Health & Spirit

It's Q&A Time: Because Personal Well-Being Is So Personal

Marilynn Preston on

As some of you know, I've written a book called "All is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being." It was published in late April, and in August it became an Amazon best-seller. Yippee. I can't really explain how we earned that status, but there's a sophisticated algorithm involved, and you can bet I'll be expressing gratitude for it at my Thanksgiving table this year.

"Writing a book and getting it published represents about 20 percent of the effort," my friend, renowned author Michael Gelb, told me after writing seven books. "The rest of it is..." Well, you can imagine.

So this week I'm on the road with "All Is Well" in Gainesville and Sarasota, Florida, where the column runs, talking at health clubs, public libraries and at least one Hadassah meeting. I'm doing my best to overcome a cold and follow my own rules: 1) Have fun. 2) Rest. 3) Expect the unexpected.

One unexpected bonus turns out to be the lively Q&A sessions with the audiences. So here are a few of my favorite questions, followed by my best recollection of my answer:

Q: "I know how important exercise is. And I'm at my gym three times a week, on the StairMaster for at least 30 minutes. The problem is I hate it! I'm miserable the whole time. What can you tell me to help change my mindset?"

A: This is easy. Quit the StairMaster! Your mindset is working perfectly. Life is too short to be miserable on your gym equipment. You want to find a workout that brings you pleasure, because that's when your body will release the endorphins that flood you with an energizing and palpable sense of well-being.


(Note: I doubt that he'll give up the StairMaster. As I've repeated a thousand times on this combo book-and-listening tour: "People don't change because other people tell them to." On the other hand, he did ask.

Q: I'm interested in death-and-dying issues, but my husband refuses to read or talk about the subject, even to me. It's so frustrating! I know it's important to start the conversation about end-of-life care, but what can I do to get him involved, too?

A: You can't. It's his choice, and the more you push, the more he's likely to pull away. One thing you can do is follow your own deep interest in the subject and let him know what you're reading and what you're thinking.

Asking him to read Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal" is doomed to fail. Instead, come to the table one night with an insight that's inspired you: e.g., doctors in America are taught to view death as a failure, so they'll try everything they can think of to keep you going, no matter what. See if he agrees. Get a discussion going, if he's willing. If he clams up, accept it and wait for another opportunity to tell him your own thinking about end-of-life issues, the first one being: Do you want to die at home?


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