Last week I read an article written by Parker Nash entitled “16 Things Everybody Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Successful” and thought what a great twist on the old self-help angle.

The concept here is that we should do LESS and ELIMINATE the wasteful things we spend a lot of our time doing. (INSERT facebook, morning TV, binge-watching Netflix and you-tubing videos of cats unsuspectingly pouncing on their owners with knee slapping reactions of screaming and seizure like spasms.)

1. Stop Doing So Much

As Nash quips, we inhabit a culture that favors activity over inactivity, believing that doing anything, is better than doing nothing. But what’s the cost of being eternally busy?

Do we distract ourselves to avoid the real issues at hand? Do we embrace accomplishing trivial tasks instead of confronting our fears and problems? Rather than spreading yourself thin, focus on THE most important thing on your list and do it well.

2. Stop Looking for Pleasure and Search for Purpose

Now hear me out. At first glance you may say, “What in the actual heck is she SAYING????” Whaddya mean don’t seek pleasure? (And Whaddya was spelled this way on purpose.)

Let’s take inventory of how we live our lives. We sit in perfect room temperature all season long. We order ready made food to be delivered anytime, anywhere. Why do laundry this week when I can order 12 pair of underwear from amazon prime and have it delivered tomorrow? (Was that out loud?)

Focusing on fleeting pleasures are easy and achievable. And don’t forget fun, cause they are fun. But when all is said and done, did you get any closer to your long term life goals? Did you achieve something meaningful? Do you ultimately feel fulfilled? Is level 4 million and 12 on candy crush your legacy? Well, it’s mine, but that’s another story.

3. Stop Filling Your Mind with Negativity

Seriously, the degree to which we overload our minds with useless information and worry is astonishing. And this matters because ultimately, you are what you think about. If you expose yourself constantly to all the crap on the news, and outraged facebook posts and horror that is being reported in the world how is that coloring your mood? How does that impact your outlook? How does that help you with your purpose?

Certainly if that information fires you up to DO something about what you hear about, then go for it. But if you basically roll over in bed and start worrying about world war 3 and feel like, “well, why should I get out of bed since the world is about to implode?” then it may not be the best use of your time.

I’ve never been one to listen to the news, or sit in on morning TV or frankly even read the paper. When I do read the paper it’s because I’ve shamed myself about how uninformed I am about the comings and goings in the world. But in all honesty, how does knowing all this head-spinning death and despair news make me a better person? How does it forward my agenda in life?

I knew from a young age (you know, 3 weeks ago) that hearing scary news made it hard for me to concentrate and focus on what I wanted to do. And at the time, the goal was to watch every episode of Gilligan’s Island at least 4 times each. That and to go to medical school to try to help people heal. You’ll all be happy to know I was able to accomplish both goals mainly by ignoring all world news. Ta-dah!!!!

4. Stop Talking and Start Listening

As Nash states so eloquently: “Stop assuming when somebody has an opposing view that they are wrong and stop assuming when one questions your beliefs that it’s a personal attack. Instead, assume it’s an opportunity to learn and expand your mind.”

He goes on to say “In today’s climate, we are so quick to judge someone based on one single belief. The problem is, it’s impossible to fully understand a person’s belief system because you can’t possibly know all their life experiences that led to those beliefs.

Those who know me may say I’m a bit opinionated and think I’m always right. Ask my husband. He is fully aware and on board with the fact that I’m always right. And by onboard I mean he puts the volume up on the TV when I’m declaring how right I am.

When you listen, you have an opportunity to learn and gain a better understanding

Recently I’ve come to understand that shutting up and listening really has value. As I’ve transitioned my practice to a functional medicine model, I have the opportunity to actually spend time with patients and “hear” them. Listening opens the door to posing better, meaningful questions with answers that shift how I assess and formulate a patient’s plan of action for better health. And that helps me accomplish one of my life’s purposes. The other life purpose of course to become an expert in shadow puppetry. It’s a thing.

Bottom line: We gain a lot from another person’s perspective.

5. Stop putting off what’s most important and be in the present moment.

What are you putting off in your life that would be a real tragedy if you couldn’t experience it? What would that feel like? Picture that terrible feeling. Now go make that experience happen. Plan it. Do it.

The present moment is a gift. Stop with the phone and be with the humans around you. Pay attention to real people and not “likes” and “hearts.”

How Does Your Health Measure Up? Take These Four At Home Assessments

1. Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleep is essential for healing your body. It impacts your immune defense, your detox ability and metabolism. Less than a third of people get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.

In three large studies, researchers found that sleeping five hours or less per night increased your risk of dying from all causes by almost 15%.

2. Can You Get up off the floor without using your hands or knees

According to physician and researcher Claudio Gil Araújo, this simple yet difficult task is a strong predictor of longevity.

Here’s how to do the test: First, lower yourself to the floor with your legs crossed. Don’t use your hands, knees, arms, sides, or legs to brace yourself. Then stand up without any support. If you can do this, you are in great shape. If not…..not so much.

According to Araújo in people aged 50 and over, those with the lowest score were about five times more likely to die within the next six years or so than those who scored 8–10 points.

Now this isn’t the be all and end all by the way. There are several variables that are not necessarily related to your overall health that could impact your ability to do this test. But, if you CAN, it’s pretty nifty.

3. How’s Your Poop?

I’ve regaled you all with this in the past, check out this post. But you must look at your poop. In fact, stop what you are doing right now and go look.

Regular, well-formed poops really do predict good health. Being constipated isn’t just annoying, it’s trying to tell you that something is amiss. Just because a whopping 15 to 20% of people are constipated doesn’t make it okay. If 15 to 20% of people were jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would THAT be okay??? Pay attention to your poop. And also, is that how you spell regaled?? Please leave correct spelling in comments.

4. Are you feeling lonely?

According to this study, loneliness was associated with an increase in mortality comparable to that of smoking and obesity.

Loneliness isn’t really about how full your social calendar is or how many friends you have. Do you perceive feeling isolated? Do you feel left out? Not understood? Unable to fully connect with others?

Take this quiz to see how you rate. Here are some recommendations offered to help overcome feelings of loneliness.

Please Share the Health if you liked what you read.!!!  

For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website  Look! You are already here. 

Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!