Learning to say ‘no’ can be healthy for you

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I was cleaning up my desk when I came across this article. I couldn’t say it better myself so here it is:

Learning to say ‘no’ can be healthy for you

DOCTOR GAME

BY DR. GIFFORD JONES

How much straw should you agree to carry each day? I’m not referring to work on a farm. But recently the problems of several patients reminded me of the famous story of The Camel and the Straw, about the merchant who kept insisting his camel carry another straw. Finally, the last straw broke the camel’s back, and he slumped to the desert sand. The following are ways to prevent the same fate.

1. Some people never learn to say “no.” But like the camel, we have only so much energy and time to accomplish daily tasks. The obedient camel never complained or tried to strike a compromise with his master. People who always say “yes” to every family, social and business request can end up like the camel. No one can solve all the burdens of the world.

2. Joseph Stalin, one of the worst despots of all time, who killed millions of Russians, is hardly a role model. But he gave good advice when he remarked, “One has to learn to live with the devil until one reaches the end of the bridge.” Every week in my office I see family, emotional and work problems that a trainload of psychiatrists could not cure. There is no remedy for some people unless a demanding employer retires or dies, or an end to financial problems unless they win the lottery. And if a partner has run off with their best friend, only tincture of time will ease the pain. So play for time rather than try to solve immediately unsolvable problems.

3. Learn to live with less. Alexander Hamilton, a brilliant U.S. politician and economist, remarked more than 200 years ago that the “progressive accumulation of debt is the natural disease of all governments.” Personal debt, like public debt, is also a curse, as has been demonstrated in the last few years. Many sleepless nights could be prevented if people realized that it is not necessary to have the latest electronic gizmo, or be tricked by unscrupulous ads into believing that “play now, pay later” is the road to Nirvana.

4. One of the smartest businessmen I’ve known once said to me, “I have only one problem on my desk at a time.” I’ve often remembered his wise counsel when faced with multiple problems that suddenly arise. It’s much easier and more effective to tackle and solve one situation at a time than to cope blindly and ineffectively with several issues simultaneously.

5. I often write a prescription for massage to prevent patients from buckling under that extra straw, caused by the stress of modern life.  Massage, unlike many of the drugs that doctors prescribe to fight stress, is free of side effects. Today, many companies recognize that massage is a form of stress management to ease fatigue, headache and back strain often related to long hours at computer screens. Massage also helps to remove lactic and carbonic acid, the toxic products of metabolism. That’s why boxers and other athletes routinely get rubdowns.

6. During the week, find something you enjoy doing to temporarily remove your attention from the problems of everyday life. For some it may just be playing solitaire, meditation or being engaged in various forms of exercise. But whatever it is, make it a habit.

7. Remember the value of sex. It’s one of the best forms of psychological and physiological relaxation. Who doesn’t sleep like a baby following “amour?” A study at Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital of 3,500 people concluded that frequent sex also slows the aging process. This report included a person of 102, so there’s always hope.

Barry

P.S.

What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for a sunny day! I’m thankful the bus was early today. I’m thankful for all of the support of my friends at work and at home!

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Barry Clermont