As we launch into the new year, it’s an excellent time to review your life and health goals. Are you happy with the way things are going or do you want to make some improvements in the coming
months? Bringing about long-lasting change can be a challenge; see the article on New Year’s resolutions below before making your plans.
Avoiding the traps and pitfalls that can keep you from reaching your goals can be key to your success. This issue has some helpful examples of what to be aware of when setting your goals.
The lead article brings up another aspect on how stress can create harmful long-term effects in your life. Since stress is one of the major threats to your health, remember that your regular massage sessions are one of the best ways to handle the stresses in your life and to keep you healthier! See you soon…
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National Study Examines How Reactions To Everyday Stressors Impact Health
Massage therapy's ability to reduce stress is well proven. New research indicates how we react to stress during our everyday lives—not the stressful events themselves—predict our future health.
Using a subset of people who are participating in the Midlife in the United States study, a national longitudinal study of health and well being that is funded by the National Institute on Aging, researchers from Penn State investigated the relationships among stressful events in daily life, people's reactions to those events and their health and well being 10 years later.
The team found that people who become upset by daily stressors and continue to dwell on them after they have passed were more likely to suffer from chronic health problems—especially pain, such as that related to arthritis, and cardiovascular issues—10 years later, according to a Penn State press release.
Specifically, the researchers surveyed by phone 2,000 individuals every night for eight consecutive nights regarding what had happened to them in the previous 24 hours. They asked the participants
• Their use of time
• Their moods
• The physical health symptoms they had felt
• Their productivity
• The stressful events they had experienced, such as being stuck in traffic, having an argument with somebody, or taking care of a sick child.
The researchers also collected saliva samples from the 2,000 individuals at four different times on four of those eight days, according to the press release. From the saliva, they were able to determine amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol. They then linked the information they collected to data from the larger MIDUS study, including the participants' demographic information, their chronic health conditions, their personalities and their social networks.
"Our research shows that how you react to what happens in your life today predicts your chronic health conditions and 10 years in the future, independent of your current health and your future stress," said David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies. "For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn't let it bother her."
I like to think of people as being one of two types," Almeida said. "With Velcro people, when a stressor happens it sticks to them; they get really upset and, by the end of the day, they are still grumpy and fuming. With Teflon people, when stressors happen to them they slide right off. It's the Velcro people who end up suffering health consequences down the road."
Too much running backfires
Running too far too fast, especially in middle age, may take years off your life instead of improving your health. A new review of research shows that while regular runners lower their risk of early death by nearly 20 percent compared with non-runners, running more than 20 miles a week can actually be harmful and lead to cardiac damage. Running too fast—at a pace faster than eight minutes a mile—also seems to stress the heart. “
After age 50, pushing too hard is probably not good for one’s heart or longevity,” James O’Keefe, a sports cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., tells The Wall Street Journal. A growing body of research shows that extreme exercise can harden the coronary artery, a condition typically seen in people who are completely sedentary. Endurance athletes—such as marathoners a nd triathletes—also appear to be at higher risk of atrial fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia responsible for one in three strokes.
– THE WEEK Vol 12; Iss 597
Why New Year’s resolutions don’t work
Millions of Americans will attempt to turn over a new leaf on January 1, pledging to lose weight, spend less money, and quit smoking, said Oliver Burkeman in Newsweek. But despite what the self-help industry might tell you, “radical, across-the-board” changes like New Year’s resolutions rarely work in practice. Willpower, studies have shown, is a “depletable resource.” If you make an overnight change requiring enormous self-discipline, you can quickly use up your stores of willpower, and all your best intentions will fall by the wayside. But “tiny goals, even absurdly tiny ones, can be an effective way to sneak under the radar of your mind.”
Exercising for five minutes instead of an hour might sound laughable, but you’re “much less likely to resist it”—and the next day, you can exercise for six. Want a better job ? Commit to just two hours a week of networking and investigating opportunities. New Year’s resolutions are based on the fallacy that if only you can find sufficient motivation, you can achieve anything. In reality, motivation is fleeting, and the “biggest barrier to actually getting things done.” Want real change? Take small steps.
– THE WEEK Vol 12; Iss 598-599
The mind's direction is more important than its progress.
— Joseph Joubert
The content of this letter is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, please consult a physician.
© 2013 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.