Archive for January 2014

An easy, powerful way to be happier

January 30, 2014

I read an interesting book a month or two ago, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. He dives into the concepts and research findings from the field of positive psychology. The data is fascinating as it strongly suggests that we can systematically engage in certain behaviors that increase our inner well being, as well as behaviors that tear it down. I think most of us would intuitively understand this to be true, but now we have research that not only confirms it, but gives guidance as to what some of those behaviors actually are!

So let me ask you a few questions. Would you like to be happier? Would you like to feel a deeper sense of inner well being? Would you like to experience less stress? And what if I told you that you could accomplish ALL those things in 5 minutes a day, and not even spending 5 consecutive minutes at one time? 2-3 minutes in the morning, 2-3 minutes in the evening before bed. Interested?  I was.

One of the things the research shows is that maintaining a gratitude journal and writing some very specific things in it every day can lead to profoundly positive internal shifts. In my life I’ve made various attempts at maintaining a gratitude journal, but they all petered out for one reason or another. And then I heard a podcast from one of the creators of The Five Minute Journal. It sounded intriguing so I checked it out. I was so impressed that I purchased it and I will tell you flat out, I think this thing is REALLY powerful.

I could take the time to go into why, but I’d rather let you just discover it for yourself.  Go to www.fiveminutejournal.com and check it out. This is a POWERFUL tool I recommend to everyone. If you decide to purchase it, use the coupon code “bulletproof” (I’ll explain more in a subsequent post where that comes from) to get a modest discount. It’s not an expensive item by any stretch. With the coupon code I think I paid about $26 including shipping.

We know very clearly that our inner emotional state has a profound impact on how our bodies feel and function. In fact if you ask Pete Egoscue for his definition of health, one answer I’ve heard him give of late is “Health is peace of mind”. This journal is a fantastic tool to help you cultivate such peace.  

And a request: if you get one, share comments below about what you’ve experienced as you began using it.

Why are American health care costs so high?

January 23, 2014

This video does a great job of explaining why American health care costs are SO much higher than other countries. It’s incredibly informative, entertaining, and somewhat infuriating.

 

Are “minimalist” shoes good or bad?

January 20, 2014

I’ve seen a lot of articles about this topic over the last year and it’s been fairly predictable. Let’s get some clarity on this.

 

First, what is a “minimalist” shoe? It’s a shoe that doesn’t have much (if any) intrinsic support. Such shoes are typically very light weight and very flexible.  At Egoscue we’ve recommended such shoes for years. In Pete’s books he has consistently written (for decades) to wear as little shoe as possible. Spend as much time barefoot as you can, and when you need to wear shoes, spend as much time in shoes that are as close to barefoot as possible.  Examples of such shoes would be the Merrell Barefoot line (what I’m wearing right now), New Balance Minimus, Nike Free, Vibram FiveFingers, and now a whole host of other options. This category of shoe is “trending” (to borrow a term from the TwitterVerse). 

Here’s a pic of the exact model of shoe I’m wearing as I type this. I love these things:

NewImage

What is the advantage to such a shoe? Simple: it allows your foot to do the things a foot is supposed to do. Most athletic shoes are so rigid that they don’t work with the foot, they encase it and physically restrict it from doing what it is designed to do. Essentially, they crutch the foot. And does a crutched body part get stronger or weaker? Yeah, weaker. Is it in your best interests to have a foot that is stronger or weaker? Get the picture?

If a client properly transitions to this style of shoe, they invariably have a great experience. But the key word there is “properly”. If you walk for 30 minutes a day and you’ve been using traditional walking shoes, don’t get a pair of these and then go for a 30 minute walk in them. Same thing if you’re a runner, or just wear such shoes bopping around town. Let your body adapt to this new stimulus, because it IS new stimulus. These shoes will absolutely make your feet do work that your current shoes don’t. That’s the point, but you don’t’ want to overload the foot. Let the foot gradually adapt to this new demand.

The other thing is, if you have significant postural or functional issues, shoes like these will highlight them. I see articles saying that some people get injured switching to these shoes. I’ll bet they do. If you take the general population not working with us, people with hips and knees and ankles out of position, compromised foot strikes when they walk and run, and then without working on addressing these postural and functional faults you just put them into a minimalist shoe and think that’s going to solve all problems, you’re going to be disappointed, and you will likely hurt.

So am I fan of these kinds of shoes? Absolutely. But I would STRONGLY suggest that if you want to make this transition, work on your basic postural and functional issues and then give your body time to adapt to this new stimulus. The results will be WELL worth it.