For Optimal Health and Well-Being, Take “Notes” of Jazz Music | Ruth Schimel, PhD
To celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month, you can be an Honorary Jazz Musician and play your body’s wonderful instrument to create the good health you want.
Your body will thrive with your independent thinking, cooperative action, and perhaps even compromise with realities.
Using jazz metaphors, you can translate and experience ways to take care of yourself and heal yourself, to improve your health to the highest level, to beat the band.
Take charge of your body’s potential.
As with jazz, your body is interactive, complex, and influenced by what you hear from others. The composition is enriched by influences such as genetics and environment, good nutrition, and healthy, regular exercise.
Your attitudes, habits, and past experience affect the quality of the music you make.
One of the typical influences is the “organ” orientation of healing from a disease or physical problem. Many patients who want or expect a quick cure or an accurate diagnosis from an expert reinforce this medical process.
Unfortunately, lack of incentives for collaboration among practitioners, patient passivity or non-compliance, monetary benefits of “organ” medicine, and rigid insurance categories also impede progress.
Even a committed and responsible person who wants to take charge is often left behind.
This can include relationships with specialists, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies that don’t coordinate to your advantage, and the distortions and distractions of electronic records.
Another problem is the separation of conventional medicine and complementary medicine which makes the possibilities that each offers less accessible.
In jazz discourse, all of these factions and factors create different, sometimes cacophonous outcomes.
Many of the people involved don’t share the same values and vocabularies – they’re unintelligible, unproductive, or uninteresting to each other, let alone you.
Given these realities, who makes sense of such jumbles and builds on opportunities for good health?
Who will integrate the possibilities into a composition that reflects both fluidity and variety to benefit you? Who will lead the group?
It’s all still mostly up to you and how well you work together to beat the pack! Your body is your precious instrument.
Even if you prefer a solo game, you’ll need your party to play to their full potential.
Prepare, however, for the seemingly messy realities of playing with an array of people.
Since the jazz you create is interactive and often non-linear, the endings can be clean and integrated, abrupt, or lost in the blur.
Particularly skilled players (i.e. experts) often get attention, but supporting players often keep the music going. They range from paramedics to receptionists and add themes that some experts miss or dismiss.
Although you have your own assumptions and filters, your opportunity lies in your degree of information and responsibility for your situation.
Do you have a good repertoire of diverse and open-minded experts and supporting actors? Are you ready to be honest with yourself about your own relevant behaviors?
Based on your insight and experience, I bet you can find other bridges between jazz processes and metaphors and your health.
These themes are interwoven below into additional specific suggestions to support your care.
Listen to your body and take recurring themes seriously.
What is a common medical complaint beside headaches?
After the common cold, what is the second highest cost of lost workdays? If you don’t already know the answer, it’s back problems.
What is your recurring physical limitation or concern and how it relates to your body parts and behavioral choices?
What sources do you use to know its etiology and its potential for improvement?
Encourage skilled professionals to collaborate for better results. Consider traditional and non-traditional practitioners. Get referrals from people you trust and let go of relationships that aren’t working well.
Attend medical appointments. Ask open and closed questions – start with “what” and “how” for the former and get short answers for the latter.
Keep notes, preferably in one place like your smartphone or a notebook, of what you learn and understand.
At important times and when possible, include advocates or at least listeners with whom you can discuss what happened during an appointment or procedure.
Engage a range of other experts to help in the process, including social workers and nurses. Different formations and assumptions often bring new insights.
Research traditional and new approaches.
Use the Internet, periodicals and other sources to test your emerging and proven ideas. Make riffs of deeper exploration and discuss your ideas with people who care.
Learn more about the healing power of music here. Of course, Google your own ideas to create new views and leads for yourself.
Talk to people with similar experiences and learn the results of what they did or didn’t do. Given their personalities and tendencies, take what is useful from others’ experience and leave the rest.
Consider what fits your nature and situation. Compose important notes from your meetings, readings, and research.
Train with your team or combo. As close as you are with your family, friends, and colleagues, they aren’t always the best collaborators.
Some struggle with illness or lack of time. Others become exhausted by hearing about chronic problems. They can also fall into automatic or mindless routines of relating to you and the tropes you play.
Pay attention to the needs and styles of your helpers and service providers. Find ways to organize what works for you and for them.
Examples include a common website related to your situation, concise emails, targeted meetings, open conversations and telephone consultations.
Acknowledge their contributions in a way that is meaningful to them.
Figure out how much you want and need to plan for and how much you can leave to chance.
If you tend to do extensive planning, you may want to allow for some improvisation. On the other hand, if you tend to let things happen, focus on your healing and recovery.
For example, make sure your current advance directives, HIPAA form, and contact information are available to interested parties as well as people you can call for care and support.
Develop a satisfying combination of discipline, spontaneity, organization and acceptance of what cannot be controlled or healed.
Encourage communication and awareness within your group.
Coordinate between medical experts and gatekeepers, specialists and allied health professionals who will be involved in your care, if only to let each other know about them.
If they are reluctant to talk or say they don’t have time, at least make written information available to them. Give lists of key people and their contact information to everyone involved. Share the score.
Pay attention to all forms of communication and content that are best suited to the particular people you depend on.
Related stories from YourTango:
Not everyone will have your style or interests.
Find a balance between being true to yourself and adapting to what others prefer in order to keep conversations, data sharing and above all relationships efficient and fluid.
Clarify assumptions. Take the risk of being open or even confronting people you depend on.
If you don’t, who will look after your interests? Your body is the primary instrument that keeps you playing well and being a responsible participant.
Avoid repeating old themes and waiting for new music.
The tendency is to maintain or resume daily routines as soon as there is an improvement or even a drop in motivation.
Although consistent rhythms of activity are important for physical and mental healing, quick and neat fixes may not be possible.
Listen to what your body wants and needs through your intuition and senses, along with guidance from your combo.
Healing may take some time and is not necessarily linear. An individual’s progress differs depending on resources, commitment and the situation itself.
Create a vision for your next gig.
Gather lessons learned from your own experience, capturing themes to make current and future situations more fluid and beneficial.
Perhaps helping others understand how your experience relates to them, just as others have helped you.
Whether you know or anticipate all the tunes or not, listen and join the conversations in the music around and within you over time.
Also create your own arrangements.
Keep improving the quality of your health and life to beat the pack.
More for you on YourTango:
Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. She helps clients access their strengths and make current and future work visions viable. As a bonus, get the first chapter of his seventh book now available, Happiness and joy at work: preparing your future and benefit from your invitation to a free consultation on his website.