Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2019

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Page 10 of 31

April/May 2019 11 healthy living By Laura G. Owens Most people understand the idea of savoring when it comes to food and wine. To savor is to consciously slow down, to take in the sensory sensations which in turn, enhances the experience. Researcher Maggie Pitts with the University of Arizona wanted to know if and how people savor different forms of communication. Her study stemmed from evidence in the field of positive psychology that found that when people recognize and appreciate enjoyable experiences (savor), it increases their well-being, relationships, and quality of life. In her research, Pitts administered online surveys to 65 young adults, (average age 22). The subjects were asked whether or not they savor communication, and if so, to share a detailed experience. Pitts categorized subjects' answers into seven forms of communication. 1. Aesthetic, e.g. a surprise twist, inspiring speech. 2. Communication presence, e.g. an engaging immersive conversation with another person. 3. Non-verbal, e.g. a hug or smile. 4. Recognition and acknowledgment, e.g. an award or speech honoring someone. 5. Relational, e.g. a conversation that confirms or gives insight into a relationship such as a couple discussing their future. 6. Extraordinary, e.g. communication around a special moment like a wedding, illness, or other "landmark memories." 7. Implicitly shared communication. e.g. unspoken, difficult to articulate, such as sensing excitement in a crowd. Savoring typically happens in the moment, but retroactive and anticipatory savoring are also possible and can be just as beneficial. "You can time travel through savoring," she said. "I can sit here now and think of something that happened earlier today or yesterday or 25 years ago, and when I recall that savoring moment, I physiologically experience savoring, and that makes me feel relaxed and puts me in a good mood and can really boost my moment. There's also this idea of anticipatory savoring. People do this when they plan for a vacation or a honeymoon or the weekend. We anticipate and we have that good feeling that helps us in the moment." THE BENEFITS OF SAVORING. IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT FOOD. LOVE DOWNWARD DOG? NOT GREAT FOR OSTEOPOROSIS. STOPPING TO SMELL THE ROSES, WORKS. Rock Body YOUR Researchers at the Mayo Clinic reviewed health records of 89 people (mostly women) with either osteoporosis (bones become thinner and more porous from loss of mineral content) or osteopenia (bone loss that hasn't reached osteoporosis). The subjects included in the review attributed their pain to their yoga practice. Some were new to yoga, some seasoned. The patients identified 12 poses they said caused or aggravated their symptoms. The most common postures involved extreme flexing or extending of the spine. Researchers used patients' health records, medical exams, and imaging to confirm and categorize the injuries as soft tissue, joint, or bone injuries. Researchers pinpointed 29 bony injuries, including slippage of vertebrae, compression fractures, and degeneration of disks. "Yoga has many benefits. It improves balance, flexibility, strength, and is a good social activity," says Mehrsheed Sinaki, M.D., a Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and the study's senior author. "But if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, you should modify the postures to accommodate your condition. As people age, they can benefit by getting a review of their old exercise regimens to prevent unwanted consequences." A University of British Columbia (UBC) study found that spending time outdoors is an easy way to improve general happiness and well- being. UBC researcher Holli-Anne Passmore asked subjects to document how nature they saw during their daily routine made them feel. Participants were asked to take a photo of something in nature that caught their attention — a dandelion in a sidewalk crack, birds, the sun shining through a window — anything that wasn't man-made, then to write a brief note about how it made them feel. So, the old cliché to "stop and smell the roses," works. "This wasn't about spending hours outdoors or going for long walks in the wilderness," Passmore says. "This is about the tree at a bus stop in the middle of a city and the positive effect that one tree can have on people…. The difference in participants' well-being — their happiness, sense of elevation, and their level of connectedness to other people, not just nature — was significantly higher than participants in the group noticing how human-built objects made them feel and the control group."

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