For most people the anchor of this, the 47th week of the year, is on giving thanks.....an attitude of gratitude.....which made its annual "pilgrimage" to the front of our lives on Thursday. It may seem to fly by faster and faster these days, but tucked within its tradition is something to be REALLY thankful for; if we can keep that spirit alive long enough, we might just get a glimpse of the elusive "3rd side" of the wellness coin.
Sure a "three sided coin" seems impossible.....but in the strictest sense EVERY coin has three sides.....it's just incredibly rare to actually "land" on the third side, or the "edge" as we might think of it. But here's the great news - with just the right environment and controls, it can be done.
From a physiological standpoint, if one side of the coin is "fight/flight/freeze" (the somewhat negative stress side) and the second side is "rest/digest/relax" (the somewhat positive recover side) then the thin edge which makes up the third side of the wellness coin, rare as it may be to land on, can be thought of as the "flourish/thrive/excel" (the exceedingly positive, growth side).
See, there is this amazing feature we are all carrying around with us in our highly sophisticated, interconnected tissues - the physical response/reaction after the emotional "strings" are pulled:
Side 1: When we experience the emotions of stress or anger we physically tune up (heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension) and our bodies get ready for action.
Side 2: When we emotionally slow down or let go (like the feeling of the couch after the big meal) our muscles relax and we send more resources to our digestive system.
Side 3: But when we land on the elusive 3rd side - such as when we practice gratitude - an entirely different phenomenon occurs. Not only do we get the benefits of slowing down: our stress melts away, our heart-rate slows, our blood pressure lowers and our sleep improves, but we also get actual improvements in our wellbeing (mental health) and even our cardiovascular risk.
Sometimes it's as simple as thinking, despite all of the challenges we face, about how much we have to be thankful for.
On behalf of the Pro-Activity team, please know that we are thankful for the small part we get to play in your health journey and we wish you many days that land on the 3rd side of the coin as we wrap up the year.
Have a great weekend,