Where did the time go?

How many times have you asked yourself that question?  There are many events in life that can spark reflection about how quickly time goes by.  Children grow up.  Milestone birthdays with elaborate celebrations come and go.   We lose someone we love too soon.  We look in the mirror and see an extra wrinkle, dark circles or gray hair.  These past two weeks, I’ve been reminded of how valuable our time is and how quickly time goes by.  My reminder was the loss of a friend.

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Steve “Grimey” Grimes.  I got to be a part of his funeral service and was further blessed by listening to his many family and friends talk about their fun time with Grimey over his full 38 year life.  Today, when I reflect on the past two weeks, I have a better appreciation of time.  We measure time in seconds, hours, days, weeks, months and years.  When I think about these measurements now, I’ve decided to change my mind about how I view time.  When looking at Steve’s life, quantity does not define it.  He lived a full life.  Everyday.  As his uncle said yesterday, he was a passionate man.  His passion for life was pretty unparalleled actually.  Many questioned it at times – myself included – because he didn’t always passionately pursue the things others thought he should pursue at the time others thought he should pursue it.  He did things on Grimey time.   When I think about that now, I actually think he was pretty inspirational.  His life path had a LOT of forks in the road.  He was on the path of an elite baseball pitcher when a rare form of Leukemia interrupted his life.  And the forks in the road that came as a consequence of the treatment for Leukemia – those twists and turns are unimaginable for most people at any point in life – but especially a 19 year old. Even with all the challenges, this guy had a laugh and a smile for anyone at pretty much anytime.  He could talk to anyone.  He could be both awkward and genuine.  And the guy followed his own path to the fullest.  Do I wish we all would have had MANY more years with him?  Absolutely. However, I think his life was pretty darn full.  I can’t imagine Steve every having wondered “Where did the time go?”

Maybe there are lessons we can take from Grimey.  For one, none of us are every promised tomorrow.  So when we find ourselves making a mental or physical list of things to do, shouldn’t we have the mindset of doing the things we are passionate about today.  Secondly, we really spend a lot of time worrying about the small stuff (that feels like HUGE stuff at the time).  What does any of that worrying ever get us?  Instead, when there is a task ahead of us, why not spend that “worry energy” jumping into our plan of attack. Lastly, Steve found fun in everything.  If only we could get our mental attitude in that mindset, wouldn’t even our most boring tasks become a little more enjoyable?  Wouldn’t we find ways to align our lives in ways that we were passionate about? Wouldn’t we smile and laugh and develop that contagious positive energy that fuels a great life that doesn’t need the constraints imposed by the concept of time?

Next time you find yourself asking “Where did the time go?”, what will your answer be?  I want my answer to be this…I spend my time loving, laughing and living in this moment.  And all these little moments add up to a really great life – a life that no concept of time can ever measure.

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The thumb has no report

I am reminded of the phrase “the thumb has no report” today when thinking about the complexity of the mind/body relationship.  I have a friend who is a highly trained orthopedic surgeon.  She and I would discuss at length the mind/body relationship because we both understand deeply that there cannot be a separation of parts when dealing with any human condition or injury.  One day while doing our own internal body surveys, she says outloud, “the thumb has no report.”  We burst into laughter for several minutes before continuing to check in with our bodies for any signs of tension or distress.  Looking back at this funny little interaction, I am reminded that while, in the moment, there was nothing particularly interesting about that part of the body, the thumb actually had a useful role in that body scan.  We both had busy and sometimes stressful jobs and we NEEDED the laugh.  Now as I teach my patients how to better listen to their bodies, I am reminded that even in silence we learn something about ourselves.  Maybe next time you sit still and listen to what your body needs you will get a loud PAY ATTENTION TO ME signal.  Maybe you will get silence or the urge to giggle or a thought will randomly pop into your head when scanning some random area of your body for information.  If it’s a thought, write it down.  If it’s a giggle, let it out.  If it’s silence, breathe and sit in it.  Just the 2-3 minute routine of paying attention to your body and mind can bring about insights you never imagined and have the GREAT benefit of addressing symptoms of problems before louder symptoms occur.  So get going…start your scan…what does you thumb have to report today?

Dr. Google or Dr. You

With the popularity of Dr. Google and Dr. Wikipedia today, most of my patients come into the office having an idea of what their diagnosis is likely to be.  Dr. Google and Dr. Wikipedia, even Dr. Mayo Clinic and Dr. WebMD, provide us with important information about what might be going on with our bodies.  I think these resources are nice to have to give us an overview of different health conditions, different laboratory tests and even different treatments.  But do you know who the greatest resource of information about your health condition is?

YOU!

Every human being has an internal guidance system that tells them when things are going well and when things are not.  Many times we forget this important aspect of self.    We look outside ourselves for the answers instead of inside.  We ignore early indicators that something is wrong.

Our bodies have indicators that we often pass off as being normal.  I hear the phrase “normal aches and pains” all the time in my office.  It’s so difficult to bite my tongue when I hear that phrase – many times I don’t.  Pain IS NOT normal.  It is our body telling us that something needs to happen differently.  Sometimes the thing that needs to happen isn’t the top of our priority list such as exercise, stretching, de-stressing, eating well, sleeping, taking prescribed medications and supplements, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, talking about our feelings, etc.  But…in most situations, there is something that we can do to stop the pain cycle.  Think of your body like you would your car for a moment.  When the gas light turns on, if you ignore it what happens?  What about that service needed light?  Tire pressure light?  Check engine light?  How long will you ignore these indicators?

Your body’s indicator lights might not flash or beep constantly at you but they are there if you are paying attention.

How is your energy? How often do you feel rested? Do you have pain? Are you comfortable when you sleep/sit/stand/exercise? Do you have “normal” headaches? (Another phrase I just love to hear.)  Are you retaining water, gaining weight, losing weight… This list could really go on and on.

I’m not suggesting we all become hypochondriacs and believe every body indicator is a sign of a disease in progress.  However, I do believe that if we pay attention and take care of the small indicators, we can prevent many diseases from occurring or progressing.

My challenge for you this week is this…Check in with your body.  Figure out what questions you need to ask yourself – what are the indicator lights you are ignoring? What are you willing to do to help your health and prevent future disease?

 

Breaking through the weight loss plateau

Getting started on a weight loss program can be overwhelming.  There are so many choices out there.  Some are certainly quick weight loss fads and others are a more balanced and long-term lifestyle change approach to health.  The purpose of this short blog is to address that looming “is this worth it?” mindset that happens during the weight loss journey.  The truth is…there are fairly easy and relatively inexpensive ways to keep you going on your weight loss journey (or get you started on one that works for you and keep you going on it).

I would say 75-80% of my patients who ask me about weight loss have already started their weight loss journey but have reached that annoyingly frustrating weight loss plateau.  For many, when a plateau is reached, the first action is to CUT more calories or foods out of their diet.  This is exactly the opposite thing to do if you want to be successful at getting those pounds off, building lean muscle mass and ultimately staying at your goal weight when you reach it.

My patients and I work through their weight loss plateaus primarily by doing two things: removing (or at least decreasing) any stresses causing interference with their body’s ability to have an optimal metabolism AND using specific pressure points in the body to boost metabolism, decrease cravings and promote healthy digestion.  So many times the body starts to actually store fat because we get to the point where the body thinks it is in starvation.  The body is made to survive.  It does that by increasing stress hormones and increasing fat storage.

Have you reached your healthy weight goals or do you need a little help to get through your weight loss plateau?

I am here to help!  Weight loss sessions typically only require about 10 minutes of your time and only cost $10 per session.  If you are ready for a change, go online to http://www.skinnerchiropracticcenter.com and schedule your 10 minute weight loss visit.

When everything is new…

Much excitement exists around the “New”.  For many at this time of year, it’s New Year’s Resolutions – a time for new goals, increased effort and greater investment (in those things we value such as family, community, career, health, etc).  For some the “New” lasts for months and months while for others maybe a few days or weeks.  When asking a variety of people why they believe New Year’s Resolutions don’t last as long as people intend, I get a diverse set of answers with one common thread –   People Get Stressed! Something else becomes a priority and then life becomes unbalanced and stressful.  Life happens and as we all have certainly experienced, change is the only constant.  So the question becomes – “What can we do to keep that ‘New’ excitement momentum when the stressors of life start to get to us?”

Here are 3 recommendations:

  1. Whenever possible when making a new goal, plan out potential obstacles and create a variety of options for how to navigate the obstacles.
  2. Enlist help.  This is a MAJOR reason that life becomes unbalanced.  We tend to not want to ask for and take in honest feedback when we get it.
  3. Use some traditional stress management techniques: prioritize, eat nutritiously, get adequate sleep, exercise, take 15 minutes a day of “me time”, do something enjoyable every single day, laugh, breath, sing, dance…you get the picture.

You might be asking why a chiropractor is writing about stress…

First – Stress is universal.  I have to do things daily to manage stress at a healthy level.  Luckily – I have learned over the years to do the above and for the most part, it WORKS.  Secondly, I GET ADJUSTED.  I have learned that there are enormous stress reduction benefits from chiropractic techniques.

Did you know…There are techniques which require no “cracking” – really no force at all – that are focused on balancing the autonomic nervous system.  These techniques keep the systems of the body in balance which in simple terms means this…Healthy elimination of the physical effects of stress, improved ability to physically and emotionally cope with stressors, and…LESS ILLNESS which happens more frequently in individuals experiencing high levels of stress.

Maybe a low stress New idea in 2016 is to give chiropractic a try.  Ask your chiropractor if they will use a technique to balance your autonomic nerve system to help you manage stress in a healthy way!

3 SIMPLE Ways to Improve a Monday (or any day)

Starting off the week just gets easier and easier.  Yes – you read that correctly.  In the past year I’ve discovered many things about myself, about starting a business, about finding my niche and about keeping things simple.  Like many, I always tend to be drawn the the complicated.  I believe I am hard-wired to excel best in complicated environments with complicated dynamics.  As a child, teenager and young adult, my energy in life went primarily towards two things – music and sports.  I wasn’t content with playing just one instrument – I had to play them all and I had to challenge the most difficult songs and as many competitions as I could.  I would not “just pick one.”  No way!  As an athlete, I had to play every sport available to me.  I even ran cross country at one point and trust me – I am NOT a distance runner.  Ultimately, I focused mostly on softball.  But, of course, I had to be a catcher despite my small stature because I had to be involved in every aspect of the game at all times.  This served me well though because college softball paid off well during my undergraduate education.  So how does all this apply to keeping things simple?  This is what I’ve learned most this past year.

1) Keeping it simple means DOING WHAT I LOVE.  Even when it may seem to the outside word that it’s “difficult”, “challenging”, even “exhausting.”  Doing something that I love everyday – no matter how “complicated” – gives me LOTS of energy and lots of calm at the same time.  It’s who I am.  Don’t fight who you are – that takes energy.  Instead embrace it! So to improve your Monday (or any day), do something that you love.

2) Keeping it simple means QUIETING THE INNER CRITIC.  We all have thoughts that jump into our brains at random times throughout the day.  Find a phrase that works for you and stop those thoughts IMMEDIATELY when you recognize them.  If you pay attention, and you will now that this concept is in your awareness, then you will recognize this inner critic voice and you will put it on mute much more frequently.  I used to have some specific phrases I would use to quiet the critic such as: “I am enough.”  “I am talented.”  “I am…”.  Now I’ve even simplified this process.  Now I just see a picture of myself hitting a MUTE button.  And I laugh internally as I feel empowered by my true self.

3) Keeping it simple means SPEAKING IN GRATITUDE.  Words are incredibly powerful.  They have so much physical, emotional and spiritual energy.  I understand the muscular and neurological components that go into the the formation of a thought and conversion into a spoken word.  It’s complicated.  It’s also a simple thing that we do many times a day without conscious awareness.  Make a commitment to speak one gratitude at the start and the end of everyday.  I promise you will be amazed at how this simplifies even the most challenging times.  It changes our internal energy which simply changes everything.  SIMPLY.

Give it a try.  Make a simple.  And ENJOY!!!

Weekly update

Mental Attitude: Learning to Play Music Improves Kids’ Brains.

MRI scans of children who received musical training showed greater thickness in the areas of the brain that influence working memory, self-control, organization, and planning for the future. The research team claims their findings “underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.” Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2014 Health Alert:

Cancer Death Rates in the US Continue to Drop.

Death rates from cancer in the United States (US) continue to fall (down 22% since a peak in 1991), according to the annual report from the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS argues that continuing the fight against cancer across all segments of the population could lead to even greater reduction in cancer related deaths. Dr. John R. Seffrin, the CEO of ACS adds, “The change may be inevitable, but we can still lessen cancer’s deadly impact by making sure as many Americans as possible have access to the best tools to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.” American Cancer Society, January 2015

Diet: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!

A 24-year study including 9,112 Japanese men and women found that those who ate the most servings of fruits and vegetables each day had a 24% lower risk for total cardiovascular disease, a 20% lower risk for stroke, and a 43% lower risk for coronary heart disease when compared with their peers who ate the fewest daily servings of fruits and vegetables. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2015

Exercise: Daily Physical Activity Helps Maintain Vascular Health.

Researchers have found that reducing daily physical activity for even a few days can lead to decreased function in the inner lining of blood vessels in the legs of healthy, young individuals. However, their work demonstrates that it’s possible to start the repair process by walking at least 10,000 steps a day. Study co-author Dr. Paul Fadel adds, “The best treatment is to become more active, and our research lends proof to that concept. If you do not realize how harmful sitting around all day and not doing any activity is to your health, this proves it.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, December 2014

Chiropractic: Lumbar Manipulation & Exercise for Knee Pain?

A new case study supports the use of lumbar spinal manipulation for anterior knee pain and quadriceps weakness. A 20-year-old man who underwent ACL reconstruction of the left knee with continued knee pain and quadriceps weakness presented for chiropractic care. He was prescribed exercises to improve his quadriceps strength and received side-lying rotational spinal manipulation. After a course of eight weekly treatments, he returned to pain-free participation in recreational sports. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, December 2014

Wellness/Prevention: Water Coolers at School Encourage Students to Drink More.

When water dispensers were installed in a few New York City schools, students drank three times more water at lunchtime than students at schools that did not install water coolers in their lunch rooms. Researchers found that 80% of students noticed the water dispensers, two-thirds of those who noticed them actually used them, and 50% who noticed the coolers actually drank more water at lunchtime. Officials plan to install water dispensers in over 1,000 New York City public schools. American Journal of Public Health, December 2014

Quote: “It is better to be alone than in bad company.” ~ George Washington