Okay, so I have been paying attention to what many wise folks have to say about what creates health. Studies on basically every form of major bad-health ju-ju; cancering, heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc., all point to the profound benefit of five things that are labeled “lifestyle choices.”
- Good Nutrition – mostly plant based
- Joyful Movement
Do any of these things and your health improves. (Okay so no one has done a study on Joyful Movement per se, but “Exercise” gives me nasty flashbacks to junior high gym class, which is a major disincentive.)
This creates a framing on how to take action, as a family, to enhance our health and wellbeing. As a bonus it nicely dovetails with how to be proactive to minimize a return to cancering for me. I have been writing around the edges of all of these things, for instance lots on my walking habit- which is central to my Joyful Movement ploy, but I am very motivated to deepen my daily habits around all five actions and address them more directly.
I have started thinking of it as Temple Keeping – caring for the body as house for the soul. People have been talking about this for thousands of years- and I am slowly starting to catch on. It seems like this is the low hanging fruit for health, it doesn’t require any experts, and most of it is free. If you take into account that we all need to eat anyway, theoretically, it is possible to do all of it without money being a barrier.
The hitch is that it requires changing habits. There is a gap between what I would like to be doing and what I am currently doing. There is a really funny commercial from Organic Valley that illustrates this pretty well. It sets up the idea that a conveniently prepackaged product can meet your needs, but I translate it as, “Make it easier to do, and I am more likely to take action.”
One way to make this easier is to create some guidelines. For instance when I was telling my self to walk “more,” I was only walking 4-6 times per month. But when I set the goal to walk 10X per month I started walking 24-28 times. I like excelling more than I like coming up short, so I have been making really easy to reach goals. So far each time I have applied this rule, of setting a doable goal, I have done pretty well.
In the excellent book, Switch, the Heath brothers refers to this as smoothing the path. When you rely upon your willpower you are sunk, when you have clear directions, you can do it on autopilot. Walking “more” becomes walking 10 times. Once it is defined it can happen.
For now it is incremental steps towards a smoother path. In the ideal I will have a yoga practice, drink green smoothies, have a sparkling clean house and a well kept garden. Until then I will continue to live in our chaotic but welcoming house, go for walks and let the chickens do the gardening. Implementing all five wellness actions in tiny steps. I will keep you posted.
Here is the funny Organic Valley commercial: (BTW Organic Valley is a Cooperative!)