March 2009 - Good Health Stimulus Package

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Last week was tough.  More bad economic news—more jobs lost, more foreclosures, and lots of discussion about whether the President’s plan to save the economy will actually work.  Every day, every major news source opened with some aspect of the troubled economy.

Rather than continue to be bombarded with all of this gloom and doom, I decided to “just say no” to listening to another report of “how awful things really are.”  So one day last week, I came home and instead of watching the evening news, I ate a delicious meal, took a long hot shower, turned on some nice jazz and settled down to read a novel that had been sitting on my nightstand since last summer.

Am I putting my head in the sand?  Possibly. But I realized that I don’t do it often enough. I just needed a break from the constant bombardment of economic gloom and doom. I know the news media is trying to do a good job keeping us informed.  But honestly, hearing how bad the economy is over and over and over again is making me—and I suspect many other Americans—crazy. We forget that there are other things worth talking about, there are other things worth worrying about, and there are things to enjoy that don’t involve money.  While I certainly don’t advocate living in a constant state of denial (problems must be faced head-on) I do think that once you know a situation is bad—there is limited value in constantly repeating the bad news. It doesn’t help you take corrective action or feel any better. You’re more likely to worry—and worrying solves nothing—it just wastes valuable time.

What’s this got to do with health?  EVERYTHING!!  It’s a well-established fact that if you are told something repeatedly over a long period of time, it eventually invades your psyche and your soul.  A constant barrage of bad news leaves you feeling victimized, helpless, fearful, and depressed—all which can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

So, here’s what I recommend. You’ve got to give yourself some “time-out” from all of the bad news. Limit the amount of bad news that you allow into your life. Set aside at least one day in the week where you focus on the good, the positive, the possible—rather than the bad, the negative, and the impossible. Turn off the television news and tune in to those things that make you feel strong and empowered. Use your time-out to refresh and renew your body, mind and spirit.  Trust me, the world won’t come to an end just because you missed the latest job-loss report.

With you on your Journey to Wellness…
Dr. Mary S. Harris

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