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From the American Holistic Health website:



Think About the Best of Times, or ‘DBRUs!’


by Donald B. Ardell, PhD

Compared with advances in the medical field, wellness breakthroughs have been slow in coming. Not until about the time of the Renaissance were physicians able to rely on science and not exclusively on healing methods derived from ancient Greek, Chinese, Indian and other systems. When will wellness promoters emerge from the dark ages with comparable leaps forward resulting in epidemics of well-being, veritable plagues of wonderfulness and mass contagions of optimal functioning?

Surely the domains and the skill areas associated with wellness and self-management are ripe for new theories, paradigms, constructs and the like. Where, therefore, are the Edisons of wellness, the Fords, Mozarts, Molieres, Einsteins, DaVincis, Franklins, Fermis, Boccaccios, Swifts, Pepys, Jeffersons, Maughams, Beethovens, Pasteurs of wellness. Where is the Lance Armstrong of wellness who will lead the way to new visions of wellness?

Well, I’m sure such people will be along shortly. Meanwhile, I have a pretty neat idea.

Wellness breakthroughs, like new theories, paradigms and constructs, are not fashioned anew out of whole cloth, but are built on the insights and advances of those who came before, on the shoulders of pioneers in modest but vital ways. The art of making art is putting it together, bit by bit and little by little, over time. Thus it is with pretty neat wellness ideas. Mine was inspired by the creative genius of Gary Larson, the comic genius who gave us the cartoon series, “The Far Side.” Specifically, my pretty neat idea, my claim to fame in this life, is based on a Far Side concept that made possible my own creation, my invention, my neat idea. I refer, of course, to the concept of the “DBRU equivalent.”

The particular “Far Side” cartoon that gave birth to my “DBRU equivalent” was one depicting a large, deceased rhino covered by buzzards with more filling the sky, arriving to join in the feast. In the caption, one buzzard remarks to another, Just think, here we are, the afternoon sun beating down upon us, a dead bloated rhino underfoot and good friends flying in from all over. I tell you, Frank, this is the best of times.

I looked at that picture, thought of those words and asked myself what, exactly, ARE “the best of times” in my life? Ever since, I’ve been asking audiences this question: “Are you getting enough DBRUs? That is, are you getting enough “dead bloated rhino underfoot” equivalents?

That’s my neat idea, my contribution to the advancement of wellness and self-management.

What are the best of times for you? Put the question to yourself on a regular basis. Ask yourself if you are getting enough DBRU equivalents. What are the “best of times” in your life? Are these experiences occurring with sufficient frequency to make your life wonderful? If not, take steps to rectify the situation.

A few years ago, I did one of my famous double-blind, crossover trials of a longitudinal, horizontal and dignified nature and discovered we all need a minimum daily requirement of twenty-three DBRU equivalents. They need not be spectacular DBRU equivalents. Little pleasures, simple reflections of gratitude, and conscious appreciations of wonder will do nicely. When you wake, be grateful you are still alive, living in a free country with plenty to eat, that your kids are not in jail (assuming they’re not), that the sun is still up there, and that we continue to revolve on planet Earth, not too fast and not too slow. There – you already would have six DBRU equivalents – and you’re not even out of bed yet! In other words, DBRU equivalents need not be epic and triumphant events, like recovery from a grave illness, hitting the lottery, winning the Tour De France three times, or climbing Mt. Everest in the nude. Little pleasures throughout the day will do the trick. Tune in to these little delights, bring them into your conscious awareness, celebrate them, and pause often to honor your good fortune! By the end of the day, you may have pondered hundreds of these wonders, let alone the minimum twenty-three – and you will be richer (and healthier) for it!

I hope this puts you in a good and inquisitive mood for the day and fires up your commitment to take charge of your life and develop a strong interest in self-management. It’s time to go out there and celebrate life more than you already do. It’s time to seek DBRU equivalents and ways to get fitter, to have more fun and play, richer relationships, more emotional intelligence, to be a more critical thinker. It’s time to discover added meanings of and purposes for living, in your unique fashion.

As my then high school-age daughter once said to me, Dad, may all your dead rhinos be like totally bloated on this lovely day.

It’s a pity the FDA has not set an RDA standard for DBRU equivalents, but as with other worthwhile initiatives, you don’t want to wait for the government to get around to doing the right thing. Seize the day – go out there, identify and enjoy as many DBRU equivalents as possible.

And please consider on more thing. Try to remember that the DBRU concept was not invented, built, or written by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – or any of those other brilliant folks listed earlier. When the time comes to carve another image on Mount Rushmore, please remember who gave the world the DBRU concept. Remember who is responsible for the fact that the world knows about and daily enjoys DBRU equivalents – and give Gary Larson his due.

Be well. Look on the bright side of life.

Donald B. Ardell, PhD wrote High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease and 15 other books, his latest Aging Beyond Belief. Since 1984, he authored 540 WELLNESS REPORTS and over 1200 essays, all at Don promotes a form of wellness based on reason, exuberance, meaning and purpose, skepticism, science – all linked to politics, sex and religion, his favorite topics. He is an All-American triathlete and advocate for global wellness and worksite wellness far beyond the existing medically-focused orientation to risk reduction and disease management. His lectures are entertaining and outrageous (in a nice way). Contact


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

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