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trisha hadley

Filtering by Category: Wellness

Google + Wellness. Sign me up.

A fusion of one of the most powerful technology companies in the world with a health and wellness agenda. Hell yes.

A few months ago Google CEO Larry Page announced the creation of a new company in the Google family, Calico. Their all-star team is tackling one of the biggest problems in all of healthcare: aging gracefully. No, I'm not being facetious. Aging is inevitable, obviously. But aging in a way that preserves your quality of life? That is much more elusive in the US. Our "healthcare" system is really more of a "disease management" system. People live longer, sure, but unfortunately many not to an extent where they are able to enjoy life in a significant way. 

While I actually have no idea what Google has in store for their ambitious anti-aging venture, the possibilities are virtually endless and all exciting. Will Calico become a traditional biotech company (as "traditional" as Google can be) complete with R&D, labs full of pipettes and white coats, and a pipeline of pharmaceuticals? Will the focal point be technology and our interaction with it as we age? Perhaps they have a line of droid robots in store on which one may download their brain, thus removing the need for a body.

Likely a mixture of all (hello, droid brain future), the acquisition of Nest as announced in a press release today has me leaning toward the second option. (Not to mention Google's standing as a, um, technology company.) Utilizing and maximizing information to allow users to lead optimal lives with minimal persistent effort. This is the kind of model that might work extremely well in the aging population. Imagine a screen that automatically adjusted the brightness, contrast and even content based on ones pupil diameter and breathing rate, saving your precious eyesight while delivering über personalized content that you are most apt to process at that moment. What if by placing your hands on the keyboard, your heartbeat was recorded and automatically uploaded to your medical file that your doctor would be alerted to review if any inconsistency arose? How about using that heartbeat information to sense when you are anxious or tense, and tweaking the color scheme and music on your computer/phone/tv/living space accordingly? 

From telomeres to tablets, I'm excited to see what Calico has in store. And live to 200 at least. 

Festival Love, Biopsychosocial Wellness

4 hours and I'll be in paradise. Epic jams, feet in the sand, salty air, sun, sun, sun. (Nevermind the forecast of rain everyday.)

Music festivals have a certain energy to them. Their seemingly exponential increase in popularity would lead one to infer it's a good energy. An attractive energy. My imminent adventure has got me thinking about the implications of such festivals. 

So, you read the title. Bio-whaa, you ask? Pretty much my exact response the first time I heard it as well. Then I heard it 100 more times. Then 1000. 10,000? It wouldn't surprise me.

Biopsychosocial is a model first proposed by George Engel in the late 1970's claiming that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role in the illness--wellness continuum. Consider an example of a person with cancer. Clearly there is a biological component of abnormal cell growth and division, a treatment plan often involving radiation or chemotherapy. Psychologically, what is going through their mind when they receive this diagnosis? Are they depressed? Confused? Inspired to live life to the fullest? There is certainly a change in their social existence, accommodating said treatment plan and sharing familial responsibilities. People may treat them differently in social situations (which may then affect their psychological being, which may then affect their biological being). The point is these 3 areas of our lives are all intimately intertwined and all contribute to our wellbeing. You can read more here if you're interested, so this post doesn't turn into a CAM lecture. 

But somewhere in the middle of said lecture that I'm trying to avoid subjecting you to, it clicked. We are more than just our bodies (though our medical system often reduces us to just that). And our health and happiness depends on more than just our bodies functioning properly. 

In comes music festivals. 

 

[bio]

They may not be the first thing you associate with wellness, but festivals provide much nourishment for our bodies (and souls). The simple act of standing -- or dancing -- for hours on end engages muscles, uses energy. Spending the day outside connecting with nature, breathing clean air, and soaking in the sunshine for a vitamin D boost are all healing elements of the experience. If it's hot, keeping a Camelbak full will keep you hydrated. If you're sweating from said heat -- or dancing -- you're detoxing. Not to mention the awesomely unique and healthy food truck options available at many festivals. Sign me up. 

[psycho]

Music is good for the soul. Anyone that enjoys festivals understands that to a certain extent. It may mean something different to each person, but that sweet vibrational nourishment feeds your soul. Your psyche. Break from a monotonous reality. Submersed in a new one. Standing at a show, completely present, worries gone, stress melting away. Mental wellness at its finest. 

[social] 

I love festivalgoers. Yeah sure, there's always that guy that had a few too many Sierra Nevadas and is talking ridiculously loud during the show about nothing of importance, but overall festival people rock. Especially when you find your niche, your people. I absolutely love the jam community. I'm convinced they are the best people in the world. I see people at shows that I don't know, but I know them. (Probably better than 50% of my Facebook friends.) People take care of each other at festivals. Always. Even if it is the annoying-drunk-show-talker guy. This social element is in addition to the quality time you're spending with your close knit friends. Community big and small. Beautiful, beautiful community. 

 

And then there is intersection of the 3. That moment at a show when every person in the crowd is completely invested. Different interpretations, same stimulus. Mirror neurons engaged. Totally present. One with the music. Collective consciousness. 

There you have it. Festival love, biopsychosocial wellness. 

As if you needed another reason to go.  

7 Elements Of Conscious, Healthy Travel

Not many places are as inspiring to me as airports. My hypothesis is that it's the rush of travel, excitement of going somewhere new, adventures by the dozen on the horizon. The vast majority of my writing has taken place on airplanes (and it's usually in the Notes app on my iPhone). On my most recent trip to NY, the following materialized. Enjoy. I hope it allows you to travel a bit more consciously, and who knows, maybe airports will become your new mecca of inspiration, too.

1 Hydration -- Go ahead. I give you permission. Actually, I insist. I know it's a $6 bottle of water, but it's also your best travel buddy. Keep your cells happy; fatigue and illness at bay. I always make sure to splurge on a giant bottle of water at the airport. If you do nothing else in this list, do this. (Even if you're not thirsty.) (Yes, both ways.)

2 Immunity -- The very best arsenal against the bombardment of foreign germs waiting for you around the world is your very own immune system. Help it run optimally with a vitamin and nutrient boost. A few days before departure, have a series of green juices. Bring a supplement for daily support while traveling. I'm currently obsessed with these Korres vitamin tablets I purchased while in Greece this past summer. And I am dying to try this new green powder from Aloha for my next trip! Nutrient dense green juice to-go? Yes, please. Staying super healthy while jet-setting? Check.

3 Nutrition -- Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. There's few things I love more than going to Whole Foods and stocking up on a plethora of healthy snacks for upcoming travel. (Too cool for school, huh?) A few of my favorite, easy, items to bring: apples, kale chips, and nuts with sea salt (will help keep you satiated and hydrated!) But seriously, who doesn't want to be snacking on a trail mix complete with almonds, blueberries and dark chocolate while your neighbor picks through a microwaved meal of fake meat and bread wrapped in plastic from 2009? #duh

4 Clean -- Few things rival the cleanliness (err, sea of contained germs) aboard your trusty 747. Some of my go-to ways to stay fresh while galavanting the globe are face wipes, travel-sized castille soap, and washable pillow cases. Baby wipes do wonders for your face, hands, and cell phone screen. For an especially nourishing experience, I absolutely love Josie Maran's Bear Naked wipes (which also donate a portion of proceeds to protecting polar bears affected by global warming -- a small, but meaningful way to offset your travel carbon footprint). Dr. Bronner's castille soap is another inexpensive, natural way to keep your hands and face clean in sub-par airport bathrooms. If you like to bring a neck pillow, make sure it has a washable cover (and wash it!) Do you really want to snuggle up to everywhere that pillow has touched over the years of being dragged through planes, trains, and busses around the world? Exactly.

5 Comfort -- The only rival to the cleanliness of your seat is the comfort it provides. Combat that by wearing comfy, versatile clothes. And layers. The temperature of planes and subways are always variable, often extreme, and generally unpredictable. Being prepared and comfortable will give you the ability to relax and enjoy. I also love to stick a pillow or blanket behind my lower back for extra lumbar support.

6 Rest -- When else do you have 6 hours of uninterrupted me time? Totally disconnected from the constant bombardment of work calls, social media updates, and daily errands? Take advantage of it! Close your eyes. Throw on some chill tunes. If I'm feeling especially anxious or stressed, I'll take a moment to sit straight in my chair, connect my feet to the floor, and place my hands over my chest or heart chakra. Then I'll continue to #7.

7 Breathe -- Travel can create some of the most hectic situations you'll ever encounter. It can also allow for the most peaceful moments of your life. Breathe. Mindfully. Stay disconnected from the digital world and connect to the world around you. Look out the window at 37,000 ft and take it all in. This unique vantage point. Change of perspective. Realize there is always sun above the clouds no matter the weather on the ground. Enjoy its rise. Wonder at the mystery of the world. Soak in its immense beauty. Meditate. Relax. Breathe. Be.

6 Ways To Create S P A C E In Your Life

Those tips I promised in yesterday's post:

1 Keepsakes. Always a hard one to justify. Try allowing yourself a certain, reasonable amount of space. Something small enough that you could sift through in 30 min or an hour maybe. I allowed myself one quart size ziplock bag for ticket stubs, cards, etc., and one shelf for yearbooks and whatnot. Also, see #2.

2 Digitize. This is super helpful for some of those “keepsakes” that are flirting with the border between junk and funny (i.e. not the ticket stub from your first Phish show, but maybe the flyer for an aftershow that you didn't even make it to). I spent the better part of Tuesday texting, emailing, and Instagramming so many memories that I came across. Not only did it make for an evening filled with laughs and connecting with old friends, but it also helped me realize what a great gift the digital era has brought. Now instead of saving that flyer, send a mass text ("next time we'll make it for sure..."), have a few laughs, and toss it. You now have a digital copy somewhere when you feel the need to see it again (which you probably won’t, because let’s face it, it’s a old flyer).

3 Prioritize. Take a moment to meditate on what’s really true and meaningful for you in your life. Certainly this important information to know about yourself (you’re thinking “DUH”, but, ummm, you’d be surprised...), and it definitely makes for a more efficient life-cleaning-process. For me, music is everything. So I decided to keep my record collection, but sell the majority of my books. Per #2, I figure Kindle is the way to go in my reading endeavors. Even though most of my music is digital (Spotify premium has even helped me clear most of my hard drive -- score!), there’s something about that beautiful vinyl that holds meaning for me, not least of which is the sound quality. So I’m keepin’ it.

4 Clothing. A good friend of mine once said, “If you haven’t worn it in 2 years, get rid of it.” That’s a good place to start, but it’s relatively easy to part with things you haven’t really thought about in years. The next step I took was the “Would I wear it this weekend?” question. This helps weed out the clothes you actually like. This final step separates the boys from the men: “How do I feel when I wear this?” If it’s something less than “amazing”, let it go. Think about this. What we wear has the ability to empower us, make our day, our life, better. It affects our environments. It could be amazing because it’s super comfortable, flattering, or simply expresses your style. All are great reasons to wear something. Because it’s sitting in your drawer and clean... not so much.

5 Burn. Not just found in abodes of hippies and yogis, sage and incense can provide much needed cleansing to any space. When burning, bring the sage to the corners of the room, windows and doors, and anywhere else your intuition calls. Clearing the energy will allow for peace, stillness. And space.

6 Cloud. I love the cloud. A few months ago I purchased a Macbook Air and really discovered its benefit. Even with the upgraded hard drive, this baby has minimal space. And who needs it? Dropbox. Spotify. Netflix. It’s the 21st century people! Stop hoarding, start streaming. Try backing up all of your files and clearing your hard drive or phone every once in a while. Who doesn’t love the feeling of a brand new gadget?

Alright, that should get you started. Ready? Go!

Background image by Sebastian Glasl.