Chocolate-Covered Guilt

by Michael Gonzales

This past week made me think about two things mostly: Contentment and Time. How are these two related to health and wellness? Well, first, you have to be happy with yourself and know you are a good person that is doing good things for your health, if you truly want to keep positive and on track (Contentment). Secondly, you need to understand what time truly is! This is a major factor for health and wellness, especially in today’s society. How many times in our life have we caught ourselves saying, “I don’t have time” for this, or that? Just think: time was here before we were born and it will be here once we are long gone, so why sweat it?

When it comes to our health and wellness, sometimes it seems we don’t have time for it. We tend to say or think we are too busy to go to the gym or workout on our own. So this year I am going to change my  “Philosophy of Health” to understanding time and contentment. I am happy with myself, but I know I need improvement in some areas. I am now 34 years old and just realizing I am happy with my weight, my body shape, my height, and, most importantly, myself. For once in my life, I am not striving to be someone else or like someone else. Each day we are inundated with movies, pictures and Internet videos of these models and people with amazing physiques. These images get into our heads and lead the masses to believe this is who we should be—NO! You should be yourself, and you should be happy with yourself. If you cannot be happy with yourself, how can you possibly live a happy life in the first place?

Now, back to time. Since I stopped looking at the time, my phone, or my watch, and stopped trying to “squeeze in a workout,” I am seeing more physical achievements, more gains, and more success. This was not easy for me to do. I’m a Marine Corps veteran and we were always taught to be 15 minutes early for every meeting and make sure we are always on time, causing me to constantly check my watch. What I didn’t realize was that by me always checking the time, I was making myself neurotic and anxious (not good for your health). So by trying to do something productive and ahead of the game, I was actually ailing myself without realizing it.

If you think you don’t have time to work out or commit to a physical activity, then you should reevaluate your priorities. That being said, I want to go into this New Year without hesitation (less talk, more doing). Too many times I find myself talking about what I am “going to do” or “what my plan is,” but nothing ever materializes, ever. When I was in the Marines, I remember an older Marine telling me “hesitation kills,” after watching me balk on something during a live fire training exercise. Well, the same goes for physical fitness. You either train, or you don’t; nothing about it is rocket science. But battling excuses and fighting with hesitation always seems to sneak its way in somehow, only to be followed with some chocolate-covered guilt later on.

For the past three months, I have been Cold Water Dousing quite regularly. This procedure seems psychotic to some and intriguing to others, depending on what your concept of the two are. So twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, I walk out to my backyard and slowly pour five gallons of icy water over my semi-naked body. Then I grab a second bucket and do it again. Nothing I have ever done in my life comes close to the feeling I get afterwards. It’s like five hours of silent mediation was compressed into one minute of time. This practice helps me physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Physically, because I am feeling the blood flow and increase its vascular flexibility. Psychologically, because I have to defeat my own thoughts of backing out, quitting, and just trying to put the whole thing off until another day. Spiritually, I feel a little different each time. Sometimes, it’s just me standing there in silence and trying to listen to my thoughts and feelings. Other times, I feel as if the water has just washed away everything and anything negative that I had been carrying around with me, giving me a fresh start. Dousing has absolutely nothing to do with health and wellness, and at the same time it has everything to do with health and wellness. Let that marinate for a minute.