The main reason you’re not enjoying better health is a lack of response ability. As in, your ‘ability to respond’.
The good news is that there’s a simple solution for this…
Poor health is often blamed on bad genes, bad germs and, essentially, bad luck. This is an attractive way of framing things, as it allows us to shirk personal responsibility for our health and happiness.
In basic terms, health can be described as the consistent correct organisation of all 37 trillion cells in your body. Where the ‘organisation’ represents a response ability (the ability to respond) to adapt to internal and external challenges, overcome them and create health.
This ‘response ability’ is determined less by our genes and more by the responsible management of the external and internal environments that activate your genes. The external environment being physical activity and chemical nutritional, and the internal environment being our mental-emotional and recovery status.
Health relies on response ability. Response ability requires responsibility.
When we accept more responsibility for our health, it allows our body to have a greater ‘response ability’ to daily stresses which, in turn, leads to a greater quality of life.
(Before continuing ensure you’ve read the first article in this series, ‘Northern Beaches Health Foundation’, as it lays the ground work that we build on here).
How much health are you really enjoying?
Imagine a horizontal line. On the left there’s a zero, and on the right end a ten. The zero equals zero health or ‘death’, and ten equals complete health or ‘consistent correct functioning of every cell in the body’.
(Death) 0 10 (Complete Health)
If you’ve been sick this year, had a few unexplained aches or pains and don’t wake up full of energy every morning, chances are you’re sitting at about 5 out of 10, maybe 6 out of 10 tops. That’s actually good news as it means there’s a lot of potential for it to be higher…
Would you like it to be higher? How would it feel to get sick less, sleep better, have more energy, greater focus, greater physical and mental performance, better relationships and more confidence?
You can have all that, but it requires an increase in your ‘response ability’.
The Basics of ‘Complete Well-Being’
One of the things we discovered in the first article was the World Health Organisation’s definition of health, which states that, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
This is a great definition but how can we turn it into a practical plan of action?
At a basic level, the human being can be described as 37 trillion cells functioning together in an organised manner. Before you can enjoy anything like ‘complete well-being’ you need to focus on the consistent correct functioning of every cell in your body.
That’s the basic plan if you want to enjoy your full potential for health, your potential lifespan, and the complete well-being you should be enjoying.
Correct cell function essentially means a cell’s ability to respond to the needs and stresses on the body.
You’re not a victim of bad genes or unhealthy genetics.
Remember the excitement about the ‘genome project’? We thought this would be the answer to life, the universe and everything.
What happened? Well, we found that a water flea has more genes than we do. In fact, so does a mouse… But the answers to a happy healthy life weren’t magically hidden in the genome.
People often blame their genes for lack health. But your genetic code is simply like a recipe book, waiting to be used by the chef. We all know that a recipe doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quality of a finished meal. Even with the best recipe in the world.
Any recipe being read by an overwhelmed chef, using low quality ingredients isn’t going to result in an enjoyable meal. On the other hand, a well organised, competent chef using high quality ingredients can turn any recipe into a memorable experience.
A similar process is constantly occurring in your body. Your genetic code is being read like a recipe book, to cook up the building blocks of your body. The ingredients are what you eat, the way you move and how you think and rest. These are often called the 4 pillars of health.
Whilst your nervous system, the intelligent system that organises everything, is the chef. It’s also the foundation for the 4 pillars of health
A recipe for sickness, or health?
You were born smart, strong and beautiful, with the genetics to create complete well-being. Complete health and well-being is your birth right.
You are genetically programmed to create health. But in order to experience anything close to your health potential, you need an environment that let’s your body-mind express that potential. This is the concept of ‘genetic expression’.
A tiny percentage of health challenges are actually due to ‘genetic’ problems. The real problem is how the genes are activated. The signals they receive from their environment.
Health is relative to your external and internal environment.
A VERY important understanding about genes and genetics is that the way your genetic recipe is read, and therefore the health and quality of life you live, depends on your environment.
The ‘raw ingredients’ used in the recipe depends on your external environment (the way you move and eat) and the internal environment (the way you think and rest). The clarity of ‘the chef’ depends on an optimised nervous system.
You have control over the quality of the environments. You have the freedom to improve these ingredients and move closer to 10 out of 10 on your health scale. Or you can do nothing and continue to move closer to zero. With this choice come responsibility.
Your Quick Start Guide to Healthy Response Ability
Spring has almost sprung but it’s not too late to start some health habits and enjoy an easy ‘Spring clean’. Simply choose one new habit from each of the 4 pillars of health below and stick to it for the rest of spring. You might be able to think of other healthy habits of your own.
Nutrition (the way you eat / chemical stress)
A piece of fruit before lunchtime
One fresh vegetable juice per day.
Thirsty? Add 2 big glasses of water per day
Look for ways to reduce your sugar intake.
Physical Activity (the way you move / physical stress)
Take ‘posture breaks’ at work/study every 30 minutes. Get up, breath deep and stretch for 1 minute.
Add 30 minutes of outdoor activity, 3 times per week
Remove your shoes and go for barefoot walk on the grass (or sand) every day.
Mental-Emotional (the way you think)
Take 3 minutes to only think of things you are grateful for.
Watch the sunrise or sunset in silence. Try once a week.
When toxic thoughts or memories pop into your head (inadequacy, fear, frustration etc), say the word ‘breathe’ in your mind and focus on your breath.
Recovery (the way you rest)
Aim for 8 hours sleep.
Set a waking time and stick to it all week.
No screens, phones, tablets laptops for 2 hours before going to bed.
The next article in this series will take deep look at the foundation that determines the strength of these 4 pillars of health.