Archives for March 2009

Channeling Excess Energy

Before I say this, I am not referring to some sort of new age aura or anything like that, but rather using our nervous and pent-up energy for good things, instead of just being nervous or aimless, etc.

I have been reading some books on public speaking recently (maybe more on this later), and they give some tips on how to take excess energy (much of which could be nervous or undirected) and focus the energy to something positive, namely the current intellectual, spiritual, or athletic performance. One idea some authors recommend is to focus on something positive, e.g. a happy moment or person. This is based on research that people are literally physically stronger when they think of something positive than when they think of something negative. I tend to think of two things to channel my energy to increase my performance: the photo of my niece grace smiling and running outside on a hot summer day. Today, while I was running (inside), I noticed that not only did I feel a burst of energy when thinking of niece, but I always smiled at the thought of her smiling in that photo. Another technique I have read about is to make yourself taller, which means standing proud to exude confidence. I tried this today, and I did it by pretending that my head and shoulders were attached to a string hanging from something very high in the air…it was actually quite easy to do when I was imagining that. Again, I felt an improvement in my energy levels. I am experimenting with ways of my own, and will let you know about these in the future.

Obesity Could Cost You A Decade

A huge study of studies involving over 900,000 people has concluded that being obese can take up to ten years off of a person’s life. General obesity can take off two to four years while extreme obesity, eight to ten. Of course, what the article doesn’t deal with either is quality of life issues. I wonder how many “years” of truly living obesity has taken off people’s lives as well. Either way, the study confirms that obesity leaves many widows and orphans.

Being in Traffic=Heart Problems

When I lived in Atlanta, one of the most stressful things I experienced on a semi-regular basis was the traffic. I hated the traffic. Now, researchers have found that being in traffic raises the risk of having a heart attack! Researchers didn’t pinpoint whether the risk was associated with stress, pollution, or a synergy between the two. Quite frankly, I could see both having devastating effects.

I saw a news special related to this a few days ago, and they interviewed people who lived a few miles from work who commuted for over an hour!! I can really see how this could seriously affect a person’s quality of life. If a person loses 2 hours a day to traffic, that is 10 hours a week, and 520 hours a year! This amounts to 21 complete days lost a year to traffic. When put like this, I can really see why traffic can be associated with heart disease!

Busy Being Busy

I’ve been pretty busy lately, which is not bad, because it has been a pretty good “busy.” Nonetheless blogging has taken a back seat to other things, like work, classes, etc. Here is a quick update about what I have been doing (just in case you may be interested!):

– Our boys basketball team went to the districts, and I got to chaperon the fan bus. It was a fun trip, even though we lost.

– I have been brushing up on some public speaking tips and tricks, since I will be speaking to a Catholic group in Dayton at the end of April. I am trying to make public speaking a greater portion of my side income.

– Jennifer was out of town most of the week, and it just happened that those same days my buddy from work’s street was flooded. He lives about 45 miles from work. After he waded out and borrowed a car from his dad, he stayed with me for a few days so he could get to work. His family stayed with his mother-in-law, so they had a place to go too. It was fun to have a few “guys nights out.” I ate too much, but it was worth it.

Getting Inspired

road view

Yesterday, as I returned home from a meeting of the National Speakers Association, Ohio Chapter (a great meeting and great organization by the way), I was thinking of times when I get particularly inspired to come up with good ideas. Generally, the two major times when ideas come to me are:

1. During Catholic Mass

2. While running (particularly outside)

Let me explain a little bit about each. When I first thought about having great ideas during Mass, I thought “I hope this doesn’t mean my mind is wandering too much during worship.” I then realized that my mind doesn’t really wander too much. In fact, the ideas usually come during the times in the Mass reserved for quiet reflection. I am guessing this shows that I really am paying attention (sometimes I admit my mind can wander…I am human after all).

Typically my best ideas come when running, mostly when running outside. I think my running ritual creates a great opportunity for thinking. First, running relaxes me and loosens me up, physically and mentally. Second, I love being outdoors, so when I run outside, I am immediately in a good mood, and receiving the mental benefits of sunshine and fresh air. Third, since I usually run close to 4-6 miles at a time, I am sure I am getting some sort of “runner’s high” by the middle of my run. Fourth, I typically take some Acetyl L-Carnitine or DMAE before running, which enhances my mental clarity. Finally, I often run alone; this gives me that rare time to just gather my thoughts. All of these factors make running both physically and mentally enjoyable.

Now, let me explain what doesn’t usually inspire me. I am not usually inspired by quotes or gimmicks. You know, the type of stuff that gets you excited and makes you go “ah ha” on Monday, but doesn’t really impact you anymore by Friday. I know that many public speakers and inspirational speakers thrive on this sort of thing, as does the average American. A lot of people have quote-a-day calendars that they glance at every day. I have tried that and usually by February my calendar is still on January 10th. I do like inspirational quotes, but they don’t have much lasting power in my life. I tend to be inspired by content, rather than inspired by inspiration. Friends and life, just as they are, tend to inspire me as well. Also, a very good movie or song can inspire me in lasting ways, especially if the story reminds me of my own story. Well, that’s just me! I am sure that most of you are different, and that is cool too.

Morgellons: A Truly Scary Disease

Sores all over your body. Colored fibers embedded in many of the sores. Nothing seems to get rid of the sores or the fibers. These symptoms are associated Morgellons, a scary disease that some doctors believe is entirely psycho-somatic. An interesting article on Natural News discusses this strange condition.

For a truly freaky experience, check out some of these Morgellons Photos.

Study Shows Nursing Mothers Need A Lot More Vitamin D Than Recommended

According to Bruce Hollis, primary investigator in a vitamin D experiment at the Medical University of South Carolina, lactating mothers getting the officially recommended amounts of Vitamin D did not have adequate blood levels of the vitamin. In fact, even those mothers receiving 2000 IU of Vitamin D (5 times the RDA) did not receive enough Vitamin D to pass onto their babies. Even though 2000 IU is considered the official “upper-limit” for safe consumption of Vitamin D (a number which most researchers know is ridiculously low), this amount was shown to be too low to raise Vitamin D blood levels adequately in this study. Babies and mothers in the 6000 IU/day (15 times the RDA) study group had adequate Vitamin D levels.

This study could change the way we think about Vitamin D and pregnancy/lactation. The RDA for Vitamin D (400 IU) seems rather low, adequate to prevent rickets perhaps, but not adequate to prevent other Vitamin D related diseases. The research on Vitamin D is just emerging, and I for one am excited. Vitamin D is safe, and unfortunately, hard to get from food alone. Milk is often fortified with Vitamin D, but hormones in the milk may block Vitamin D’s absorption. This basically means we have two real options: eat fatty fish or get in the sun. The last two decades, the “experts” have told us to avoid the latter as if our life depended on it. Maybe one side lesson from all of this is that we should take control of our own health, making it a priority, rather than letting the government or big business do it for us.

Some March 1st Randomness

pink flower painted

Here is a random post…nothing too focused below, except a few of my thoughts on this sunny, but cold, Sunday afternoon.

– It is cold, January-like cold. The good news is that after Tuesdays, the temperature is supposed to get up in the mid-to-high 40s. If we get a sunny day or two in there, I may be able to run outside! Spring is on the way!!

– I met with some friends this weekend, which was fun. We went to the Knights of Columbus fish fry on Friday night (it is Lent after all), then went out to Denny’s for a diet Coke. A lot of this was spent with Fr. Wagner, and he is setting me up to attend the National Speaker’s Association conference next Sunday! That is really awesome, and I am very grateful.

– Our boys basketball team won their tournament game, which was great. I also met with a friend after that, since we were in his neck of the woods for the game.

– I’ve been continuing my workout plan. I haven’t really lost much weight in the last few weeks (months?), but I have been gaining muscle, so I figure I am seeing some gradual fat loss in there.

– I am putting off getting some school work done, and should really be finishing that…I am taking some post-Master’s classes, and after 3 years, I am less than 4 weeks away from finishing!

All in all, I can’t complain