Valley Voices: The health value of a good deed |

Valley Voices: The health value of a good deed

Drew Werner
Vail, CO, Colorado

We all have it. We don’t always like it. Sometimes it is good for us, and often it is not. We can lose sleep over it, or not even be able to get out of bed. It can make us loose our appetite, or gain 20 pounds. It comes and goes, bothering us only when there is too much of it.

What is it? You may have guessed — stress.

Family medicine literature suggests that up to 20 percent of all visits to family physicians involve stress or depressio, whether as a primary complaint or a hidden agenda.

It is not surprising, then, that a common question is: What can I do about it? Books have been written about stress, classes of medications developed to treat it, and entire fields of study devoted to stress. Still it remains a challenge for many people.

Since I don’t have the space to write a book here, I would like to offer a simple suggestion. Do a good deed.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

There are many types of stress and many reasons for it. One way of thinking about stress is the relationship we have with the cause of it.

In other words, there are those stressors that we have some control over and those over which we have no control. I believe that the latter stress is the one which causes the most distress.

Perhaps the greatest stressor is when someone makes a decision that affects us and we disagree with it. While we cannot control another person, we can control our own actions and decisions.

I was leaving the excellent Wings and Wheels show at the Vail Valley Jet Center o when I pulled out into heavy traffic, waving my thanks to the nice person who let me in. A short distance later, I too stopped to let someone into the traffic exiting the Jet Center.

As one good deed begets another, that person in front of me also slowed to let a car pull out of their parking spot. I thought to myself, would this chain of events have happened if the first person had not let me in? I would like to think so, but I can’t be sure. I can be sure, though, that each of us had a better day because of the small good deed done.

At this time of memorials and the anniversary of 9/11, I would like to remind us to also recall all the good deeds done.

Remember those who have kept us safe, those who have kept us free, and those who dedicate themselves to keeping us safe and free every day.

Remember, too, that if you have too much stress in your life, you may feel better after you have done a good deed. It may start a series of events that will make more people than you will ever know have just a little less stress too.

Drew Werner is a family physician based in Eagle. He can be contacted through email at

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