365 Health Strategies: March 13
Health Strategy: Physical Moves Emotional
March 13, 2007


One study showed that English speaking people considered the word "tranquility" the most beautiful word in the language. The word brings pleasure to the ear and a lofty goal to the mind. Most wish for tranquility and the peace of mind and health of body that tranquility affords yet still want adventure and excitement. Is it possible to have both?

A life lived in coma or continual sleep would be tranquil I suppose but wouldn't appeal to most. A life of purpose and adventure offers a reason for climbing out of bed. But, how does one reach for adventure and still hold tranquility and the resulting health.

Benjamin Franklin listed Tranquility as the 11th of 13 virtues in his book of self examination for the attainment of virtue. I'd say that Franklin lived an adventuresome life. He arrived in Philadelphia as a near penniless teenager; he proceeded to wealth and the risk of life in the treason to the king England (to help draft the Declaration of Independence). Yet, he daily reached for Tranquility in the midst of adventure.

Other friends and famous figures immediately come to mind when considering the possibility of living in adventure while maintaining Tranquility. But, how might such a state be obtained?

Even in the most equable of figures, adventure brings intervals of turbulent emotions. Franklin wrote letters of emotion concerning the failure to keep peace and the need for him to return to the colonies when reconciliation seemed impossible. Christ sweated drops of blood in the garden and grew angry enough to overturn furniture and swing a whip in church. So, though Tranquility may be obtained there will still be occasions when emotion appropriately surfaces when interacting with purpose-even among the enlightened.

Those whom I've known to keep Tranquility and health in the midst of turmoil, even while expressing emotion, have been connected to a purpose larger than self. I will not tell you, however, that purpose alone guarantees Tranquility.

It also seems that the healthy of mind and body that I've examined seem to live the definition of Tranquility outlined by Franklin: "Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable." The unhealthy seem to have worn-out shock absorbers that allow them to feel the bump of trifles where the healthy seem blinded to trifles by a blanket of positive emotions like faith and purpose and forgiveness and love.

But how to obtain? The challenge is that emotions cannot be physically held and shoved from one position to another. You can slide your chair from one side of the room to the other; you can't physically push emotions from anger or worry or depression to the side of faith and tranquility. So what can be done?

I'd like to spend the next few days discussing several things that can physically be done to move what physically can't be touched: what you physically do with your body to change your emotions. I'll give a list of physical act to move the non-physical emotions.

Physical action #1: Though you can't touch emotions, you can lift one foot and then another and walk down the road. This physical act when done to the degree that you move your physical body at least 3 miles a day has been proven to help move depression to tranquility and anxiety to Tranquility better than does psychotherapy. I think I'll stop writing now and go for a walk. We'll talk more tomorrow.

__Read Joshua Chapters 8 - 14 __Walk 3 miles: actual miles _____ __ Eat 5 fruits or vegetables: actual eaten _____ __ Virtue: Tranquility-be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

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