Category: Emotions

Music Therapy: Striking a Primal Chord

Maybe it’s summer’s more casual influence, but these Friday posts have established a certain trend lately, don’t you think? Forest bathing, enriched environment… On Tuesday I just couldn’t help myself with the Primal leisure post. It’s the good life – Grok style. (Yes, summer has definitely gotten to me.) Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of hard science behind these laid-back suggestions. Primal R&R improves your physical as well as mental well-being. To celebrate these last weeks of summer, I thought I’d run with the “good life” theme by highlighting other pastimes that science shows are productive as well as pleasurable. Consider the series a focus on the more “refined” side of health cultivation. After all, it takes more than the most primitive measures to fully actualize our well-being. On the docket today: music as therapy.

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Dear Mark: The Semmelweis Reflex

Sometimes the path of Primal transformation includes a series of upendings. It’s in part a process of uprooting daily habits that don’t serve your well-being. Maybe it’s a re-envisioning of your identity from an unhealthy, tired, or otherwise plagued person to that of a strong, fit, confident individual. More than likely, it’s about overturning oft-taught if not long held conventional thinking about healthy living. When we embark on our Primal path, we likely anticipate at least some of these changes, but what about the conflict prompted by other people’s grappling with the Primal Blueprint as we reflect it? What is it about our Primal process that upsets other people’s apple carts and provokes sometimes exaggerated resistance? See what reader Evan has to say.

Dear Mark,

I’ve been following the PB for a year and a half now and am proud to consider myself a diehard. I’m stronger, fitter, leaner, and for the first time in years feel energized throughout the day. My problem is this: I have a brother who’s an MD and seems to take my bucking of conventional wisdom personally. Whether it’s dogging my diet or my workout, he’s never got a shortage of offhand comments every time we get together with the family. I stopped arguing with him a few months ago because it just seemed useless and I frankly don’t want to make tensions worse for my family. Care to show up at one of these dinners to take on my brother’s resentments? Barring that, do you have any advice for getting him off my back? Thanks and Grok on!

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Social Wellness, or Why Friendship Should Be a Health Priority

Reading club; Tuesday card games; progressive dinners; Saturday morning golf; summer barbeques; talks over coffee, cocktails, racquetball, quilting, dog walking or maybe just over the phone. The letters, emails, Facebook comments, the hugs, high fives or just hellos. What comes to mind when you think of your friends?

Friends, both new and old, close and far flung, hold a special place in our sentiments. We value the history we have with them, the perspective they bring, the support they offer, the stories they tell, the interests we share. Without a doubt, we’d say, they play an essential part in our lives. We’re better people, happier people as a result of our friendships, but maybe – it turns out – we’re healthier too?

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The Power of Positive Thinking

Are you realizing the full potential of your mind?

Now, before you recoil in horror from the New Agey guru-lingo that question probably sounded like, bear with me a minute. I was recently thumbing through one of my favorite books, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, and it got me considering the possibility that creative visualization and positive thinking can both play enormous roles in the context of the Primal Blueprint. Lipton’s book discusses the emerging science of gene expression (sound familiar?), including the very PB-friendly notion that our environment – our diet, our stress level, even our state of mind – controls our DNA, rather than the other way around. If that’s the case (and the science seems to be agreeing that it is), our thoughts, actions, and moods might play an even bigger role in our health and general wellness than previously thought.

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A Salad With Your Sorrow?

A pint of Ben & Jerry’s. That whole freaking bag of potato chips. A box of donut holes. No, it’s not the MDA trifecta of evil (although it could be). Sure, they’re among the proverbial symbols of “mood food,” and the saying about Ben and Jerry’s is true: ice cream tops the list, according to Brian Wansink, professor and author on the subject of emotional eating. (Wansink found that beyond top honors, gender determines what we drown our sorrow in. Women turn to chocolate – surprise – and cookies, while men hunt down heartier fare like pizza, steak and casserole.)

But even if these kinds of products have never seen the inside of your kitchen let alone your stomach, that doesn’t mean you’re immune from turning to food for more than nutrition. Yes, even innocent carrots and grape tomatoes can be used for deleterious purposes. No food is safe from the scourge of mindless, emotionally driven eating.

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