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Worrying Is Not Problem-Solving

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Worrying helps you avoid unforeseen problems. Those who worry are more realistic, because they plan for every contingency. Worriers are simply more conscientious than the rest of us who don’t worry. If any of those statements remind you of yourself, now there is something tangible to worry about. (Kidding.) The root of worry is fear of the unknown and the mistaken idea that if you worry and obsess about something, you can stop bad things from happening. You can’t. A good deal of life is out of our control. I saw something written the other day that said, essentially, planing is wonderful until you put on your clothes and leave the house. Amusing and true. Worrying has no inherent protective quality. As a matter of fact, the bad things that may happen may be something you didn’t even consider before-the unknown. Worrying saps your energy, robs you of sleep, it hijacks your day and can ultimately reduce your quality of life. Nor is there room in the life of a worrier for spontaneity, too risky. Worriers may not be much fun either, they have a heavy parental quality, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ because all these bad things could happen. Those who worry also seem to have difficulty making decisions, because it might be the ‘wrong’ one. Do not confuse worry with problem-solving. The latter does not have a fear component. Problem-solvers attempt to anticipate problems, but they don’t go looking for them. Problem-solvers rely on their own resourcefulness or that of others. They have faith that they are up to the challenge. They make a decision and then let it go… Self-confidence appears to play a role as to whether one is a worrier or not. People who believe in themselves and are emotionally resilient (bounce back from problems), roll with the setbacks and forge ahead. One of my favorite quotes about worry is from Pat Schroeder, former US Representative from Colorado. She said, “You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.” Assuming you are a worrier and want to change that trait, here five tools to help. The most important concept I have for worriers is that thoughts come and go, they are not reality. One day you will worry, and the next maybe not. Imagine worries as clouds as they drift across your vision. Deliberately change your focus. When you are aware that you are worrying, consciously think about something else more productive and positive. Another tool I have sometimes used with worriers is to have a worry “session” and then leave it alone. Set aside a certain amount of time to fret, and then that’s it-move on. It’s not my favorite tool, but for some this works well. Have someplace physical you can go to “settle.” A place of serenity to quiet the mind and the body. Meditation is non-denominational and it can be as simple as sitting or lying down in a place with your eyes closed paying attention to your breath traveling in and out. But you must practice it. Meditation is a bit like exercise, you don’t have to love it to derive the benefits, but you must do it. Exercise, especially outdoors, benefits the brain as much as the body. Walking in greenery especially seems to calm our nervous system. It’s hard to worry when you are paying mindful attention to the beauty that surrounds you. If none of these tools work and it seems as though worry is robbing you of present day pleasure, it may be time to seek professional help.

Athlete Close-up: Brolin Mawajje

At age 12, Ugandan born Brolin Mawejje was just starting out in the U.S. By 14, he was living in Jackson with his adoptive family and snowboarding. Now 23, Brolin is a medical student, the star of a documentary

film (Far From Home, produced by brother Phil Hessler), and an Olympic hopeful. He is on track to compete in the 2018 Winter Games, and would be the first African Olympic snowboarder ever. Brolin has had to

convince the Uganda Olympic Committee that snowboarding is a sport. “There is no Ugandan Snowboarding Team to support me,” Brolin says. “Most of my team is Medicine Wheel Wellness.” A large part of Brolin’s

program is injury prevention and working with physical therapist Francine Bartlett. “She starts with an assessment, then gets right to the hands-on, working out muscle knots and stretching where I’m tight.”

Brolin’s training includes yoga and sport specific drills that work on sharpening his reaction time. It also includes balance work on the SURFSET Fitness boards, which allow dynamic training in a snowboard-specific

stance. Brolin does guided imagery and visualization training with Nick Krauss. “He’s also a high level athlete so understands performance,” he says. Brolin also generally starts or ends his training session on

the Far-Infrared Therapy BioMat. “I know it’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits and I really like it because it’s a time for me to relax.” Brolin believes his Opedix Dual Tec Tights have helped him stay injury

free. He wears them as his base-layer every day he snowboards. “Brolin is educated. He studies the human body and is the only athlete that has asked me for the research. This company has made shifts with

performance apparel. There’s a reason why the Opedix Ambassador Team includes athletes like Brolin, Travis Rice, and Crystal Wright,” says Francine.

To learn more about Brolin's Journey, and check out the movie Far From Home. Visit the website http://www.farfromhomemovie.com/

Get Outside, Nature Heals!

Nature Can Be The Best Medicine. Keep Yourself Healthy So You Can Continue To Play

Ancient medical systems from Ayurveda to Chinese medicine have long believed nature to be a form of medicine. Roman philosophers and physicians advised walking in gardens to improve mental health and sleep. Closer to home and modern times, into the early 20th century American medical doctors wrote prescriptions for nature exposure as a means of reducing stress and improving mental outlook. The Pines, The Highlands, The Greenbrier, Crest View, these were private resorts well-heeled urbanites took to at the turn of the last century for relief from and treatment of mild nervous diseases and stress disorders.

The 2012 book by Eva M. Selhub, MD and Alan C. Logan, ND, Your Brain on Nature, says, “The anecdotal notion was that nature could have a medicinal effect, providing a tonic for the brain as it dealt with a world that was becoming increasingly complex.” Eventually, as medicine became increasingly scientific, such ideas, which had no evidentiary support at the time, were lumped in with snake oil and baldness cures. But living in Jackson Hole, we know differently.

“Whether I’m running, skiing, hiking, or reading a book in the sun, being outside is my life blood,” says Jess McMillan, a Pilates instructor and one of the top free skiers in the world (she won the 2007 International Free Skiing Association Women’s World Tour and, most every year since, has continued to be in the top 5 at the end-of-season rankings). “It is a way for me to find tranquility, push my limits, and feel connected.”

Recently science has started to back this up. Japanese researchers found that walking in the woods (versus inside on a treadmill) was associated with a greater increase in mood and feelings of vigor in subjects. Also, subjects who walked outside had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But playing outside can be a catch-22, especially the way we here in Jackson play outside. Our outdoor sports, skiing, mountain biking, running, hiking, can hurt or injure us. “Many outdoor activities are unidirectional, creating muscle imbalances and wear and tear on our joints,” McMillan says.

The best way to stay injury free is make sure your muscles are balanced and your joints are working in a full range of motion. Pilates can help strengthen weak muscles and correct misalignment. It is also a great form of exercise when you are injured. You may not be ready to get back to the gym or in the mountains, but you can get a great workout on the reformer. I also love MELT classes, TRX, and kettlebell workouts. —Jess McMillan

For those rehabbing so that they can get back outside, Medicine Wheel Wellness has group recovery classes that include Knee Rehab, Therapeutic Yoga, Restorative YogaTouch, Mat Pilates, and Durability. The latter uses foam rolling, stretching, yoga, balance exercises, and guided imagery.

"A study has shown that a hike elevates the neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which declines with aging and whose administration has been shown to improve cognitive functioning in adults. An urban walk did not have this effect on DHEA."

Medicine Wheel’s “unconventional training” classes are about as multi-directional as possible. Instructor Adam Dowell is a certified steel mace trainer. The offset weight of a mace requires constant focus and concentration to control and also to initiate full-body rotational movements. It adds up to a fitness class that requires more stabilization than single-plane workouts. 
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The Steel Mace has been around since roughly 1,300 BC and has been used by many cultures including Persian Warriors. At Medicine Wheel Wellness, it is used to get every fiber of your muscles to fire, resulting in a dynamic strength and core stability workout.

Aerial Yoga Is For Everyone!

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“Aerial yoga is a fun way to in- troduce people to yoga, or give long-time practitioners a dif- ferent flavor,” says Ariel Mann. “You can use the system to take weight off a body part, you can do it lying down, fully support- ed, or partially supported. A lot of people use it therapeutically. If you do yoga a lot, it is a way to improve your alignment, also, it’s fun. Kids are naturally drawn to it—they look at it as a plaything, and it gives adults an opportunity to explore their inner childlike nature.”

I Tried It - As Told By Claudette Stern

I knew nothing about aerial yoga before I tried it. I’ve done yoga since I was a teenager—I worked in a college bookstore and came across Richard Hittleman’s book 28 Days of Yoga and started that way—but saying I have a yoga practice is mak- ing it bigger than it is. This past summer I decided I was going to try all sorts of new things, places, and techniques related to being physical and self-care. I’m not a big class taker, so this was to push myself a little bit. I didn’t only want to try new things, but, at my age, 57, I think it’s important to make sure we’re being effective and skillful with all parts of our body. I wanted to use it and care for it in different ways. One day I wandered into Medicine Wheel Wellness. I found so much! I did some active isolated stretching (AIS) and also worked with [Dr.] Dagmar [“Josie” Wittner, a chiro- practor]. Talking with Francine, aerial yoga eventually came up. It sounded interesting. It turned out I loved it! Doing yoga that way felt very liberating. The opportuni- ty to feel a sense of weightlessness and maybe stretch yourself a little more than you would if you were just doing work on the floor was wonderful. I loved the way it ended, too. One of the options was to take the silk hammock and fold it up over yourself—while suspended—so you are really kind of this chrysalis inside. We did a few moments of breathing and relaxing. The world was totally shut out because the “pod” was all around you. I really decompressed. When I emerged I felt like the whole class had made a difference—I felt more expansive and stretched.Arielsmall

Meet Ariel Mann, Voted Jackson's Best Yoga Teacher 2011-2015

"The first time I went to a yoga class was because a friend dragged me. We were supposed to go on a mountain bike ride, but it was a snowy June day. My friend suggested we try hot yoga at this new yoga studio [Inversion]. I was pretty sure I was going to die in class. But leaving, I felt so good. After that first class, I did yoga five days a week. The next step was training to become a teacher. Now I am E-RYT 500, which is the highest level the Yoga Alliance certifies. Jackson Hole athletes are pretty extreme. In terms of the physical body, yoga helps to treat and prevent injury through balance and alignment and it improves body awareness so that when you’re out doing your sports, you’re more aware of how and why you’re moving. Yoga gives you confidence in yourself too."—Ariel Mann

Medicine Wheel Wellness Offers Private & Semi-Private Aerial Yoga

Studies show Aerial Yoga causes your body to release "happy" hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, which boost your mood and help you feel more energetic.

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