Courageous & Outrageous - Breathe. Just Breathe.

By Pat Nichol

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In preparing this month's column, I spent time talking with friends and family, strangers in lineups and across the table on ferries, asking for information and advice on wellness. “Breathe, just breathe” was the most concise answer I received from a fellow church member.

My research began over a dinner table on Gambier Island when we discussed what came first, illness or stress. Over at least one bottle of wine and candlelight - there is no electricity on that end of the island - the points oscillated back and forth with one side argued and then the other. No one at the table had any medical degrees, and while we had no answers, we all agreed stress was certainly a way to break down a healthy body and can cause problems for a healthy mind.

Wellness can be achieved in many ways. Laughter was a suggestion with which I heartily agree. Many people suggested playing - not golf - but with grandchildren. If you don’t have any, borrow some. Animals came a close second. Again, not always possible depending on where you live, but visit or borrow some.

Finally, I found the following tidbits of advice when it comes to wellness: Stop worrying; it only increases stress levels. Don’t take problems to bed; they make for uncomfortable sleeping partners. Remember the acronym FEAR - False Evidence Appearing Real - Stop awfulizing! (I know it’s a made-up word)

We have the ability (and tendency) to create far scarier scenarios in our minds than what real life can hand us. Try living in this moment, right now, rather than reliving yesterday or 10 years ago or worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow or two weeks from today. All we have is this moment, live it. Finally, do what I did while I was researching this column. Talk to people. Talk to family, friends and strangers. Wonderful things happen.

Let’s hear about what works for you in the wellness arena - physical or emotional - send me those ideas.

P.S. I found a great car with some help from a car finder. I didn’t get sleek and sexy, so I went for cute. It works for me!

Finally, a giant hug to Esmee, who wrote to me about becoming a widow. I’m looking forward to learning more of her widow wisdom.



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