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Tending a garden is a marvelous thing.

On the surface, it is no more than dirt and plants, but the minute your hands touch the warm earth, something changes…something wonderful. You immediately become a part of all that is growing. As you tend the plants and watch them bloom and then fruit, you find yourself growing with it, learning from it. As you reach to pull the weeds that inhibit growth, you claim a small victory; as each new seed takes root and pushes upward, defying gravity, you realize that growth, no matter how small, is always a Good Thing.

Our Spectrum gardens are by no means the biggest. They probably won’t win any gardening prizes, or make the cover of a magazine, but to many of our patients, tending to them is a therapy in and of itself: the warm sun on your back, the smell of good clean dirt on your hands, and plants that look to you to care for them and help them grow, all under an Arizona blue sky.

Nature is often the very best medicine.

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vines

If you live in the Southwest, you are fully aware that our rain levels are below average for much of the state. And we aren’t alone. California is experiencing drought at historic levels. You’d think with such a lack of rain that nothing would grow.

But in Napa Valley, where vineyards are found on every hillside, the vines are healthy.

How can this be?

Well, when rain is abundant, the roots of grapevines grow 10 feet deep, but in dry or drought conditions, those roots grow even deeper in their search for water. Twice as deep, even. It turns out that dry years are actually good for the plant because it forces the vine to really dig deep, into the soil. And although the fruit it produces is a bit smaller than that of a wet year, it has much more flavor.

People are a lot like grapevines.

We all face adversity; dry periods in Life; happiness droughts. And when we do, we have a choice. We can throw our hands up in despair, declaring that it will “Never rain happiness again,” or we can dig deep to find joy. It’s not easy; just as that grapevine root has to work to get to a place of health, so do we. And sometimes, we can’t do it alone–we need help to get back to a place of perspective.

But when we overcome, we find that the droughts in Life only increase our strength and resolve; we find our roots go much deeper than we ever thought possible, and the fruits of our struggle are sweet enough to bottle.

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Thanks to computers and computer related tasks, we live in a World of Sitting. Many of today’s jobs involve sitting in a chair for hours on end, and our bodies, well, they weren’t designed to sit for long periods of time. Our muscles need to move and contract and with the exception of typing on a keyboard, many don’t move at all during the workday. And when muscles don’t move, a whole host of problems can occur: metabolism slows, blood circulation becomes impaired, and you are at an increased risk for heart disease and obesity.

The effects of movement have long been touted as beneficial to our bodies, but did you know that sitting for long periods can also increase anxiety?

Researchers from Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research in Australia discovered that engaging in sedentary activities can actually increase anxiety levels. It’s no surprise that in the US alone, as we’ve decreased movement, we’ve seen an increase in anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association, approximately 40 million adults are affected by anxiety. That’s 18% of the US population.

The easiest way to help combat this effect is quite simple: Get up and move! If possible, move your muscles hourly, even if only for a few minutes. You don’t need to engage in an hour of cardio or yoga; just a quick stroll around the office, simple stretches, marching in place, or simply taking a few steps back and forth every hour can help boost your health.

So if you find your lifestyle requires you to sit for long periods of time, make your health a priority and…

move it

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Okay, Verde Valley, brace yourselves for a hot one.

An extreme heat warning has been issued by the National Weather Service that extends from today through Monday, June 20. And when temperatures are on the rise, problems can occur, so ready yourself using the following tips.

 

If you or someone you know experiences the symptoms of heatstroke, please call 911 immediately.

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