By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.
The humorist James Thurber once wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay entitled “My Own Ten Rules for a Happy Marriage.” Rule Two suggested, “A man should make an honest effort to get the names of his wife’s friends right.” Rule Six noted, “A husband should try to remember where things are around the house, so that he does not have to wait for his wife to get home from the hairdresser’s before he can put his hands on what he wants.” In the spirit of Thurber’s essay, I would like to list “My Own Ten Rules for Healthy Living.”
Rule One: Never Eat Seconds. Most research suggests that the more we can moderate what we eat, the healthier we will be.
Rule Two: Walk the Dog Every Day. Get off the couch and get some exercise. It does not take that long to walk around the block. If you do not have a dog, consider getting one.
Rule Three: Break a Habit Every Week. At least once a week, do something different. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. Sit somewhere besides your comfortable chair. Talk to your children. A little creativity helps those brain cells remain active.
Rule Four: Stay Out Late with Friends. First, you need to make sure you have some friends. If you do, go out with them occasionally and have fun.
Rule Five: Borrow Your Child’s iPOD. Admit it. You do not have a clue to what kind of music your children like. Borrow their iPOD for an hour some day, sneak away, and be surprised to learn how good some of the music sounds. Be sure to replace the iPOD carefully, to avoid suspicious questions from your children.
Rule Six: Play a Game. You need to do something besides watching television. Find a sport that you enjoy and get more exercise. Get together with friends and play cards. Playing Angry Birds on your iPhone does not count.
Rule Seven: Go Fishing. I must admit that I hate fishing. However, I do like being alone for at least some time every month. Find a way to have some solitude.
Rule Eight: Find a good hairdresser. Obviously, hair and clothing are superficial. However, you look at yourself every day in the mirror, and your loved ones have to see you too. It does not hurt to look presentable.
Rule Nine: Write a Love Letter to Your Wife Every Month. Your spouse is one of the few people in the world that truly loves you, no matter what stupid things you do. Show your appreciation and your love.
Rule Ten: Never Make Lists.
More seriously, the best advice for healthy living is to eat moderately, exercise, enjoy friends, stay active, and love your family. (However, if you use your wife’s hairdresser, you can ask her where to find things while you are both at the salon.)
Michael K. Smith, Ph.D., is owner of TESTPREP EXPERTS (www.testprepexperts.com ) which prepares students for standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT. He is also a consultant to Discovery Education Assessment. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.