Day 105 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Toys ‘R’ Health

Advertisers are so smart. The strategic placement of their products is usually brilliant. Like, how easy is it to walk out of Target with WAY more than you needed simply because of the last minute goodies in the $1 section? Or, how many times have you bought gum from the basket on the Starbucks counter because you KNOW you will have coffee breath after your beverage? And my personal weakness: Burt’s Bees chapstick packs at the very end of the checkout line. I am usually pretty good at avoiding the last minute purchases at stores…you know, the mini-me versions of sanitizing gel, travel-sized lotion, and sugar-free gum. But today, while in line and surrounded by every bouncy ball, paddle ball, and endless candy assortments from Big League Chew to Now and Later, I discovered the Unexpected Health…in toys.

Now before I go on, let me preface this post by saying that I am, in no way, advocating cluttering your house, car, and backyard with a bunch of plastic toys for your kids. I actually think the children of this generation have WAY too many toys than they know what to do with. I am pretty sure I was quite content with a few bowls and some mud or sand to play with. In fact, I am not even referring to children and toys today. I am speaking to the young-at-heart; those who love to play, and those who wished they played more.

Let’s go back to my time waiting in line: as I stood staring at all of the ‘junk’  moms must have to creatively distract their kids from (advertisers can be cruel to parents sometimes!), I focused in on one toy…a harmonica. I snatched it up and made the most healthFUL $2.50 purchase I have made in a long time.

As soon as I got into my car, I cranked up my country music, took the harmonica out of its holder (yep, it came with a carrying case!) and began playing along with the music. Well, I wouldn’t quite call it music, but it was noise! At that very moment, three things happened: a) an immediate Cheshire-cat grin adorned my face; b) I was forced to take deep, diaphragmatic breaths in order to blow out a tune; and c) I burst out into laughter…if a toy of any age category can have these effects on you, then it’s definitely healthy!

To be honest, I didn’t care that I looked like a total crazy lady driving down the street with a translucent green harmonica hanging off her lips, laughing to herself. I felt that childlike playfulness enjoying my little instrument…my toy. As I drove along, blowing out whatever melody I thought resembled the Tim McGraw song playing through my speakers, I thought about how great of a stress reliever this toy could be. If there had been traffic, I would never have noticed. I would have been merrily distracted by my harmonica playing. I wondered why harmonicas weren’t being sold at car wash stations, drive-thru Starbucks, and Targets across the state. If only people knew what a stress reliever it could be. So the next time you are shopping, think about the Unexpected ways that a toy may help relieve stress and bring about health in your life. Maybe I just found the key to eliminating road rage…$2.50 at a time. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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