I'll never qualify for life insurance
When doctors give you a referral to a specialist, I sometimes wonder what they write. I found out recently and was shocked.
It's not as though we don't know our own medical history, but we never see it catalogued as a lifetime of ailments.
Here is what helped me get through fear, anxiety and grief
Our personal recovery from the aftermath of Covid has been framed as the process of coming to grips with "the new normal". But the new normal will be anything but normal. Grieving for what we lost from the pandemic will be everywhere.
Our families, communities and societies will need to be able to restructure within the context of the grieving. That will take courage, the courage to take action. Based on my experience of fear, anxiety and grief here is what helped me understand how to become more resilient.
My wife and I lost a child mid-term. That's immobilising. She subsequently developed a depression so severe that I had to carry her to the toilet from the bed where she lay motionless each day, until I realised that we both needed help. We were lucky enough to later have an IVF baby, although my wife flatlined during the birth. Four and a half hours in the 2 doctors and 3 midwives decided that she needed to be moved to a critical care hospital. But the ambulance declined to take her because they feared that she wouldn't make it. An hour later the flatline turned upwards. Five hours later I took her in a wheelchair to the neonatal intensive care unit where she was able to touch, but hold our baby. Then I drove home to an cold empty house and bed. I was shattered. It haunts me to think about it, but it no longer immobilises me. It helped me understand loss, and joy, and life on the other side - and a few lessons on how to get there.
Here are ten things that I'd like instead
I attended a family funeral yesterday - that of my late brother's adult son. It convinced me that I don't want a funeral celebrant at my funeral. I'm grateful that it gave me space to think about what I do want.
Looking good has become more satisfying than sex
A recent study reported decreases in sexual activity among adults in the US aged 18-44 years (comparing 2000 with 2018). The percentage of 18 to 24-year-old men who were sexually inactive in the past year increased from 18.9% in 2000-2002 to 30.9% in 2016-2018.
That is a 64% increase in men 80 to 24 not having sex in the past year - that is "sexually inactive" meaning not one sexual partner. Similar trends in sexual inactivity appeared among individuals aged 25-34 years but not among individuals aged 35-44 years.
Contentedness doesn’t come from serving yourself, here's how
Feeling good about life when you are 60 translates into an extended healthy life expectancy, according to recent research.
Health is the greatest of gifts, contentedness the best riches; trust is the best of relatives, Nirvana the highest happiness - ANCIENT FAITHS AND MODERN | THOMAS INMAN
For me, the risks far outway the benefits
As economies reopen gyms are reopening, but I won't be taking advantage of the opportunity to reactive my suspended membership.
There will be a second wave of the pandemic, and setting myself up as a high-risk target doesn't appeal to me. It's not that I don't want to go back - I miss the access to the equipment and the discipline of turning up.
Headline: to maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, people must limit their coffees
Drinking too many cups of coffee a day is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), e.g. heart disease and stroke, new research from the University of South Australia reveals.
The world enjoys about three billion cups of coffee every day. We'd hope that we're not poisoning ourselves! If you've ever felt jittery or irritable after one cup too many, then you are edging on the dangers found by the researchers.
I don’t feel jittery or irritable but I do drink more than the recommended number of cups daily. All things considered, I probably won’t cut back.
The answers you're seeking will reveal themselves
About 25 years ago I chose to go to Japan to a Vipassana meditation retreat. I experienced something that I never imagined possible - the experience of the mind and body as one.
To reach that experience takes a tremendous effort - not just 10 days in silence but 10 days with a silent conscious mind. And it takes a big daily commitment to keep it going. I later found a far simpler alternative.
Our brain keeps our stiff muscles contracted even while we're asleep
While we are all reacting differently to the pandemic and lockdown, I'm hearing more and more often of people having headaches. I've had a few myself, and I've rarely had them before.
Aside from underlying medical conditions, it seems likely that the most common cause is muscular tension in reaction to stress.
Speaking personally, I had a blood test 2 weeks ago and visited my local GP for the results. All perfect, he said. I took the opportunity to ask about headaches, and I mentioned that I'd never suffered from them in the past.
He asked me two questions:
Just choose 1 or 2 to start thriving again
With our routines having been thrown into chaos, many of us are losing our grasp on our best selves. The cumulative stress of the unknown is slowly pumping up our cortisone level, and we are burning out
Our resilience is drooping. It's time to take a step back, to regroup, and to rebuild our resilience, starting with one of two new habits - and committing to their practice.
Having a good store of resilience helps us cope with life, as it happens - not as we wish it would happen. With enough resilience, instead of feeling as if you are drowning, you will start to enjoy the swim - even if the water is choppy.
Here are four habits which will help you get back in touch with your best self. Just choose 1 or 2 that you are not currently practising - keep things simple.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter