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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 1, No. 13

Issue Date: August 18, 2004
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

The Healthy Living Newsletter brings you health updates and tips for optimizing your life, health, and work.

Welcome, new subscribers. Please share this with those who can benefit from it.

This week's topics:

  1. Downshift
  2. Health Updates and Tips

1. Downshift

Have you noticed? Stress is reaching epidemic proportions. Some of the facts and figures about stress are startling:

  • Job stress causes physical ailments, such as headaches and backaches, morale issues, decreased productivity, family issues, financial problems, substance abuse, and diminished quality of life. It also shuts down the immune system, causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, immune system disorders, and other health issues. These are the body's SOS signals that it's in distress.
  • According to the Cooper Clinic , 52 per cent of executives will die of stress-related illnesses.
  • At least 85 per cent of doctor visits are stress-related.
  • Medical costs for stressed employees are estimated at 50 per cent higher than for others.
  • On-the-job stress accounts for between twenty and forty per cent of employee turnover.
  • US government figures indicate that stress-related illnesses cost us $26B in medical and disability costs and $95B in lost productivity each year.
  • White-collar workers account for two-thirds of occupational stress (stress so severe that it causes significant time away from work), with almost half being away from work 31 days or more.

Where did this stress problem come from? Though it may have been rampant before, the Internet probably escalated and accelerated it due to Internet time (1 Internet year = 2 months). When the dot-com bubble burst, most businesses took a temporary hiatus from business innovation, but some companies continued to invest and now the rest are in catch-up mode. Things are accelerating back to warp speed again.

On top of the blistering pace at work, with school now back in session in many neighborhoods, or soon to be, family stress may ratchet up another notch with the addition of school activities, sports, and the holidays just around the corner (yes, it's hard to believe). So what can we do about stress?

I learned one approach recently. At the time, my husband, our teenage son, and I were in our RV driving toward Hoover Dam. The drive from Phoenix was prolonged and arduous, with only construction stops to penetrate the boredom. The temperature had already surpassed 100 degrees when we left Phoenix early that morning, and had only worsened as we traversed the desert. The generator supplying our air conditioning continually overheated and shut down, and did so again in the blistering heat as our RV was inspected so we could cross the dam. 

Finally, underway again, our air conditioning returned. As we started down the switchbacks, the view of the dam was extraordinary. What an incredible feat of engineering it is!

My husband negotiated the tight switchbacks and narrow road slowly, steadily, and intently, focused on avoiding scraping rocks or hitting oncoming traffic. It made me anxious just watching, but he skillfully maneuvered the massive 17 ton behemoth, 52 feet long and 8 ½ feet wide, across the dam and through the tight bends.

As we reached the other side and started back uphill, I heaved a sigh of relief as the knots in my stomach released. Drivers behind us were glad to finally pass, but it was better to go slow than to cause a pileup.

As we continued up the steep grade, my son resumed his book and I started to consult the maps, looking for our turn. Suddenly, a warning light pulsed, vivid red—ENGINE HOT . My husband was still so intently focused that if the light hadn't flashed, he might have missed it. 

"What do we do now?" I gasped as I noticed the outdoor temperature displayed on the dash—119 degrees.

As an engineer, he sequenced through possible solutions for the diesel engine. When he found the solution, his eyes lit up as he said, "Oh, yeah, downshift." He slid the transmission into a lower gear, the engine load diminished, and inside of minutes the engine returned to normal. It worked, and we made it on to Las Vegas that night.

What about you? Have you ever had a day like that? One that was full of frustration and challenges, where you felt like you were going uphill all day, with a heavy load, causing you to overheat. Are you trying to do too much? Are you working as effectively as you can? Are you overprogramming your life or your kids? Next time, think "Oh, yeah, downshift," and drop into a lower gear to relieve the strain. 

Consider the impact--avoiding stress-related illnesses, and staying healthy, sane, and productive.

This was excerpted and abridged from Mellanie's soon-to-be-released book, A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life.*

* If you would like to be notified when the book is released, just sign up for the e-zine above.    

2.  Health Updates and Tips

  • Taking 200 IU of Vitamin E each day was shown to lower the risk of upper respiratory infections, especially colds. (Journal of the American Medical Association). Caution: Those on Coumadin and other blood thinners, and possibly even those on Plavix, should avoid use of vitamin E.
  • Stress tests may miss more than half of early heart disease cases. Calcium scans may be more accurate, but unfortunately, insurance doesn't pay for these tests, which can run about $400. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Reuters )
  • Doctors at Mayo Clinic have reported that having high blood pressure may also indicate that you have high cholesterol, so have both checked at the same time.  

Regarding these updates, remember to consult your health care provider as your situation is unique.

Until next time, wishing you productivity, health, and happiness,


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
Speaker, author, consultant, and coach

PS. If you would like to have Mellanie speak for your organization, or help revitalize your health or your company's productivity, just send me an e-mail. Please check out some of the organizations for whom Mellanie has spoken or with whom Mellanie has worked and read comments from attendees.

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