8 Quirky Health Facts for Which You Can Give Thanks

1) Giving thanks improves your mood and your quality of life, both of which have a tremendous positive impact on your health. Seems like a cheat, doesn’t it, but who am I to question? We can give thanks for gratitude.geriatricswimmer.jpg

2) You can bulk up in your geriatric years. It’s never too late to start. No lie. A picture is worth a thousand studies, so get a load of this photo by Lea Suzuki to the right and then go to sfgate, where they casually mention in passing just how young Mr. Eye-candy is. Get lifting and feel the burn, go ahead, I dare you. Just keep the show-off bicep-flexing to a minimum at the nursing home, okay–kind of disorients the Candy Stripers.

3) If the worst happens, studies show people can make their peace with it. How do we know? Well, studies of people who said they would want to die if they, for example, went blind, or lost a limb, show that they tend to re-assess once they stabilize. Life isn’t as bad as they feared it would be. We are a resilient species, physically and emotionally. “Resilience” is the new buzzword in research about why some people do better than others under the same circumstances. In other words, we ought to celebrate our inner cockroach.

4) When you quit a bad habit, your body’s cleaning/repair crew moves in within minutes and, let me tell you, they work their little butts off–we’re talking time and a half, and a double pay bonus for every minute under the wire frenzy of work. We’ve all heard the benefits of stopping smoking–what happens at one minute, one hour, one day, etc. We can all give thanks that there’s no delayed gratification when it comes to your body’s repair-work. All the more reason to give quitting another try–every day you don’t smoke is a fix-it day. If you’re thinking of making a New Year’s resolution, stay tuned for some Doc Gurley Tips on how to Change Yourself. You do your part, your body’s little cleaning crew will do theirs, pronto.

5) If you have a day where there seems to be nothing to give thanks for, there is one word to change the entire mood of your day. Lean close so I can discreetly say it to you. We’re talking about the human ability to have an orgasm. And my, we’ve been given such an oh so equal-opportunity blessing. Sure, you guys can gloat about your user-friendly design. Women can contemplate the infinite wisdom and justice of having multiples bestowed on their team. That’s a hard one to top.

6) You have an omentum. An omentum is a wonderful, peaceful, organ that lives in your belly where it hangs like an apron of tissue. Your omentum is a filmy and tough creature that sweeps your belly constantly, looking for problems. If, God forbid, there is an infection, or something even worse, your omentum sweeps in and wraps itself around the mess until it can be fixed. If you had an infected appendix, a surgeon would open your belly and see your omentum bunched around it, clinging tight like a soldier who wraps his body around a grenade before it blows. Now that‘s something to be thankful for.

7) Forget Olympic perfection. Ignore the supermodel gleam of photoshopped skin. What we all should celebrate about being human is the sheer messiness of it. Our bodies are giant organic soups that change constantly. Cells misfire and implode, and then get up and try again, over and over. There are back-up plans if the first system fails and de-cluttering teams that chuck out the damaged goods, because there are lots of mistakes made all the time. Why is this something to celebrate? Well, there’s no pressure, no need to hold ourselves to some ridiculous ideal. We evolve and we are what we do each day and every day adds to another as we edge toward a better state. We strive for health, we feed the good and we trust the bad to be swept out. We wallow in our changing organic messiness, with all its potential.

8) Take a moment and listen to the symphony of yourself. Sit alone in a quiet room and feel the bass beat shudder of your heart. Notice the tambourine accompaniment of pulses in your wrists and neck and legs. There is the inhale and exhale of bagpiping lungs, and the tinkle of guts that twist and shake. Without effort, a heat arises from you, lifting and circling you like lights going up on a stage. Your pupils dilate and your recording-studio brain flickers and flashes, capturing the moment. And all this is just the lullaby-like background, the near-silent lead-in to the cymbal-crashing main act of movement and speech and laughter and sneezes of Hollywood-crescendo proportions. What a miracle you are.

There is sooo much to be thankful for.

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