Monday, January 21, 2013

The "V" Word- Vaccinate!

I am going to admit here that I have not yet gotten a flu shot this year.  Nor did I get one last year. The last year I truly remember getting a flu shot was in 2009. I do know that the last time I had the actual flu was in the spring of 2010.  It lasted about a week and I remember I was really, really miserable and missed 2 days of work.  Because I am independently employed, when I am sick, I don't work and when I don't work, I don't get paid.  So, you'd think I would rush out and get immunized immediately right? well, maybe not... Let's weigh the pros and cons.

We'll start with the cons.  I am not one of those that fears the possible side effects of vaccines.  Although, there is plenty to fear - seizures, brain swelling, fever, rash, pneumonia,  hepatitis, and more, according to the CDC.  However, all of these are rare and all are usually not serious.  I do not believe vaccines cause autism or other such claims, but you will find these claims on the internet and in publications.  I don't completely discredit the claims, but it seems very unlikely. However, when one rarely gets any type of illness (colds or flu in my case), these side effects seem an unnecessary risk or possible annoyance.  Is it really necessary? I guess the question here is, is the risk of the side effects greater or less than the risk of actually getting the flu?

Then there's cost.  My insurance doesn't cover my flu shot.  Not sure why.  So, I have to go to the clinic or to the local pharmacy and pay for my vaccination.  Alright, it is $30 and I can most likely manage that, especially if it prevents the loss of  income for a day or 2 of work, right?  Maybe, but there seems to be a bit of a gambler in me and the odds of NOT getting the flu are in my favor, according to the history of my past 10 years.

Finally there's the pain.  Sometimes there's not much to it and other times, I feel it every time I lift my arm!  I really have to steel myself for the actual shot which is way more effective than the nose inhaler and much more available.  Rumor has it that the inhaler is no longer available in my area anyway.  Something inside me, maybe that 2nd grader who had to stand in lines at school with the talk and the fear and the distress, is saying NO!  Maybe it's time to let that 2nd grade fear go....

The pros are pretty well balanced with the cons.  There is little chance I will get the flu this year, if I am immunized and little chance of any side effects.  Of course, various strains are out there and they have to predict what's possible and make the vaccine months in advance to have enough supply, so this isn't an exact science.  I still could get some other strain.  If I don't get sick, I don't miss work, I don't lose income.  Plus, I don't have the misery of being sick!  It goes back and forth like this in my head.

Where things go astray on my pros and cons is that vaccines prevent the spread of the flu.  This isn't just about me, my health, and my income.  Thousands die every year from the flu.  This number ranges from 3,000 to 49,000, according to the CDC.  The severity of the strain varies each year.  Those with compromised immune systems due to illness and chemotherapy, plus the elderly and infants can not get immunized.  Preventing the flu from being contracted, prevents its spread.  This means one person at a time.

There are various ways to boost the immune system through supplements and healthy foods. Supplements are pricey and so might undo the cost factor argument I made earlier.  Healthy food is a definite must, but how much is enough?  Washing your hands also works, but make sure you are 100%.  It just takes one exposure.  Dr. Andrew Weil recommends weighing the risks, the lifestyle factors, and the concerns each individual has and make your decision.

I am still undecided, but I feel like I am leaning toward yes, I will get myself immunized.  If you have yet to get your flu shot, ask yourself these same questions and make a decision that is best for you and those around you!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Resolution for Intention

What would happen if you were to begin each day, each activity, each special event, each New Year in your life with an intention?  Not a to-do list, not a goal, not a resolution, but an intention……..

What the intention does is set a purpose. It lets you know a direction, an idea of what's to come in your day, your year, your life.  It is like an introduction to a paper or a book -"here is what I plan to share with you in my writing......." it creates the feeling and the mindset right off the bat.

An intention is like a resolution or goal in some ways, but very different in 2 important ways. A resolution or goal requires strong acts of will toward a purpose, while an intention is a strong, but gentle, state of being.  A resolution is focused on a future outcome. An intention is focused on the present.

When you set an intention, you create the mindset or state of being you wish to cultivate, you create the emotion you want to feel, you find the connection to spirit you desire. If you desire a happy life, you set the intention to be happy - right now, you create the mindset immediately. What we create in the present then creates the future.

Arguments with that:  But I can't be happy the way my life is now, I will be happy when...... I lose 15 lbs., I get a new job, I am done with this training and get that promotion...... It goes on and on. The problem is we don't get happy. We find another requirement to our happiness and always a new requirement after that.

An intention comes from an internal space. When we create what we are seeking from within - without requirements from the outside world - we won't be disappointed. Yes, we are human, so we will fail sometimes and lose track of our intentions, but continually practicing, continually setting intentions trains our brains, our nervous systems, our spiritual presence, and our thinking patterns into an automated mode that returns to the intention regularly and with increasing speed as we practice, until it becomes permanent.

Set your intention daily: Sit quietly with some music that sets the tone for your intention, if desired. Close your eyes and let yourself feel the intention - I want to be happy with my body - don't talk yourself out of it, just feel the happiness, not judging or criticizing. All we're doing here is creating what it is you want to feel and let yourself feel it, know it, soak it in! I want to be successful - let yourself feel success, know it, soak it in! I want to feel happy.  Do this for a few minutes to longer each and every day. If you'd like, you can set the daily intention in the morning and then sit with it at night seeing how the day went. Give the practice a month and notice how life changes for you!