Last week, at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, Dean Ornish MD made the telling point that our recovery efforts are pretty much doomed to failure unless we incorporate fun into our routines. Dr Ornish offered his own personal example where instead of exercising (or maybe in addition to exercise) he and his wife are active tango dancers.
A lightbulb went off in my head when I heard Dr Ornish. Suddenly, I realized that in my own life nearly all my successful routines had a strong fun component built into them while just about anything I have tried based on iron discipline turned out virtually dead on arrival. Naturally, we need to lead disciplined lives, but obviously we need to employ fun and enjoyment as our natural allies.
In my own life: My "exercise" involves enjoyable walks, playing water volleyball, and (off and on) dancing. My "diet" is based on my love of cooking - anything I prepare comes out far tastier and healthier than restaurant food. A lot of my "stress management" involves contemplative time-outs. Even my "work" is based on my addiction to writing.
So - I got it all wrong when I urged diet, exercise, stress-management, etc on people. Yes, the principles are sound and the benefits are enormous, but the best practices in the world are useless if they are virtually impossible to apply. In short, I really need your help here.
This week's Question:
What "fun" elements work in your recovery and why?
Thus, if you see owning a dog as fun then you need to explain why owning a dog is good for you, such as your dog giving you the incentive for going on daily walks.
Please feel free to suggest how a beginner can take up your fun activity and get connected to a supportive community and otherwise overcome any perceived fears and obstacles.
Published On: May 25, 2009
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