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The Six Pillars of Health

The spotlight of our attention to our health, fulfillment, happiness, love has unfortunately been driven outward. The idea that things we cannot control or an outside-in approach is what will make us happy or create a solid foundation of health has been incredibly misleading and has been perpetuated at our detriment.

The following six pillars are meant to instigate critical thinking on what health actually is, how to attain it and fundamentally change the way we view how much power we actually have in life.

We have tried the "pill for every ill" mentality and it has led us to a global crisis. We are overfed, undernourished. Sitting has become the new smoking. We are more disconnected from ourselves and others around us than ever before. The answer is not more drugs, it is not more sugar, more social media or more isolation.

The premise of chiropractic has been said perfectly by BJ palmer- "While other professions are concerned with changing the environment to suit the weakened body, chiropractic is concerned with strengthening the body to suit the environment."

I believe that these six fundamentals can help us step into power, reclaim health, strengthening our inner knowing of ourselves, connect us spiritually, deepen our emotional connections with each other and enhance the fullness of life.

Move well:

Your body health drives your mental health. Your brain only works as well as your body does. We have been treating the body and the brain separately and really they are intimately connected. When we cut ourselves off from the neck down and believe exercise is just for vanity we are missing the boat.

Your muscle mass is a direct indication for how long you will live, how well you will live and whether or not you are at risk for dementia, alzheimers or any other cognitive impairments in older age.

I am not saying you need to be a body builder, an instagram yogi or an extreme athlete.

I am saying that daily movement as simple as walking 30-45 minutes can help stave off the effects of aging, regulate blood sugar, bring you more into a parasympathetic state(rest, digest, recover, regulate hormones) and lubricate joints.

So the magic question- how much do I really need?

It depends on your goals- weight loss, muscle gain, maintenance?

There is research on the amount of physical activity that has been related to longevity and I will share that with you...

Moderate to heavy weight lifting 2-3x/week

Intentional stretching 2x/week

Brisk walking for 30 minutes 4-5x/week

This plan above has been shown to increase longevity and most important increase test subjects health span.

Breathe well

Breath work has been a primary focus in the health space the last few years and has steadily been gaining traction.

It has been shown to bring the brain into parasympathetic mode (remember rest and digest?) which is critical right now as most people are in sympathetic mode (stressed, run away from a tiger system) 24 hours a day. Under slept? over caffeinated? Mental/emotional stress? All drive this state to be perpetuated.

Having a knowledge base on how important breathing is and to bring your attention to it can mechanically help your body, neurologically balance you and biochemically help your organs as well.

Breath deep into the diaphragm, fill up your lungs through your belly. If you notice your shoulders rise when you take a deep breathe then that is stress breathing and can perpetuate neck and shoulder problems and contribute to overall fatigue. Finding a breathe work coach, taking yoga or reading/watching expanded material on breathing will be very beneficial.

Breathing deep oxygenates the blood, levels out pH levels, influences organ expression, regulates CO2 and O2 balance and so much more.

Stop. Take a deep breathe in your belly. Hold it for 3 seconds. Exhale longer than it took for you to inhale. Then repeat.

This pattern will help your brain feel safe, regulate your biochemistry, help with muscle tension and install another pillar of health.

Think well

What we think and what we say to ourselves is directly correlated to health outcomes. Negative self talk increases inflammatory markers in your blood and can drive dis-ease development. If we are saying your thoughts you have can make you sick, then is it safe to say your thoughts have the power to make you well and put you in a healing state?

The answer is yes. Your thought patterns when driven into the more positive direction and as the positive begin to outweigh the negative your wellbeing changes, your happiness baseline elevates, your inflammatory markers go down, your hormone regulate, even your gene expression changes and in extreme circumstances it has even lengthened telomeres (the caps on your DNA that show how long you will live).

Books I suggest on these complex topics- Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman Ph.D. and Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Be kind to yourself. You're doing your best.

Sleep well

One of the casualties of our modern lifestyles is our sleep quality. Not only do we need certain amounts depending on activity but also age, sex, health state, stress level to name a few.

We all know sleep is important so here are the cliff notes and if you are interested in diving deep a book I recommend is- Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker PhD.

1) Women- you have super powers and science shows your hormones operate best with 8.5-9 hours of good quality sleep.

2) Kids in growth patterns (kids to young adults ~16-18 years of age) work best with 12 hours of sleep per night.

3) Men- the magic number is 7.5 hours as a minimum. 5 hours of sleep or less has been shown to have testosterone levels of men 10 years their senior.

4) Not a single psychological disorder has not been related to disfunctional sleep.

5) Sleep aids are correlated with cancers and other autoimmune issues.

6) Night shift workers are at a higher risk of developing cancer, metabolic syndrome and it has actually been labeled as a carcinogen.

Tips for solid sleep:

1) Keep room cold- a bedroom in the 60's has been shown to be best

2) Make it as dark as possible- your skin has photoreceptors and a red pen light shined on test subjects big toe has been enough stimulus to take a person out of deep sleep.

3) Stop caffeine by 1pm

4) Try to eat at least 2 hours before bed and not a carbohydrate filled meal as it leads to blood sugar handling issues during sleep.

Eat well

Food is a complex topic and is closely dependent on personal beliefs, past experiences, genetics, blood type, toxic load just to name a few.

Keep this is as brief as possible and being sensitive to the infinite amount of differences we all have and the nebulous context as this is a blog.

Eat nutrient dense foods that have the least amount of processing, toxins, pesticides and as local as possible.

Did it fly? Swim? Walk on land? Eat it if it was raised correctly. Did it grow on land? Check each vegetable and fruit for where it was flown in from, what went into growing it and what toxins does this plant or vegetable naturally have. Oxalates? Lectins? Phytates? If you do not know what these are- they are naturally occurring plant toxins that ingested in large amount or with certain people can be contributory to illness. Quick google searches will be very helpful to find out which plants and fruits to keep or avoid in your diet.

Ann Wigmore — 'The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison'.

Spirit well

A fulfilling life, lasting change, self love, how long you live are just a few of the things related to the acknowledgment of a higher purpose. Without getting involved with directly referencing religion or spirituality which are not mutually exclusive this philosophical tenement. In this context it is related to the acknowledgement that "I" am not the pinnacle of existence and there are things greater than me that I am in greater service to.

This acknowledgment of a purpose to something greater than myself has been shown to improve longevity, happiness baseline, several key health markers and more.

A higher purpose has been related to contributing to lasting behavioral change such as quitting smoking, weight loss, changing psychological narratives that aren't self serving.

This is a smallest tip of the iceberg that is "spirit well" and know that this specific journey is different for everyone.

The exploration of this topic is lifelong and individual and is vitally important to how we go through this human experience.

These six pillars lay down the foundation of the divine structure that is you. A fracture or destabilization of one or more is not a death sentence or a sin. It is a call to action for attention, intention and repair so you are able to have a fuller, healthy, more magical human experience.

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