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Compass H e alt h Mint Rx Stress-free Season As a former Emergency Room physician, I was always impressed by the increase in the number of patients seen in the ER during the holiday season. Unmet expectations, loneliness, pressure to find the “right” gift, and more all seemed to take a toll on the well-being of folks and they would find themselves with a body that was breaking down. For those of you with a history of anxiety during the holidays, there is a way to shed that this year and create a greater sense of serenity. Three simple, daily tools can make a world of difference… When you find yourself sluggish throughout the day, there’s only one thing you need to have on hand that’ll give you a quick pick-me-up to get you through the morning into noon and on into the night. The secret to an instant and guaranteed energy boost is to get some mint in your system at least twice daily! Chew gum, suck on a breath mint, brush your teeth with minty toothpaste, or put some mint lotion on a warm, moist towel and inhale. For expert mint-growing tips, visit HerbCompanion.com. Healthy Holidays Do away with traditional sugar-based dessert filling recipes this holiday season and replace them instead with ingredients that are a little healthier and a whole lot tastier! Try mixing fresh pureed carrots and sweet potatoes with fat-free yogurt and honey as a nutritious pie filling alternative in lieu of the sugary processed canned fillings filled with additives and preservatives. 1. Music: Your iPod can be an important therapeutic tool. I’ve never met a patient for whom some sort of music was not inspiring. Make the music that you love the first thing you hear in the morning, what you listen to in your car, and what’s playing in background during the evening when you get home. 2. Movement: Oddly, when we are under duress, the first things we give up are our life lines. And exercise is often one of them. There’s a flood of biologic chemicals that get released when you exercise that have a potent anti-anxiety effect. Walking is one of the best and most underrated ways to get the anxiety- reducing benefits. Let nothing come between you and your exercise! 3. Mindfulness: In several settings, learning mindfulness-based meditation has significantly reduced anxiety and improved self-esteem in teenagers, depressed patients, those suffering with chronic pain and many others. Ten minutes of a quiet practice each day can set the tone for a space between you and the drama of your mind. › Dr. Karen Koffler is Canyon Ranch’s Medical Director, specializing in functional medicine and natural approaches to wellness. She earned her medical degree at the University of Miami and served her residency at the University of Colorado. She did a two-year fellowship in the University of Arizona, studying under The Father of Integrative Medicine. For a consultation, email KKoffler@CanyonRanch.com. IQ Dreams “Health is not truly valued until sickness comes.” —Thomas Fuller 18 ZZZ Seconds 100 mph Scientists have found that the higher a person’s IQ, the more they dream. There is no explanation for this other than people with higher IQs process information differently. Additionally, their dreams are more colorful and vivid that their lower IQ counterparts. Contrary to most people’s perceptions, the average length of a typical dream is only a few seconds. The majority of dreamers in the U.S. believe their dreams last all night long. Most dreams can only be retained for a few days. Some are remembered forever. The average human sneeze can pack as much punch as a high-speed car chase, regularly capping in at 100 mph. By comparison, a cough’s power is about half that of a sneeze, though you should cover your mouth for both. No wonder colds spread so quickly!