No Matter How Healthy You Are

By Dr. Margaret Rappaport


Transitions, regardless of what kind they are, represent a disruption in our routines. They throw you off balance, put you out of sorts, produce stress in our lives.

Stress is the body’s reaction to change. It is both good and bad. It is useful for alertness, planning, and doing a good job with a problem. In emergencies it is needed as a source of increased energy and strength. Stress is harmful, however, when it is prolonged and when it is intense.

Just as transitions in life cannot be avoided, stress cannot be eliminated. It must be anticipated and managed:

  • develop supportive relationships because you need warmth, kindness and affection in your life
  • find a good listener when you need to talk about your feelings and dilemmas
  • reflect on who you are and what your life is about
  • have people in your life who can guide you through tough times

Whether transitions are a surprise such as getting fired, having an accident, being asked for a divorce or whether it’s a normal life development such as a birth or death, you need to have help to focus, find perspective, and encouragement.

Develop an attitude of self care. Some of you do not take very good care of yourselves. You may have characteristics that fail to be in your best interest, but you also know how to eat better, exercise more, and relax. The more you are aware of your needs, preferences and peculiarities, the better able you are to live a healthy life.

The new situation which requires new knowledge of ourselves is also the process through which the new knowledge comes. What we need to know is always embedded in the circumstances that require the knowledge.

Healthy Living depends on a positive attitude

How do we focus on the positive? Responsiveness involves finishing unfinished business. The accumulation of unresolved disagreements, incomplete tasks, ambiguous relationships on and off the job and unexpressed feelings can become a major impediment to health and a positive outlook.

It is a good habit to let go of loose ends or tie them up in some appropriate way:

  • complete one job before undertaking another
  • prioritize
  • resolve minor problems immediately
  • keep a schedule and a journal of your experiences
  • know your limits and stick to them
  • say no half the time

Protecting ourselves increases motivation, concentration and direction. I reduces the activity of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system which results in peaceful feelings.


  • taking short walks
  • breathing deeply
  • praying or meditating
  • exercise
  • rest and sleep

People who regularly practice these behaviors report increases in self-esteem and greater ability to remain calm in stressful circumstances.

They develop broadened perspectives on life and the problems of living, and report that they feel more in control of their lives.