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Will This Knowledge Give You Power…or Anxiety?

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To know…Not to know…To know…Not to know…

That’s the question.

Fascinating new research now gives us at least some ability to discover our risks for certain diseases, conditions, tendencies…but do we really want to know.

Well, that depends…on your philosophy, your desire and willingness to be proactive (even if it means significant lifestyle changes,) and your tendency toward worry and anxiety.

The company 23andMe has been working on personal DNA testing for years, but now thanks to some funding and advancements information about current and future health concerns is affordable and accessible to all of us. (Currently $99)

Want to know if you’re at higher risk for Parkinson’s or Breast cancer? How gluten affects your body? Which medications you’re likely to have a bad reaction too?

What about your children? Do you want to know what their risks are or if you’re a carrier and what you’ve possibly passed down to your children?

23andMe also gives you recommendations and keeps you updated on new advancements. There’s also a really neat ancestry component that lets you find relatives you may not have known existed through DNA matching…Fascinating.

Also a bit scary and Orwellian to some.

It’s not perfect science and it’s definitely not comprehensive. It’s certainly no guarantee either. For many conditions, lifestyle plays a far greater role than does genetics, but…

Since I firmly fall into the “Knowledge is power” camp, I want to know as much as I possibly can about my health risks so that I can address them, monitor them and prepare for them as much as possible. Since I’m also a card-carrying member of the “Plagued by anxiety and worry” camp, I’ll have to deal with that part too.

Yes, genetic advancements may open the door for some disturbing and possibly dangerous possibilities. But the reality is genetic research and personal DNA is the future of medicine, so we might as well use it to our advantage to whatever extent we can.

My birthday is right around the corner…and you can bet that this is at the top of my list of gifts that I’m giving myself.

What about you? Do you want to know?

 

More:

(Watch how Dr. Nancy Snyderman looks at her breast cancer risk on the Today show)

(Fabulous article “INSIDE 23ANDME FOUNDER ANNE WOJCICKI’S $99 DNA REVOLUTION,” on FastCompany.com)

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When Even the Best Intentions Go Awry

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It happens to all of us I think… You think you’re doing everything right, then life slaps you down with very rude, “Ha! And you thought you were in the driver’s seat…Wrong!” It happens. It sucks. But it happens.

You suddenly find yourself on this shaky ground of “What the heck happened?” What do you do?

Well, that’s both personal and circumstance driven. Your “what to do” may be different than mine. And it’s most definitely different if you’ve lost your job than if you’ve lost a loved one, when you’re going through a divorce or dealing with a health crisis, and so on.

Retreat. Rethink. Regroup. Reframe. Revise. Renew. Revive. Start over.

I share this as sort of a roundabout way of shining a light on a dilemma we all face while explaining my rather sparse and sporadic posting and social media presence over the last month or two. Yes, happened to me too.

Long story short:

A very healthy, rarely sick, energetic “doer,” (that’s me,) finds she has disappeared and in her place is a very sick, barely functional human with some strange unexplained affliction. This is the point in life’s smack down when we finally realize, that yes, this is actually happening to us.

Fast forward a few (actually more than a few) months of tests, research, meds, medicinal herbs and various supplements and there seems to be some measure of improvement, but not truly getting better, certainly not back to fully functional.

So, doctor’s orders: Rest, rest, rest, no work, no exercise, no stress…

My response: Are you kidding me? I don’t think I know how to do that!

This was followed by much complaining, rationalizing, bargaining, resisting… The usual response when we find ourselves in circumstances we desperately don’t want to be in…

After the dirt settles we realize that we only have two choices:
Bite the bullet and do whatever needs to be done no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it is…
Or drift along in victim mode.

No choice really.

So…What do I do?

I chose Retreat, Rethink, and Renew.

Go to bed early, take naps, yoga, a bit of walking, meditate, disconnect as much as possible, radically eliminate and minimize, let many things slide, basically stop working (hence the sporadic blog posts,) and ask for help.

Is it hard? Incredibly so.

Is it working? Slowly, but yes.

What comes next? I have absolutely no idea.

We’ve all heard this before…Change or die.

Pretty much sums it up. Sometimes literally. Sometimes figuratively.

How about you…When life smacks you down, what do you do?

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What’s the Key to Longevity?

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If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.

~ George Burns

As we develop a better understanding of stress, the mountain of research is showing empirically what George knew instinctively – Stress is killing us.

Both literally in that it damages our physical health so directly that it is in fact shortening our lifespan and figuratively in that it causes us such angst and discontent that it becomes a barrier to our true enjoyment of life as well.

When we begin to acknowledge that stress is not ancillary, not a phase or a temporary condition to be “managed,” but a real and dangerous threat, then we can begin to take meaningful action to remove that stress from our lives.

For now, take a deep breath and enjoy today. Otherwise what’s the point of being here?

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How Utilizing the Minimum Effective Dose Will Save You Time and Effort

I had never heard the term Minimum Effective Dose (MED) before I read “The 4-Hour Body,” by Tim Ferriss. But now I’m fascinated with the concept. Anything that saves time and effort is a win.

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply; the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.

Time give’s some examples to illustrate in “real life” terms.

You need 212°F to boil water. Anything higher is just a waste of energy. You can’t get “more boiled.”

You need 15-30 minutes of sunlight to get your required vitamin D, anything more may just result in sun damage.

 

Some other examples:

If you can get most of the benefit of weight training from 1 set, do you really need to do 3? (Your call, your body, your time.)

How much time do I need for social media? If 30 minutes a day gets me decent results, is it really worth spending an hour and a half?

I get a solid benefit meditating for 20 minutes a day, anything more just makes me antsy.

I see results with (and can maintain) 30 minutes of exercise most days. More makes me tired and anxious about the time I’m using.

 

It’s basically the law of diminishing returns. And it can really be applied to many areas of life.

The trick is to figure out the minimum time, effort, or resources that will give you the result you want (or some approximation of it,) and stop at that point. Anything extra is an inefficient use of energy that could be used for something else.

How might you apply this strategy?

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Do You Ever Wish You Could Roll Back Time?

vintage-woman-largeThis will no doubt anger many of my female readers and friends… but I sometimes secretly wish for the days before the “women’s movement,” a time when it was enough just to be a wife and a mother and a volunteer and an organizer and a nurturer, a time when we weren’t expected to add professional, businesswoman, career-driven to that list.

Would I have been happy in that role? Would it have been enough for me to take care of my home and my family and my community? I don’t know… Probably not. You can bet I would’ve had the cleanest house, the most active PTA, and the best cookies on the block!

Here’s the problem though… I do have an extremely clean house, I have been very active in my children’s schools and community organizations, I do take care of the house and try to support my husband and nurture my children… As do many of the women I know…

…But I also have to manage a career, earn money to help support my family, and try to find my place in the professional world.

I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities available to me, but the reality is, that with great opportunities, also come great expectations… And sometimes those expectations can weigh heavily…I expect I’m not alone in that…though few will admit it.

Do I wish we could roll back to the 1950s? Hell no! Dresses and curlers really aren’t my thing…plus I hate to iron…

But some days…on those bone crushing, weary days…I entertain the daydream in the dark recesses of my mind…

And then I wake up…

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