An Hour of Power

A recent article in the New York Times quoted a medical expert on the life-saving difference even one hour can make between feeling the symptoms of a heart attack and making that call to 911. Yet, the physician reported, the average time it takes people to make that call is 111 minutes, a statistic that hasn’t changed in 10 years, even though that first hour is critical.

Imagine the power an hour can make in other facets of our life. If we just took one hour to eat healthier, exercise, learn new skills, meditate, or just to enjoy ourselves, the benefits would be enormous versus the cost of losing one more hour to inaction.

Here are Five Ways To Find The Power in an Hour

The Power to Learn: Set aside one hour every week to learn something new for your career, to become a better parent, or to become a better child to an older parent. Go to the public library and check out a good book. Take an on-line course or seminar. You can master new skills, foster new insights and power up your career through dedicating one hour to focus on them!

The Power to Play: Set aside one hour each week to do something you really enjoy. Read. Play a musical instrument. Knit. Join a bowling league. Play golf. Your stress will dissipate when you officially schedule “play-time” each week!

The Power to Enjoy a Meal: With just one hour every week you can turn a meal into an event. Schedule all family members to be present, or invite good friends. Make your one hour relaxing by cooking a simple meal*, and by sharing your life stories in interesting conversation. When you discover how delightful a shared dinner can be, you’ll want to schedule an hour for a meal more than just once a week!

The Power to Exercise: It can seem daunting to schedule an entire hour each day just for exercise. But what about 20 minutes each morning, at lunch and then again in the evening to take a walk? One Harvard University study reported that walking just three hours a week, or 30 minutes a day, can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent. Walk up and down stairs or back and forth through hallways if you can’t go outside every day. Just start walking!

The Power to Think: An hour of meditation can substantially lower your blood pressure and improve your health in countless other ways. It’s also a great way to set aside time for you to rest, reflect and become more focused — without all those outside interruptions — on what you really want out of your career and lifestyle! *(For great-tasting, healthy and simple-to-prepare meals that will allow you to relax and enjoy a shared dinner, check out the book, De-Stress Diva ™ in the Kitchen!)

Q: Dear Ruth. My job is making me sick, physically. At the end of the day, I look into a mirror and gasp. I’m feeling so drained and my face looks puffed up and colorless. I love your time-savers and your wonderful advice about how to relieve stress. Unfortunately, it’s the job itself I really, really hate. What should I do?

P.S. I know this isn’t a phase because I’ve been at my job for almost 15 years. Name Withheld. San Diego A: You’re not alone. The World Health Organization calls workplace stress a “world wide epidemic.” The American Institute of Stress cites studies showing that almost half – 40 percent – of job turnover is due to stress. Is it time you considered not just a new job, but a new career? A high-pressure salesman client in Houston did just that. After 20 years in sales, she decided her health was worth more than a big paycheck and took an entry-level retail job at a home supply store. Now, she’s nearly at her old pay rate and is so much happier and winning promotions quickly. Spend one hour this week exploring new career opportunities, and decide what will make you most want to look back into that mirror. And remember to learn, play, enjoy, exercise, and think to kick start your power.