You know the drill. From the moment the alarm clock sounds, you’re rushing at warp speed. Get up. Get the kids up. Grab a shower. Get the kids ready for school. Rifle through the cupboards for a cereal breakfast. Scoop the car keys. Grab the kids’ sack lunches, backpacks, homework, and you’re out the door. Whew! Before you’ve even begun the day, you’re frazzled, disconnected, and out of sync. Were we meant to live like this? Dr. Eva Shaw, Ph. D. author of Shovel It: Nature’s Health Plan, doesn’t think so.
Blame our breakneck pace on the Industrial Revolution, the need for a two-income household or just the velocity of modern times. Wherever the blame lies, sometimes it can seem like we need a dose of therapy just to cope. But before you send your fingers walking through the yellow pages for a psychologist or group therapist, take a look at your thumb. Even if it’s not green, you can benefit from a bit of garden therapy.
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Recently when my schedule was particularly hectic, a friend sent me a greeting card advertising a hotline for stressed-out people. To reach this hotline one dialed 1-Need-to-Cope, and the following automated menu came on the line:
To hear a primal scream, press 1.
To record your own primal scream, press 2.
To play it back, press 3.
For a list of ideas on how to get revenge, press 4.
To order a stress survival kit for $500, press 5.
When I opened the card, it read “To reach a friend who’ll understand, dial my number.” Under my friend’s signature was his phone number.
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During an interview Pearl Buck, winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize for literature, was once asked the secret of her extraordinarily productive life. The author responded saying she learned an important lesson from her fatheme her far when the family lived in China. At that tither was a missionary and received a sizable amount of money from supporters in the United States. They made it clear that the money was to be used to build a new chapel.
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It’s nearly midnight in Apartment 3B, and Rose still cannot fall asleep, even though she went to bed at 10:30. When she finally drifts off, it is around 12:30 a.m. For the next few hours Rose will sleep lightly and poorly before her alarm goes off at 6:30, awakening her so she can get ready for work.
There are millions of people just like Rose. They do not share the delight of the prophet Jeremiah, who said, “I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me” (Jeremiah 31:26, NIV).*
The inability to get a good night’s sleep is a serious problem. Even one night of insufficient or restless sleep can result in irritability and inability to concentrate properly. Various studies indicate that establishing a chronic sleep debt can depress the immune system, causing greater susceptibility to illness and depression. And a lack of sleep can also be dangerous. The Department of Transportation estimates that up to 100,000 motor vehicle accidents a year occur because drivers become drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel. Yet, like any problem, sleep disorder can be managed and conquered. Here are a dozen ways to get a better night’s sleep.
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The skeletons in my workout closet are many-an unused athletic club membership, a dusty NordicTrack, a lonely ab-buster. All purchased with the best of intentions. But, alas, they have all fallen to the same fate: while they may have physically challenged me, mentally I was “bored out of my gourd.” Consequently, I became a fitness failure, a workout wannabe.
Then one day my family upset me. Husband, sons, the cat; I can’t remember which one started it, but in the end I decided to take a walk to blow off steam. After 10 minutes I felt better. And after 20 minutes the argument seemed miles away.
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A school system in a large city had a special program to help hospitalized children keep up with their schoolwork. One day a teacher who worked in the program received a routine call asking her to visit such a child. She was given the child’s name, hospital, and room number. Her instructions were to help the boy with lessons in grammar.
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Water provides true refreshment for the thirsty, but most people don’t know that it also plays a vital role in all bodily processes. Unfortunately, most people don’t drink enough water, perhaps because they don’t realize just how important it is. The fact is, not drinking enough water affects every aspect of your body, right out to your skin.
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Regardless of all the media hype, you need stress in your life! Does this surprise you? Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. We need a degree of stress to operate, to meet a challenge or goal, to laugh, to love, to live.
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Forgiveness has long laid the foundation for spiritual well-being in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But scientific research now suggests its healing power may extend beyond the sacred realm. Research shows links between forgiveness and physical and mental health.
While this may come as some surprise to secular scientists, psychologist Dan Shoultz says God has created the need to give and receive as an important part of our makeup as human beings.
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Writer Joseph Goldstein tells of an experiment he did that helped him better understand the power of our speech to impact the mind. He decided that for a period of three months he would not speak about any third person. “That is, I wouldn’t speak to someone about someone else.” Here is what came to light for him during that three-month experiment when he eradicated gossip from his life: “First, my mind became much less judgmental, because I wasn’t giving voice to the various judgments in my mind. . . . And as I judged others less, I found that I judged myself less as well. Second, I discovered in this experiment that about 90 percent of my speech was eliminated. This silence led to a lot more peace in my mind. It was astonishing to see so clearly how much of the time our talk is about other people.”
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