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Friday, December 10, 2010

Lifestyle: Impatience and Obesity

Truth be told, I happen to be a bit of an NPR junkie. That's right. I listen to NPR on the radio and I follow the feed on the sidebar of my browser and I am a bit shameless. But being an NPR junkie, I come across a lot of interesting articles and recently, one managed to catch my eye.

The article talks about the link between impatience and obesity. Apparently, recent studies have shown that those who exhibit impatience tend to be more overweight and less financially responsible...ouch. But it makes sense, honestly...just look around! Impatience is at an epidemic level (much like obesity), and the two problems seem to be linked. As our culture becomes faster and faster, we begin to lose our capacity for delayed gratification...for patience.

But getting things faster in no way guarantees satisfaction. We move at the speed of light but our waistlines bulge and our wallets keep getting lighter and lighter. I think that a great deal of America's chronic stress and anxiety problem can be connected to this same behavior. But how does anyone lead a calm life in such a mad world?

The fact is that leading a tranquil existence in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life is a matter of very deliberate choice. Not only that, but it's a great deal mental. You have to purpose to take a step back, to live a little slower, to take the time to cook your own food, to enjoy it, to understand what you are putting into your body. And beyond food, taking time to "stop and smell the roses", to unwind at the end of the day or to spend time with family is important, and so is sleep. These activities prepare us for the time ahead of us and help us to recuperate from our hectic lives. Not only do we need these periods of respite on a physical level, but also on a mental level.

At first, slowing down seems to be an impossibility. But with the threats of financial instability, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, dissatisfaction, and many other mental and physical issues before us, how can we ignore the need? Living a calmer life can and will extend and enhance the years that you have left. Whatever other miracle cures there are, chances are that they can't give you years of life, make memories for you, or bring true satisfaction to you. These benefits require a lifestyle change.

So start small. Pick one area of your life that you are neglecting and start making an effort to slow down enough to stop neglecting it. Do you miss the fine arts? Check out your local community concerts, art galleries, and performing arts centers. Do you want to eat better? Begin taking more time to plan, to cook, and to visit Farmer's Markets and other healthy, sustainable grocers. Would you like to get moving? Join a gym, schedule workouts around your job, and start going at least five times per week.

It isn't easy, swimming against the current, going against the grain. These things bring with them a set of difficulties...mainly, making time and learning how to re-prioritize. But it's worth it, in the end...for your health, for your sanity, and for your family.

Have a great weekend, friends, and remember to relax!!


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