The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Healthier Heart

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Scorn, anger, name-calling. Not good for the heart. The best warrior wins without hurting others or himself.

The Thais call it "jai yen" - cool heart. The secret is to not make anger a negative force. They keep kindness in their voice. Jai yen is central to Thai social and business interaction. It illustrates the mind and body of the experienced warrior. Jai yen is part of Muay Thai boxing training. In Thai martial arts, respecting teachers and elders is foremost. Every fight begins with the Ram Muay, a spirit dance to show respect and thanks to parents, and ask blessings from the Kruu Muay Thai - the teachers. In Japan it is "fudoshin" - unchanging heart. A person with fudoshin is more stable and light-hearted when things happen that they don't agree with.

How do you get good at being heart-healthy? Practice it like exercise. Unlikable things happen every day, so we all have the good luck to get much chance to practice. It's healthy exercise. In the novel Shogun, James Clavell, wrote:
"To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline - training is about."
Discipline is the mental exercise of self-control to direct your behaviors. With discipline you brush your teeth everyday, and do exercise, and refrain from bad habits, and breathe and smile when someone is rude. The other person may continue injuring their own health with negative behavior, but you won't sadden yourself and injure your body with the unhealthy chemicals generated that can hurt your health and heart. If your kindness and understanding calms and comforts the other person, that is twice healthy. Breathe. Get outside in the sunshine every day. Be happy.


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Photo of respect as medicine by noii's photostream

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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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