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Wellness Wednesday for November 9, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I've tried to meditate several times in the past. On each time I tried doing it once a day, but eventually gave up in frustration after a few days of not seeing any impact on my mood or anything. I've decided I'm going to stick with it for a full month just so I can honestly say I gave the practice a fair hearing.

Can anyone recommend any good resources for meditation?

Question, does anyone know of blogs/substacks that discuss sexual morality/family building? Bonus points if the author was a former follower of the main abrahamic religions (Judasim, Islam, Christianity). Thanks.

I don't have much advice to give, but it occurred to me today that it might be worth sharing something that I can say has definitely improved my life: Gracious Attribution.

I learned about it from one of my professors years ago, and its been helpful to my mental well being and the general project of improving my character. I received Gracious Attribution from an explicitly Christian perspective but I think it would be useful to anyone who shares a similar goal in this particular arena.

As a Christian one thing I am called upon to do is forgive my enemies. This is very difficult to do, but Jesus repeats it enough times that it's hard to wiggle out of it. In multiple places he says "judge not lest ye be judged" or "by the measure you measure others, you too will be measured" or "blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy" or "he who is angry with his brother is in danger of judgement" or "forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us", or the whole dang parable about the ungrateful servant. The message is clear: if you do not show mercy and forgiveness to others, then God will not show mercy and forgiveness to you. And vice versa.

To that end my wise professor taught us one day about Gracious Attribution. "Suppose," he said, "you are driving along one day and somebody cuts you off. If you are anything like myself you are likely to be furious. My first instinct is to consider them a self-centered fool with no consideration for anyone but themselves, jumping into traffic however they please. This might be true. However, in the moment, I do not actually have any solid information on why they cut me off. It could be because they're an inconsiderate fool. But it could also be because they are a young and inexperienced driver who is trying to learn and made a beginners mistake. It could be a man whose wife in the backseat has gone into labor and is trying desperately to get to the hospital. It could be an old woman who has difficulty seeing and lacks any family or friends to drive her from place to place. It could be someone who just got off a double shift and hasn't slept in 20 hours. It could be someone who desperately needs to get to a bathroom! All of these are plausible possibilities and I don't have the information needed to rule them out or narrow them down."

"Given that I don't know why they cut me off, and given that I am obligated as a Christian to forgive others, then it is best if I choose the explanation that makes them easiest to forgive."

That's Gracious Attribution in a nutshell. In situations where I feel wronged yet lack the information needed to determine why this person wronged me I should attribute their actions to the explanation that is easiest to forgive. I suppose it is an extension of the Principal of Charity, but applied practically to everyday life.

One important note is that it does need to be a plausible attribution. It would be foolish if someone walked up to me, cursed me out at high volume, and then spat in my face to then choose to believe that they're actually sleepwalking or something. The point isn't to choose to be a fool; rather it is to recognize that for many situations where we get angry and judgmental towards others (especially strangers) we don't actually have enough information to conclude why they did it. In those cases Gracious Attribution would have us choose to act on the belief that makes them easiest to forgive.

Practically this is a useful concept to internalize and attempt to live out. When I get cut off in traffic, naturally I get mad. Left to my own devices I would yell, honk my horn, and fume to no effect. But if in my anger I remember Gracious Attribution it does two things for me. First, it distracts my mind with a puzzle: what possible (and plausible) attributions could I assign to this behavior that I could forgive? This helps calm me down, similar to counting backwards from ten. Second, once I have found a Gracious Attribution it makes it so much easier to let go of my anger and hatred. I can literally forgive and forget, moving on with my life. My day doesn't get spoiled.

I was thinking of this the other day because my wife got quite vocally upset when a coworker parked in a way that encroached on her normal parking spot. What struck me was not that my wife was upset, but that when I tried attributing the bad parking to something more forgivable ("Maybe she was running really late today") my wife insisted that no, her coworker had done it on purpose to keep people from parking next to her. Now maybe my wife was right; however, I knew that she didn't have any real evidence to back that up. It is natural when we are wronged to want to paint the wrongdoer as a villain, and the more villainous the better. The problem is that painting them as a villain does not help us get over our anger, and it can inspire conflict and hatred with people we don't actually need to hate*.

I would recommend attempting Gracious Attribution for a period of time and seeing if it improves your life.

*As a Christian I believe we don't need to hate anyone, but I think even people who (quite reasonably) believe some are worthy of our hatred would probably prefer not to start a blood feud over a parking spot.

Thanks for writing this. The problem that I have with this mindset is that it can lead to lower levels of assertiveness and ultimately lower self-esteem. There are times when someone does something wrong where it is not in our best interest to give them the benefit of the doubt or process their actions charitably. Gracious Attribution taken to its extreme would allow people to walk all over you. I try to find the balance between gracious attribution and those situations where I should be assertive or aggressive. It's a difficult balance.

You make a good point.

I like to frame this in two ways: what's good for me and what's good for the other person.

To use the bad drive examples from OP, consider that it's not good for me to waste my mental energy on getting angry at some random bad driver. It's not worth to have a worse day because of that. But, it's also not good for that driver to not receive feedback of their mistake. So what I strive for is to notice my anger and express it, eg. honk at the driver, then carry on happily.

im having the worst cold/flu of my life (not covid). I swear im border line hallucuinationg for past 25 hours. every hour feels like many. i sweat without blanket. cold with. but temp normal. unproductive cough easily treated with suppressants, thank god/

any tips for feeling better? i've lost my glasses.

Take some kind of meds for sleep and play something mellow in the background (Bach solo keyboard stuff is ideal imo).

This totally sounds like covid, by the way.

Have you taken something to reduce the fever? That alone might help you to feel better if you can get the fever to break.

Otherwise, not a whole lot I can tell you besides the usual of rest, fluids, etc. In my experience there's nothing you can do when you're sick besides try to take it easy and wait for your immune system to do its thing.

on the vright side. i took drag of cigaretye. threw up for an hour. took second drag of a cgareettte, violently threw up for an hour. It feels like I've been sick a week. even though its only a day maybe two. So maybe this is cheat code to quit smoking. time seem so long though

@OracleOutlook Any updates on that Potato/potassium supplementation diet thing from last month? Curious to see if anyone here has seen any results.

I tried putting 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride into a cup of water, and was unable to drink more than half of it. It has quite a strong flavor. I tried mixing 1/4 with food, and found the food extremely salty (I don't know what I expected) and difficult to choke down. I tried melting a bunch of M&Ms and mixing it in, which was tolerable but doesn't seem like a sustainable solution.

I will say that on the M&M day, where I got the full 1/4 teaspoon (about 680 mg of potassium) early in the morning I was remarkably not hungry for the next 6-8 hours. Could be placebo, but if so it was a very good one. Normally even if I'm not hungry "I could eat", but food held no real attraction for those hours. Promising, though I'm on a few of other supplements (and one prescription) that are also supposed to lower appetite. Maybe the potassium was just the last straw.

I'm still trying to find a way to take a large dose with food or water: in the meantime I just sprinkle some on my food the way I would salt. Well, actually, less than I would salt: this stuff is pretty strong.

I think 1 cup of water is too much. I've been dissolving mine in whatever about 2 swigs is. I think the good thing about potassium chloride is that, while I agree the taste is really awful, there's almost no lingering aftertaste, so just have something to chase it with and it's 3 seconds of unpleasantness.

I'm pregnant so I don't think I'm getting the kind of results you are looking for. But I'm healthy, baby is healthy as far as anyone can tell. I no longer want my morning cup of coffee, instead I drink a herbal tea/potassium chloride mix and feel awake and energetic. I think I needed more potassium in my diet and this is a cheap and easy way to get it.

I spoke with my doctor before doing anything. Enteric-coated potassium tablets seem to be the biggest concern. I'm getting 60mg/100 ml which is a pretty diluted dose.

So...last week I expressed skepticism at the idea of exercise boosting one's mood. I got some good responses about what to do (lift, more intense exercise, etc.) but I wanted to hold off on some of them because it's basically a law of the gym that, if I do any strength training, I overreach and injure myself.

So...I overreached and injured myself! I can't even be mad this time because it's so absurd: I deliberately didn't touch weights and injured myself doing...Kegels - which was supposed to be light work. I was literally doing 5 a day and I still managed it. Low WIS + CON is a helluva combo.

But! It did give me an opportunity to test out if I feel worse without exercise

I was annoyed on Monday, but I honestly can't tell if that was just my usual cyclical moroseness and depression and stress at work.

One thing I did notice was that fasting was harder without the cardio. Not much harder (a 16:8 schedule is pretty easy) but I just feel hungrier (which might explain why I'm more irritable). Still not sure exactly why moderate-to-vigorous cardio would make me less hungry. Maybe it's that I'm just wasting an hour and a half working out and walking home that I would otherwise been thinking about food?

Anyways, besides that I do feel somewhat uncomfortable not being able to go to the gym because working out early was becoming a keystone habit and I feel like I'm losing that progress. But I don't feel significantly worse.

In retrospect I should have kept a log right after the injury. But low WIS strikes again...

If you're weak to the point of injuring yourself doing kegels then you should probably get help from a physical therapist. Try to look for a clinic where they profile themselves as working with sports injuries, the others are usually garbage and might not offer adequate in house exercise facilities.

Boosting this.

I lead a fairly active lifestyle, making sure to get adequate exercise. But on a friend's suggestion, I went to see a PT about my posture, which has turned into a multi-month journey into addressing various imabalances and weakeness that I never thought about because I took many things for granted, eg. a painful left knee while running, problems with stretching my hamstrings etc.

Turns out, I was using my body suboptimally, which lead to favoring certain parts over others, which then lead to minor but evergreen injuries. A good PT can easily spot these and, given their experience, figure out a good plan for addressing these problems.

As far as how to find a good PT, the only heuristic I've learned is to look for people that had training at the Not sure if true, but I get a vibe from them that they are the rationalists of the PT world.

One thing I did notice was that fasting was harder without the cardio. Not much harder (a 16:8 schedule is pretty easy) but I just feel hungrier (which might explain why I'm more irritable). Still not sure exactly why moderate-to-vigorous cardio would make me less hungry. Maybe it's that I'm just wasting an hour and a half working out and walking home that I would otherwise been thinking about food?

The distraction effect is probably part of it, but it is known that cardio (transiently) increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel less hungry. I assume this is why I can go for a run while I'm starving and then not want to eat for an hour after I'm done.

injured myself doing...Kegels

Natural selection ?

I've been exercising most of my life... For health, for sports, for physical therapy (A LOT of physical therapy).

Exercising is pretty much the endless strengthening of the weakest link. Take your time, listen to you body, and be kind to yourself when you do hurt yourself (Low WIS + CON is a helluva combo: I strongly relate to this, lol).

One thing I did notice was that fasting was harder without the cardio.

I find the same thing with myself. I always assumed it was because I was forcing my body to burn reserves... I mean, if I had any food in my stomach, I would cramp up, etc.

How do you injure yourself doing five kegels a day? If that's a literal and accurate description of what happened ... I have no idea how that's possible. You must use those muscles at least that intensely just going about day-to-day activities

My muscles are pretty weak, which pairs badly with a small bladder- which was more the motivation to do it rather than the... other alleged benefits.

Based on my research I think it's a failure to adequately unclench that throws something out of whack in a most painful way.

It's like all other cases of overstrain. Did it very lightly. Felt it was working. Then a little more forcefully. Then I was a bit sore but it's not too bad so I decide to do it lightly and reassess the next day.

Next day? Pain

I genuinely don't understand how that can happen, and strongly suspect there's things that you either know but haven't said or don't know that are important to strategy here. I can't see a way of "doing five kegels" that could cause injury outside of a medical problem or some other bizzare situation.

How many steps do you take per day / how often do you walk, roughly? The best advice I can imagine outside of 'provide more information' is 'do more very light exercise across all muscle groups, go on walks more, don't ramp up at all because ramping up seems to cause issues', but that is very weird advice

I struggled for years with injuries every time I did strength training. I’d recommend yoga and starting real slow. I made more progress in six months than I had in four years of trying to strength train with lifting.

Plus I get euphoria too.

I made more progress in six months than I had in four years of trying to strength train with lifting.

The gym bro in me wants to say "how unfit are you fuckers?" That you made more progress doing yoga than lifting. That too in 1/8th the time.. That's kind of like saying "I got more tired swimming end to end on my swimming pool than swimming across the Atlantic Ocean".

  • Either you are some kind of genetic outlier where your body is that much more receptive to yoga., and that much less receptive to lifting.

  • Or, What you mean by "lifting" is very different from what most people mean.

  • Your diet,sleep and exercise is REALLY out of whack.

  • Your definition of progress is not the kind of progress lifting gets you.

  • Your hormones are fucked.

I'll volunteer, as a gym bro in good standing, that your definition of "Yoga" may be just as fucked. Yoga can be an incredibly physically challenging practice, isometric and leveraged poses and flows done correctly and intentionally can build a great body. It's pretty rare to see someone who builds their body purely through bodyweight and gymnastics training reach a similar degree of musculature as someone who uses weights today in the west, but it's very possible to do it. The barbell is just a simpler tool to provide necessary resistance compared to the skill and balance required to achieve a similar result with bodyweight.

who builds their body purely through bodyweight and gymnastics training reach a similar degree of musculature as someone who uses weights today in the west, but it's very possible to do it.

I don't think its an apples to apples comparison.

You would have to be in a much higher percentile of calisthenics (how many people do you know can do a muscle-up?) ability: relative to lifting ability to achieve the same amount of muscle mass.

Yoga can be an incredibly physically challenging practice, isometric and leveraged poses and flows done correctly and intentionally can build a great body.

I'm skeptical.

Headstands, handstands, frog stands, and all the other isometric poses in yoga are challenging (for an unfit person). But they are not very difficult to pull off. Not as difficult as even a 3-plate dead lift.

So those movements do build some muscle mass but don't hold a candle to weights when it somes to muscle/strength building.

This is anecdotal but, I am saying this as someone who spent a good portion of his teenage years physically upside down. I was very into "bboying" which is 100x more physically challenging than yoga. And no I wasn't into it for the dancing, I was into it for the cool athletic movements like flips, handstand hops, windmills, etc. And it still doesn't compare to lifting.

Embrace the dancing buddy. Glad to know there are two of us on here. Maybe three if @fivehourmarathon dances too? ;)

I did it for the flips and other athletic movements. I wanted to learn them and the only people willing to teach you those for free were the bboys, lol.

They were less pretentious as well, they would practice wherever there was grass on even sometimes on concrete. The gymnasts wouldn't do much outside of their bouncy gyms that required a hefty membership fee.

Why aren't you interested in dancing? It's pretty damn manly. Depending on your type of woman, it impresses much more than lifting heavy weights. (Assuming you're in decent shape ofc)

There are a lot of things you and I find inherently uninteresting even if they are great things to do and have so many benefits. For me dancing for the performance art is one of those things.

Actually, learning to dance is an unfulfilled new year's resolution for me, I've been trying to drag my wife to classes together all year. So if anything, I'm jealous. I feel like an inability to dance is a basic human failure for me.

Try West Cost Swing. It's a good starter dance and teaches you good connection. Too many people start trying to learn all the ballroom dances (waltz/foxtrot/tango/quickstep/east coast swing).

They quickly find that there is practically no social scene for any of the dances except tango and east coast swing. Other problem is that the way most of these classes teach you is NOT the way it's done socially, because they dumb it down for old people. Vast majority of dance studios just milk retirees who do endless back to back classes.

Go for a 6 week West Coast Swing dance series and try to find one that has at least middle aged folks in the class or teaching it.

Same goes for Latin like Salsa/Zouk/Bachata etc but in my experience leading is significantly harder, especially to learn as a first dance.

This is anecdotal but, I am saying this as someone who spent a good portion of his teenage years physically upside down. I was very into "bboying" which is 100x more physically challenging than yoga. And no I wasn't into it for the dancing, I was into it for the cool athletic movements like flips, handstand hops, windmills, etc. And it still doesn't compare to lifting.

Teenage boy develops muscle less efficiently than grown man, more at 11. But like, I'm curious, are you worried that you'll be mocked for dancing? Being a good dancer is probably a rarer skill among Motte-demographics than is deadlifting 3 plates! That's awesome! But muscle building is highly variable on modality; my arms get jacked when I climb a lot, other guys climb the same stuff and stay string beans.

But I think you're defining lifting as "intelligent power/barbell lifting" and yoga as "the common yoga studio." But I think the average guy who "lifts weights" is still doing something unbelievably dumb, when I find myself in a commercial or college gym I see very few guys actually pulling 315 from the floor. Somebody who follows Starting Strength religiously is going to be much stronger than somebody who goes to Intro to Power Yoga and spends half of it in child's pose; but I'd probably take a guy who can do planche push ups over a guy who screws around at Planet fatness once a week.

Your definition of progress is not the kind of progress lifting gets you.

This is probably the one you're looking for. I dealt with chronic pain issues for the better part of a decade, and every time I lifted I would just injure myself or make my issues worse. Chasing higher numbers only exacerbated my problem, as well as the consistent 'pushing' ethos of most people involved in lifting/strength training.

Doing yoga helped me understand that my main problem was I would tense my muscles and not recruit certain muscles while lifting. After I realized that and started practicing isolating muscles or learning more bodily awareness, I am far stronger than I can remember myself ever being. Using your muscles the right way helps a lot.

@Tanista mentioned injuring themself during a relatively like workout, which I've also struggled with, so I figured my experience may be relevant here.

Either you are some kind of genetic outlier where your body is that much more receptive to yoga., and that much less receptive to lifting.

I have had a couple doctors diagnose me with joint hypermobility but I think that's just one of a host of BS diagnoses for chronic pain issues that doesn't have a ton of backing in real science.

You got injured doing goddamn Kegels?! How is that even possible?

Not injuring yourself in the gym is pretty easy:

  1. warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio

  2. Don't do weights close to your one-rep max

  3. Slowly increase your total weekly volume to give your tendons time to adjust

  4. Don't improvise in the gym, instead have a pre-planned routine with exact weights on an excel sheet that you stick to

  5. If you're doing complicated movement patterns like squats and deadlifts, make sure your form is correct

So, I hurt my back last week. As previously mentioned in this space, I'm having a pretty sweet fall training cycle for a marathon, had worked up to an 80 mile week, knocked out a shorter distance PR, and have generally been in great shape. Of course, as these things go, I somehow managed to strain my back jogging in easy, about 30 feet from my house. I really have no idea how the hell that happened, but it hurt like hell and has relegated me to low impact activities for the past few days.

Let's get to the bright side! I love Zwift and this has given me a reason to loop back to it. If you like cycling at all and need a way to do it without being intensely bored during the winter, I strongly recommend dropping the bucks for a good indoor trainer and hitting Zwift up. It's just gamified enough and varied enough that it strips away the tedium of sitting indoors and spinning for an extended period of time. People that have done in game challenges and ridden them outdoors say it's a pretty good simulation of the required effort. Maybe one day I'll go climb up Alpe d'Huez in real life, but for now, Alpe du Zwift will suffice.

I bought the cheapest "shiatsu" electric massager and it worked great for my lower back.

This past weekend I played Underwater Rugby for the first time. I regularly play underwater hockey and there were some players in both sports that convinced me to come out and try it.

I ended up not liking it for reasons that I thought would be the case all along. But I still liked it more than I expected. The main reason for liking it was that it was an insanely good core workout. When you are underwater and changing directions or pushing against people you have to use your whole body as leverage. For about two days afterward I felt tired just standing and keeping my body straight. It wasn't a particular muscle soreness, and that felt pretty weird.

The reasons I didn't like it:

  1. I'm not a fan of wrestling and didn't like grabbing and pushing other people very much. I didn't shy away from it in the moment, my competitiveness kicked in enough to get over any squeamishness. But it just feels strange to me.

  2. There were some dumb dominant strategies. The defenders would just shove their whole back over the basket/goal and block the offense from scoring that way. You couldn't grab them to move them. And I'm not sure if even shoving them off was legal. If you were on offense and didn't get a breakaway at an open goal/basket then it basically became a waiting and coordination game.

  3. The parts of the game I did like, the strategy with positioning, the added challenge of a 3d playing space, being the water, etc, are all part of underwater hockey as well. So I'll probably just stick to my current sport.

If either are available in your area and you like swimming or snorkeling, I'd suggest trying them out.

Yes, Finally something that I can reply to. I tried underwater hockey. I swim fairly regularly. But the first sessions were fraught with me being afraid of the depth of the pool. I think the game was played in the deep end about 10 feet. I needed to swim regularly in a pool of that depth for me to be comfortable with the game. Maybe when I do that, i will be able to go back and play properly. But underwater hockey is really a fun sport.

First two or three games are really rough. I felt like I was drowning every time. Comfort on the pool bottom is really the main skill in my mind that separates "rookies" from "non-rookies". Once you can get down there quick and stay in the play for about ten seconds you have graduated.

Ten feet is on the deeper side for a typical underwater hockey match. I personally think 8 feet is best, but it's not always easy to find the perfect pool.

On the other hand underwater rugby is much deeper. I played in a pool that was 14 feet deep, and that is apparently the preferred depth.

Those are some cool sports!!!

Any tips for dealing with persistent jock itch? Asking for a friend...

jock itch

Don't get it in the first place. It's really hard to get rid of permanently once it's established.

I got it first on my chest in a tiny little spot, mostly ignored the mild itching. Antifungals chased it away. Came back. I ignored it.

Got it in my asscrack couple years later. Didn't pay it much attention for some months until it started to seriously itch and my scratching it was remarked upon. Went to see a doctor then, finally.

Now antifungals will banish it for some time if used for couple of weeks, but it always comes back. Maybe not this time, switched up the medication.

I was amazed how little embarrassment I felt when showing my asshole to some seventyish old lady skin doctor for the second time.

Ketoconazole and itraconazole topical creams worked great for me, if it can deal with Indian humidity it should work for you!

Well let me tell you what worked for my friend:

-- Cleanliness. My friend was working at a gym and tended to work out (sweat) heavily in the AM, work a 12 hour shift including sporadic physical labor and exercise without showering, and that's when it crept in. Shower and change undergarments regularly.

-- Baby powder. Powder your junk to keep dry.

-- Anti fungal creams work, but have to be applied multiple times per day. He ultimately got a prescription and that cleared it up, but I think that was only moderately stronger than the ordinary products at a CVS.

Baby powder. Powder your junk your friend's junk to keep dry.

Fixed an important oversight in your post.


Your friend sounds like a smart man! Thanks for the tips.

I agree with the answer below. I had a persistent case of jock rash, used anti-fungal meds for years before seeing a colorectal specialist. Turned out I had an anal fistula and needed surgery. Been good ever since.

We just got a dog and I have been walking way more, and I’ve never had issues before now. So I’m pretty sure it’s fungus related.

Edit: I mean… My friend…

Well my friend doesn't exactly have good health insurance right now so more looking for OTC options. Lotrimin supposedly works well but only as a band-aid.