I was taught one should never yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater or loudly greet a friend named Jack with a hearty “Hi!” at an airport as those actions cause unnecessary panic which will almost certainly result in a multitude of serious injuries as the frenzied masses try to run screaming from the building.

I have also embraced the notions of “If you see something, say something,” and “all evil needs to prosper is that good folks do nothing,” such that when I see things that alarm me, I more often than not, choose to report it to someone, even if it means I might be embarrassed to find out it was nothing and that I wasted someone’s time and frightened people unnecessarily.

It can be so difficult to determine when you should say something when something doesn’t look or feel right. We can wage internal war between the parts that want to run screaming from the building and the parts that want to sit obediently quiet and wait for the authorities to work things out. That war can paralyze us, demoralize us, and leave us exhausted, hostile, and depressed.

When you find yourself caught between two courses of action, each of which seem problematic, please do yourself the giant favor of taking 5 minutes to yourself, sitting comfortably, breathing in and out deeply and slowly, and connect with your inner wisdom. It always knows the next right thing to do.

You may experience this as the wise voice of your long-deceased grandmother, your soul or spirit, your rational self, God, an angel, the culmination of years of experience, or even a calm and serene voice you don’t recognize at all. In any case, it knows. It knows if it’s time to yell, “Fire!” sit quietly and wait, or get 3-4 other calm helpers and usher everyone safely out of the building under the pretext of performing a fire drill.

Take five minutes today and listen to your inner voice, and then take the next reasonable action.

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Natural Remedies

I don’t have time to run to my doctor today. Quick, Internet, “What’s a natural remedy for my menopause symptoms?” Kale & Spinach. “Ugh! What else you got?” Lose weight. “Pass. What else?” Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. “Uh, yeah, we covered kale & spinach already, and now you’re adding bananas and cherries after you just told me to lose weight. Please try again.” Exercise regularly. “Damnit! We have already covered this – kale, spinach, lose weight. I want relief now” Drink water. “Whew! There’s one I can do.” Pardon me now while I take a long drink of water. Please join me in doing the same.

This, of course, reminds me of the natural remedy for depression I offer to every potential counseling patient who claims not having enough time or money to start therapy and doesn’t want any sort of medication: 1) Water, 2) Sleep, 3) Nutrition, 4) Movement, and 5) Socializing. I am typically met with arguments that they’re too depressed to socialize or get out and move, they only want to eat crap, and they can’t sleep or are already sleeping too much. So, I tell them, “Tthen drink water.” Pardon me now while I take another drink of water. I invite you to please do the same.

After a sip of water, less depressed individuals will launch into how it’s really their job or their spouse or their kids or their parents that’s the problem. As we explore the job and the kids and the spouse and the parents, it becomes clear that they hustle all day from one thing to the next, grabbing fast food here, eating half their kid’s discarded sandwich there, rushing off to meetings and work sessions, and sitting on chairs or in drivers’ seats for 8, 10, 15, or more hours a day. They typically reveal they’re getting an average of 4-6 hours of sleep, generally beginning after 10 or 11pm. I go back to my five recommendations and encourage them to get 6-8 hours of sleep and begin that sleep before 10pm. I am generally met with explanations of how they must keep that schedule to keep up with all the engagements they have, which tends to include some socializing and maybe even some exercise, so I remind them of the importance of nutrition and they pull a healthy bar out of their purse to prove to me that they attend to nutrition, so I’m back again to water. I suggest they drink more water. You now know the drill. Take another drink with me now.

If you’re four paragraphs into this and your water is empty, go fill it now. If you’re this far and you don’t even have any water within reach, go get some. I’ll wait. We’ll all wait. It’s that important. Not energy drink. Not coffee. Not tea. Not scotch and water. Not athletic replenishment drink. Just water.

And although Eddie Money suggests that some cool, cool, water can fix damn near anything, I wouldn’t go quite that far. I’ll need to squelch my peri-menopausal irritability in some other way. Turns out you don’t even have to limit yourself to drinking the water to experience it’s benefits. You can soak your body or feet in it. You can swim in or float on it, or run through a sprinkler. That all helps. In fact, I think I’ll go splash some on my face now to calm my soul. And, while I’m in there, I’ll go ahead and make room for more!

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