Nobody Wants to be Healthy

Healthy BreakfastI’m guilty of it all the time – probably every day. I’ve discovered one of my underlying assumptions about life, and I have been wrong.

I have assumed everyone wants to be healthy. But that’s not true!

Research abounds on the lifestyle dimensions important for good health. You know the drill: exercise regularly, eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, drink alcohol sparingly if at all, sleep 7-8 hours a night, manage stress well. How many of us do those behaviors regularly? Research shows that only 3% of us follow 4 of these most important health habits.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most people really don’t care about being healthy. Some do, but most of us want something else more. Convenience, laziness, “hyper-palatable” food, busy-ness, habit – all very good “reasons” for an unhealthy lifestyle.

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Being REAL or Being Helpful

Two Girls Sharing SecretsDo I share my feelings completely? ALL the time? Will it hurt other people if I do? If I don’t, will keeping secrets hurt me – or them? If I know this, shouldn’t I share the information?

Some people naturally share everything they hear or know or feel. Others have developed the habit of keeping everything to themselves. Here’s a truth to ponder: once you tell someone something, you can’t “untell” it. Apologies can help if you’ve said something that is harmful, but how much better to never tell something that causes pain in the first place. It may not always be easy to know whether sharing certain information is wise or not.

Here are a few examples of where “keeping secrets” is actually a good thing:

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5 Tips for Getting Past the Drama

Drama MasksIn my office today sat a couple planning the next steps in their journey to try to have a child. Couples dealing with infertility are already on somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster. On top of all this the additional stress of the Christmas holiday season is sometimes just too much.

But for this couple it wasn’t the physical or emotional pressure of infertility, or the extra travel or financial “stuff” over the Christmas holiday season, or the somewhat depressing weather that was getting them down: it was the family drama they had just been through. Why does it seem the holidays so often bring that drama to a boiling point?

I doubt this couple are the only ones who have just experienced some fatiguing family drama.

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Run – or Pray?

Two GirlsTwo little girls walked to school every day. (Yes, once upon a time they really did that!) On this particular morning they were enjoying the pleasant sun more than usual. Suddenly it occurred to them that they were going to be late: the bell would ring and they would be marked tardy.

One little girl said to the other, “We’re going to be late! Let’s kneel down and pray.”

“No,” said the other. “Let’s pray while we run!”

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes:

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7 Things to Do Intentionally Every Day

Girl Looking Down RoadDo you remember learning the classic laws of thermodynamics, perhaps in seventh grade science class? The basic idea of the second law goes something like this: any system will seek equilibrium where the least amount of energy is expended.

Now I’m sure any of you physicist types will find glaring holes in my paraphrase of such foundational principles: my apologies to such greats as Newton and Kelvin. But the point applies to ALL systems. Left to itself everything becomes more disordered. Without putting energy from the outside into a system it is doomed to collapse.

YOU are that outside energy. Doing something on purpose makes the difference.

I don’t want my personal “system” to collapse! And I know it takes doing things on purpose to keep that from happening. So, for myself, here are some things I must do intentionally every day:

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