I promise I’ll wash my hands first.

Dr. Ben


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