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Dr Mike's Medicine - By Dr. Mike Colson

Dr. Mike’s Medicine

My eldest sister Donita was always playing mother to her imagined brood of six brothers. Her favorite trick when the parents were gone was hiding vitamin pills inside hotdogs. I am sure she always hoped we’d never notice and thereby achieve what might best be described as stealth health. Which got me to thinking about my sister’s methods for so many of us who work hard, live large, and are important to so many.

Stealth is the action of doing something slowly, quietly, and covertly, in order to avoid detection. Stealth health is slow, quiet, and private actions taken to insure optimum well being. These are actions that help us fine tune not our passion for living as much as the rhythm it beats to. Here are a few stealth actions I have found useful.

Do something big every day. This may seem too large a task but in fact it is probably the easiest for most of us. Big is often synonymous with important or meaningful and for most of us that is what we do for work. Working ten hours a day is big. So is staying at a task in spite of challenges. I have always liked to name, just for myself, what that big accomplishment was at the end of each day. Naming the action I labored to complete gave it an identity that enhanced its value. Knowing I had accomplished made me feel valuable.

Do something small. These are the water cooler moments that provide the spice and ultimately the flavor during busy days. Helping out another. Taking time to talk when you’d prefer to be working or alone. Handling a task that, though small in the grand scheme, is irritating nonetheless and is better put to rest. Writing a letter, a get-well card, or a friendly note or email. Bringing someone a small gift like a snack or cup of coffee for no reason at all. The value of these actions will be known if not greatly appreciated. There are those who might say regarding the doing of something small that “no good deed goes unpunished”. My experience tells me though that these nay sayers are more than likely just cheap with their time, talents, and money.

And finally, do something for you. When I was in graduate school it was thirty minutes with “Perry Mason” on television while eating a hastily prepared lunch. Later it was a quiet coffee, a fifteen minute nap, or a bike or motorcycle ride after work. I once pulled over at a scenic site while racing from one appointment to another and found the most perfect secluded beach. In Afghanistan, I walked a mile to get a latte’ and found a new vitality in what were long and hard commitments. There is “joy in the doing” when we take the time to pay ourselves in small installments. In the act we remind ourselves that we are important…to others and to ourselves.

The only prescription necessary for the above is to remember that if we are important to others, then taking care for ourselves has even greater value.