Stress is good. Stress is bad.
So which one is it? It’s both.
Stressful events raise our adrenaline, focus our thinking, and help
us make instantaneous decisions
(like swerving out of the way of
an oncoming car). But chronic
stress—a micromanaging boss, a
troubled teenager—can put our
bodies into a kind of long-term,
hyperalert status, lowering our
immunity and making us susceptible to illness. You can train your
body to respond more positively
to stress, though. Start with the
exercises at right.
sors in our
(NUTs, I call
in your life
fix them, so
Lie flat on the floor, with
one hand on your belly and
one on your chest. Take in a
deep breath while pushing
your belly out, to a count
of 5. Then slowly exhale, to
a count of 7, pulling in your
bellybutton to get all the
air out. Breathe this way for
5 minutes every day.
If you’ve followed the Daily
Checklist, you’ve already
been meditating each
day for 5 minutes. For this
exercise, the goal is to
clear your mind of all
distractions. Sit quietly
and repeat one word (such
as ohm) over and over.
TK CREDI T PROP S T YLIST: JAMES MASSENBURG; ILLUS TRATIONS BY S TEVE SANFORD
One of the best ways to take control
of your health is to define clearly
what you want out of life.
TAKE THIS QUIZ
Do you have any untapped passions?
What are they?
What’s holding you back?
At right, draw a box with an
amoeba in it. The box is your
job, and the amoeba is you. How
much of your amoeba lies outside
the box? Do you have interests
outside work? What are they?
PUT IT TOGETHER
You’ve made it through five months of the
plan; now it’s time to see how well you’ve
done. Retake the tests from Month 2. (Ask your
doctor to retest your HDL/LDL, blood pressure,
and blood sugar levels). If you’ve adhered to this
plan, your numbers should have improved considerably. Chart your exercise progress below.
Pedometer number—steps per day
Number of pushups
Number of sit-ups
Balance test—seconds (at least 15)
you can balance on each leg
Heart/lung test—distance in
yards (at least 600) you can walk
in 6 minutes
Have more sex. Couples who
increase their lovemaking from
once to twice a week increase
their longevity by three years.
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