Want to maximise your chances on living a healthy, vibrant, long life? Of course you do! By taking care of just 4 things, you will do exactly that. Everything you do on top of that, like acupuncture, Chinese medicine and herbal medicine is just icing on the cake.
An old doctor said to me years ago that good health and long life depended on 3 things – lifestyle, genetics and luck. This is true, but if you look at epigenetics (which is how behaviour and lifestyle affect gene expression), then you can see how by taking care of the 4 pillars of health listed below, you are giving yourself the best chance to have good health, good luck and optimum gene expression.
In short, you can easily maximise your chances for health and vitality and minimise your chances for ill-health. Nothing is guaranteed in this great mystery, but we may as well tilt the odds in our favour whenever possible. The best part of it is that they are simple and take very little time while yielding great results.
What are these 4 pillars of health? In no particular order, they are:
Today I’m going to focus on the last one, stress reduction. We all know it’s important, but I don’t think many of us know how important. It’s certainly taken me a really long time. Or maybe we do but the social pressures that we tend to internalise (work harder, longer, more because what I’m doing is not enough!) can often take over our minds.
Think about this – 80% of doctor visits are stress related. 80%. I’m not exaggerating when I say there is an epidemic of stress in our culture. We just tend to not notice because chronic stress is something most of us live with and on some level think is normal.
Maybe its normative, but its not optimum. I don’t know about you, but I think being stressed and being happy are mutually exclusive. So the time we spend stressed is time we aren’t happy – not to mention that stress can take years off our life. So it both negatively impacts of the quality of the time we have while also reducing the amount of that time.
Stress is often something we’re addicted to. How can you tell if this is true for yourself? Watch for these 9 signs and see how many (or if any) apply to you:
Difficulty in slowing down
Worrying about things even when you try to relax
Filling every moment with some sort of activity
Feeling numb or bored unless there is constant activity or even chaos around you
Getting into relationships that have extreme highs and extreme lows
You are a workaholic and extreme type A personality
Feeling bored or restless around people who are calm
You grew up in a dysfunctional household
Your parents modelled any of these behaviours
So, how many of these apply to you? How many apply to the people around you? Awareness of your patterns is the first step in being able to change and modify them. I know for myself that I’m constantly finding new manifestations of stress-related behaviour that I’ve lived with as normal my whole life. I love those moments, because once I have awareness of something, then I can have agency over it.
From my own experience and the experience of the people I treat, I know that placing a LOT of emphasis on stress reduction and management is often the best thing for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
The good news is that there are a ton of simple, easy to implement, quick techniques that are very effective in reducing stress, helping us manage our minds and our reactions to life events.
Like anything worthwhile, it takes work but it pays off big time with more calm, relaxation, happiness and joy. Support your development of these skills with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and you have a recipe for a higher quality of life and better health on all levels. My next blog post will be about these easy skills.
As always, I invite your comments and questions. If you’d like to learn more about stress reduction and managing your mind, you are also welcome to book a session at my Collingwood, Meaford or Toronto clinic. I look forward to hearing from you.