glucose is at great levels – no sign of diabetes
cholesterol looks great – he even asked me if I do physical activity
blood pressure looks perfect
no kidney or liver problems and every other metric pretty much says I am as healthy as an ox
I was surprised by all this because of the aforementioned but also because I swear that the stress of living in Brazil sometimes makes me feel like I am about to burst an artery. But then I thought about myself for a minute and said, “You know what? I am not perfect, but I do manage to take care of myself alright!”
1. Drink joyfully with friends.
Don’t be a drunkard – that is not good for your liver. And don’t drink alone – that is not good for your mind. But drink enough to get your spirits up and do it with friends. This lowers all stress levels and brings joy into your life. When drinking – don’t debate politics or religion – talk about the things you all love collectively and allow that love to grow collectively. Drink an expensive beer, drink cheap beer, drink foreign wine, drink wine you wouldn’t use to cook with, drink stuff that could maybe start an engine, but do drink.
2. Meditate a little (even if meditation just means shutting the fuck up and breathing deeply alone in your bathroom for five minutes).
I am a champion of meditation. I started with transcendental and moved on to mindfulness, but both work just fine. Meditation basically trains your mind to shut down and that makes you feel like a real champ. Not everything needs our commentary. Shutting up and shutting down are the two greatest gifts you can give to yourself and others – nobody wants to hear our shit all day. Pretty soon you will be skipping social media posts that obviously trigger you just because … WHO GIVES A FUCK!!!
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff (hey, everyone’s balance is in the red!!! Join the party).
Debt – who doesn’t have it? A broken something or other inside the house – who doesn’t have one? A brain dead co-worker – check. Horrible traffic – yeah, we got that covered. There are so many terrible things out there that are just part of being alive on planet Earth that if we spend too much time worrying about them we will go nuts. People manage just fine in the end – some better than others but that is none of your concern.
Just realize that job changes, political regime changes, weather changes, and every other change is part of the living experience. Once you do that, then you can be prepared for the really hard stuff like natural disasters, wars, famines, terminal or chronic diseases, or even a new Fast and Furious movie. The less you sweat, the dryer you will be and you won’t stink up the place. Oh, and it will lower your blood pressure, I have heard.
4. Keep busy with something you actually enjoy doing
If your job sucks then get a hobby. Find something that you really enjoy and do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s playing tennis or watching Star Trek for hours on end (I do both) but you got to find something you love to occupy some of your time.
Now, if you are young enough or were smart enough, you, of course, should marry some of what you love into the work that you do. I work in education and with music. Work doesn’t feel like work – most of the time. When you get up in the morning, after you have cursed the heavens for having to leave the bed again, you won’t feel as shitty realizing that you are going to go make money doing something that actually stimulates you on some level. I have met enough ex-big-shot-something-or-others here in Brazil to know that money definitely does not trump finding your place in the sun with the people you enjoy. Try it, it works. Oh, and don’t forget to have sex and if you are too ugly to get laid, watch porn.
5. Shit passes eventually and if it doesn’t, well, drink even more joyfully.
Well, nothing lasts forever – unless you live in North Korea – then it sure as hell feels like it. But, for the most part, we here in the Western world are pretty blessed to have oscillating political systems, oscillating economic times, oscillating trends in music and entertainment, and oscillating lives! People move in and out of your “friends circle”. Work gets tough then it gets easy. Money comes fast and then it comes hard. The best you can do is hold on to that happy medium and extend the positives as far as you can.
Of course, if all else fails and you are stuck in the mud for longer than you had imagined you would be – drink even more joyfully with even more friends. Accentuate the positives, and revel in knowing that you aren’t the only one who has had or is having a shitty time. There is nothing that special about your experience unless an M.D. says so – then you shouldn’t be out of the house drinking anyway!!! Good cheer is essential to keeping up a healthy lifestyle.
6. Oh yeah, and eat healthily and exercise and shit.
Brazil is a good place to eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies – just wash them well before popping them in your mouth. There are also a lot of parks and beaches for you to go running, hiking and jogging. Gyms are a dime a dozen and the crazy sidewalks will give you all the ass-muscle you had ever wanted in your life. So, yeah, don’t forget to do the “right stuff”, too and consult your doctor for the best way to do said “right stuff”.
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