"Even tiny changes to the inputs to a large system can have an overwhelming effect on the system's output." -Kenneth S. Leong
Most of you have seen somewhere a clip or highlight of Matthew Mcconaughey's Oscar acceptance speech. I think the one thing everyone took away from that besides "Alright, Alright, Alright." was "Gratitude Reciprocates." Now some people interrupt this very differently, some might say that it sounded very "New agey", or like something from the book "The secret", put something out in to the universe and the universe gives it back. Some might call it karma. Some might just say that's a good ole East Texas boy saying the Golden Rule, Treat others how you would like to be treated. But the one thing we can all agree on however you interpret it, is that it is dead on accurate.
I know I'm a little late on this blog, right, the Oscars were how many weeks ago? I actually had no intention on every blogging on the Dallas Buyer's Club star. But I ran in to the quote at the top of the page today in the book I'm reading and it reminded me of his speech. Cause and effect is a universal law, but most of us don't realize that the smallest things can have such large effects. My wife has always laughed at me that I attract bad service at restaurants. And she has been right, for many years. And I was always very quick to point out the bad service, to them directly or the manager. Maybe that's why it kept coming my way! I recently started only pointing out the times that I have good service, and not just exceptional service but even just satisfactory. Leaving bigger tips, and calling the manager over to tell them how great our service was. Things have literally changed! I have been getting great service lately! Now some might call it luck, but even if it is only that my own perception has changed. Instead of just waiting for the one little slip up, knowing my order is going to come wrong, I had an attitude. My attitude has changed, maybe they feel that off of me.
But the point is, you have no idea what impact a small act of kindness can have. Maybe that larger tip eased some immediate stresses of bills and rent for the server. Maybe the compliment to the manager got the server a raise. Then what kind of impact does that carry over. The server's kid gets a new pair of shoes, he's no longer teased at school. The possibilities are endless!
Anytime you enter the conventional or allopathic "medical model", you are putting yourself at risk. I have seen studies that have said every time you check in to a hospital there is over a 50% chance of some kind of medical mistake happening to you. And with the medical system currently ranked in the top 3 causes of death in this country, there is more than one reason to avoid it if you can. Now I don't hate medical doctors or drugs, they save lives everyday, and thank God they are there. But I still haven't met a medical doctor who doesn't agree that we are over medicated. How do you lower your risk? Reduce your usage!
But you're healthy right? It's not going to happen to you. Well, hopefully not, but let me share a story that happened to one of my patients this week, who would have never dreamed it would be her either. This patient of mine is pretty healthy, proactive about her health, that's why she's a patient in my office :). She had an routine appointment with her OBGYN to remove the popular IUD Mirena, as her and her husband were thinking about trying for another baby. This should be an exciting time! Well one little problem, on the removal attempt, the doctor said the string broke. And now the only way to get it out is surgery. )Side note, the doctor of course without hesitation blamed this break on the shape of my patients cervix...Hmmm Don't take any blame Doc!) So of course my patient was frustrated, as this surgery was going to interfere with her work week and schedule. She also wasn't too happy that this procedure was going to set her back over a thousand bucks! Which she needed to pay before her deductible was met. She also wasn't very fond of the idea of being put under anesthesia, I don't think anyone ever is. But there was only way to get this thing out, so the surgery was scheduled.
During the surgery she had a "small reaction" to the anesthesia. This is really turning out great for my patient isn't it? Well for the next few days, she was swollen, having an extremely hard time breathing, and has felt very sick. But these things "sometimes happen", which was also said during the 1st attempt to remove the IUD. This then led to her being put on multiple prescriptions for her reaction, antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs. Then a couple of days later, she had to get some kind of test done because of this whole thing where they injecting one her veins in her arm with some dye. The only problem, the nurse injecting the dye, blew her vein, and injected my patient's arm with a whole bunch of dye causing intense pain and swelling. What was she told? "These things sometimes happen." All said and done, my patient is still on a course of antibiotics and this whole little mistake has cost her over 3 thousand dollars.
Now when she came back in to me, you could see the look of frustration on her face. Why? Well losing 3k for no good reason will piss anyone off. But the real reason? Because, this mistake has made a perfectly healthy person go through a nightmare. We are now trying to restore her health as quickly as possible. This is just one example of many on how fast your health can be taken from you if you're not too careful. One drug leads to another, multiple drugs leads to surgery, surgery leads to more surgery and more drugs. It's a one way street that leads straight in to a dead end. I have seen it too many times.
We have all probably heard that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. But I hear this irrational thinking almost everyday. And I get it, change is hard, sometimes terrifying. But if you are only willing to do the same things you have always done, don't be disappointed when you shockingly get the same old results. And really, no one gets good results by halfway committing. You don't become the best at whatever you do by giving minimal effort. You have to sell out, fully commit. The majority of people are unhappy with their current situation because they have been unwilling to make the drastic changes that are NECESSARY. I read a book a while back called "The Radical Leap" by Steve Farber, he describes a moment that everyone needs to have in their life, and he calls it their OSM. What does OSM stand for? Oh Sh@# Moment. That's the moment where you are scared to death, but you have came to the conclusion that this needs to be done. Something has to give in order to get what you are after. The faster you come to that realization, the closer you will be to your goal.
1) Turn Your Radio off.
Most people literally do not get 10 minutes a day in silence. Whether you listen to talk radio or even music, try turning off your radio to and from work. If you have a 30 min drive to work, that's an hour a day in silence. Enjoy the silence, collect your thoughts, and you will notice a big difference on how you attack your day.
Most people have no idea how to meditate, or are intimidated by it. I hear a lot, there is no way I can turn my brain off and sit in silence. Let me tell you, if I can do it, anyone can. And like most things, you only get better with practice. Incorporating meditation in to your daily routine will make a huge impact in your stress levels. Start with small blocks of time like 5 to 10 mins, as you get better you will find yourself being able to sit for 20 or 25 minutes with ease. I prefer to do it in the morning when I wake up. Find a quiet place that you won't be disturbed. Find a cushion or blanket that you can sit on. If you want to look for one that is specifically designed for meditation they are called zafu's. There are a few different poses you can practice, full lotus in pretty difficult for most people and requires quite a bit of flexibility. You can Google what a half lotus pose looks like or my favorite pose is hero's pose. There are a few different options with what you can do with your hands, I simply place them on my thighs in hero's pose. This gives you a sense of being grounded. Practice good posture, like a string is pulling your spine straight through the top of your head, like a puppet. Tilt your gaze, only your eyes, not your head, slightly downward. If you keep your eyes open you can stare at a wall, or for beginners closing your eyes may be easier to not let your mind wander. Begin by counting your breathes, 1 to 10, when you get to 10, start over. If you find yourself thinking about something, recognize the thought, then let it drift away, and start back at counting.
3) High Intensity Surges.
Everyone knows that exercise can help with stress levels, especially stress hormones, but this can literally be done at your desk throughout your day. Pick an exercise that you can do high intensity, like running in place. When you are feeling stressed, run in place fast as you can for 20 seconds, then take a 20 second break, repeat 3 times. These are little surges that will reduce stress hormones like cortisol and get you moving.
I had a patient recently come in and his main complaint was reflux. Now this isn't the typical overweight, drinking beer and eating pizza reflux. This guys in shape, proactive about his health, and his reflux is bad and constant. Bad enough to be a medication for a long time, contemplate a new surgical procedure, and to show up in my office seeking alternatives. I found some things that i told him were preventing him from functioning at his full potential, and explained to him that as he weans off of his meds that there were also natural supplements that we can try to help with it too, until we get his body closer to functioning at 100%. He has been showing improvement and has already cut his meds in half. But he had an appointment with his general practitioner and told him what we were doing. His GP's response, "Are you having neck pain?" when my patient said no, the doctor responded with "Well why is he treating your neck?" And also followed with "I think you are inviting trouble, if you ask me." So, naturally, my patient came back to me a little worried by his doctor's response, especially because he or anyone is his family had never seen a chiropractor.
This reminded me of a quote from the chiropractor and author Dr. Fred Barge. Im paraphrasing from memory but it goes something like this, "You can't expect a doctor who has never been trained as a chiropractor, to think like a chiropractor." And that's exactly the whole point. I explained to my patient, that there is a complete difference in philosophies. And that i wasn't treating anything, I was removing interference that wasn't allowing his own body to heal itself. You see, his doctor, and most doctors, have an outside in way of thinking. Where chiropractors, at least most, have an inside out way of thinking. Neck pain? That's the smallest thing we do with an adjustment.
I have wrote previous blogs on Advocare, their products, and MLM's in general. You can look through archives to read them. I was working out at a gym today that carried their supplements. So me being me, I had to take a look. First off, almost every single product of theirs uses sucralose as a sweetener. I've actually had a person who distributes Advocare, who is very successful at it I may add, look me at me with a straight face and tell me that sucralose is a natural occurring substance in your body. Hmmmm that's why it's patented, also know as the brand name Splenda, and as I type the word in my blog Microsoft underlines it in red as a misspelled word. This is also why you should get health advice from a professional and not your neighbor who holds party's and knows some facts that they learned at a 2 day seminar. But I'm not going to get in to that, I've blogged about that before.
Today I want to target a specific supplement of theirs known as "Spark". I have been told, and read that Spark is advertised as a healthy alternative to coffee. I like coffee, I also feel that it often gets a bad wrap. There are numerous health benefits from drinking coffee in moderation. Now a frappuccino from Starbucks is a milkshake, not a coffee, there is a difference. So I took a look at what was suppose to be so much healthier than my 1 cup a day of organic coffee, with coconut milk creamer, and stevia. Not only did it have the cancer causing sweetener sucralose in it like their other products. It also had some other unlisted artificial flavors in it as well. One thing that shocked me though, since it is suppose to be an alternative to coffee, was the amount of caffeine in it. 120mg per serving! An average cup of coffee has around 85mg. So where's the healthy alternative? The synthetic vitamins that are in it?
While writing this blog I also went to Advocare's website to take a second look at Spark's ingredients. What I thought was very strange was while they listed some of the ingredients, you had to click an additional tab to see their "full list of ingredients". What are they trying to hide?
I thought of a comparison today to Spark that is very fitting and cheaper. Go get a box of cheap synthetic multi vitamins from your local GNC, and a case of diet coke's. Every morning take pop a multi and slam your diet coke.* You just had the equivalent to an Advocare Spark. Let's go down the check list. Cheap Synthetic Vitamins? Check. Sucralose? Check. Other artificial crap? Check. Caffeine? Check. I think you checked all the boxes!
But if it's good enough for Drew, then it's good enough for you! (Sarcasm)
*Please don't do this, this was used as a comparison to how unhealthy Spark is.
Today an article surfaced all over social media that has been catching some attention. It is actually something that I have always known and most likely you have known too. We all know the dangers of plastics and BPA. And most likely you have heard not to let plastic water bottles get hot or to leave them in your car. But the one thing, that this article has pointed out, that most people have never thought about it is the exposure to plastic from their coffee Kcups. The Keurig coffee maker has gotten really popular the last few years for its ease and convenience. Their plastic single serve Kcups make drinking a cup of coffee easier than ever before. I initially starting questioning the safety of the machines a few years ago when breaking down the process. If you have never used one, the machine works by shooting hot water through a plastic container full of coffee. Therefore running the hot water that you are about to drink through plastic. When I initially stumbled across this I started searching for alternatives. I found two. First there is a company called San Francisco Bay Coffee that makes a Kcup that instead of being made of plastic it is made out of a biodegradable netting material. This reduces the exposure of plastic in your cup. Costco actually sells these in bulk. Keep in mind that the actual Keurig machine is still made of plastic, leaving the possibility of exposure from other sources. Second they make BPA free reusable Kcups that you can fill up with your own coffee. This is actually a cheaper option as it is also more expensive to buy Kcups than coffee beans or ground coffee. You can find these on Amazon.com for a reasonable price around $15. You can read the original article here. http://themommyilluminati.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/how-k-cups-might-damage-your-metabolism-reproductive-health-and-cause-cancer/
Let's face it, we live in a crazy hectic digital world where escaping reality or finding peace sometimes seems impossible. We are constantly stimulated, from our TV's, computers, cell phones, or others. I joke with my patients that if you were to count the amount of times you check your Facebook per day you would probably be shocked. But the point is it is constant stimulation. Our mind never gets a break, no wonder depression, anxiety, and panic disorders are all on the rise. We work so hard and hope for what, maybe a week of vacation a year to unwind and relax? This is also why sympathetic dominance and adrenal fatigue are becoming common place in our society. One practice that I use in my personal life and recommend to my patients is meditation. So how do we find our Zen?
I started exploring Zen meditation about 5 years ago, when stress started piling up in my own life. And there are some big misconceptions. Number one, meditation is not a religion, or affiliated with any religion. I hear this sometimes in my office when I ask a stressed out patient if they have tried meditation. "No, I'm a Christian." Christians can meditate too! And should! And number two, just an overall misconception of what Zen is.
"Zen is a way of liberation from suffering-both the suffering we experience ourselves and the suffering we cause others. It is a practical and experiential tradition, centered in a form of meditation that can be practiced by people of any or no religion. Zen practice is about opening compassionate awareness to all of reality and realizing that the joy and freedom that we long for are available right here and now, in the midst of the messiness and the pain and confusion of our lives. " -Kim Boykin
So how do we find our Zen, what I have found is that I find it in silence. Silence is rarely found nowadays. Like I mentioned earlier with constant stimulation. Most people do not give themselves even 10 minutes a day to be alone is silence. After hearing a speaker at a seminar around a year ago, I implemented a small tip from her in my routine that was life changing. I started turning my radio off to and from work. I have about a 30 minute drive from where I live to my office. So, I get now a solid hour where I can reflect and silence my mind. If you were to ask most people if they get that for an hour a day, they would say no way. This is an easy way to get it in to your routine without making huge changes to your schedule.
Other ways to help you find your zen....
1) Take walks
2) meditate or pray
3) Get your health in order
4) Exercise or try yoga
5) Read for pleasure
6) Take more vacations, even if they are staycations
7) Eat healthier
8) Wake up earlier, so you are not in a rush (starting you day in a stressful rush can lead to antire stressed out day.
9) Find joy in the small things, remember you will never be in this moment again. I try to capture the moment by taking mental photographs. It helps me focus on detail and stay in the moment.
10) And lastly, remember in the big scheme of things does any of this really matter?
For a more detailed analysis regarding your stress or health contact our office Adjust in Dallas for a free consultation.
I have blogged and posted about testosterone therapy countless times. See archived blogs if you want more detail on the risks, the marketing ploy, or th cholesterol connection. Today I just wanted to point out an article that I posted all over social media last week on Androgel. You can read that article here... http://bigstory.ap.org/article/group-wants-heart-attack-warning-testosterone. In case you missed it during the article let me copy and paste this excerpt... "The researchers found that while 13 studies funded by drug companies did not show an increase in heart problems, 14 non-industry funded trials showed a two-fold increase in risk in heart problems." The first time I read this I literally laughed out loud. I know drug companies lie, cheat, and steal in the name of profit, but this is so blatant it's hysterical. But you know what's not funny? The number of men who have already taken this or are currently taking this that are unaware that by taking Androgel they are increasing their risk of stroke, heart attack, and death by 30 percent. Have you watched much TV lately? If you have you have probably already noticed the lawyers running commercials in regards to Androgel. "Have you or a family member suffered a heart attack or stroke or even died while taking Androgel....?" One a drug hits the market place, it's just a matter of time before it's pulled off, and you know what is the measure that gets it pulled off? The number of bodies piling up.
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