We hear it all the time… “I have X every few days, but that’s pretty normal. I just take a Y and it goes away within a few hours.”
Insert any of the following for X:
Headaches, back pain, tightness, numbness, digestive problems, heart burn, anxiety attacks, fatigue/lack of energy, bouts of depression, etc…
And the following for Y:
Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, Tums, Xanax, Coffee, Red Bull, Testosterone, etc…
And this is very normal in modern living.... but should it be?
Isn’t the idea that we have to take medication to manage symptoms on a regular basis just giving in to mediocre health?
I have no issues with medication in general, provided all other avenues have been pursued.
There’s a time and place for them, but I don’t believe they should be regularly used to manage minor symptoms until all lifestyle factors have been optimized.
Keep in mind that medications are altering the chemistries in your body and come with a host of side effects. You may never actually “feel” any of these side effects, but they may be altering your long term health outcomes.
It’s important that before turning to regular does of medication, we consider alternatives.
Before turning to medication, we need to stop and ask ourselves:
Most times, optimizing lifestyle factors comes down to the “boring” things we already know about:
If you’re dealing with any of the problems listed above, here’s a few quick pieces of advice on each of them.
My challenge to you is to pick one and start working towards optimizing it to your needs.
It’s time to stop settling for mediocre health!
Ideal nutrition varies from person to person. What causes an inflammatory reaction in your body may not be the same foods that cause an inflammatory reaction in another person’s body.
If you suffer with chronic health problems (even minor ones), consult a registered dietician or functional medicine specialist. Ask them how they can help to identify the foods that cause inflammatory reactions (and your symptoms) in your body. If they don’t have a good answer, call another person.
If you’re already active and exercising regularly, think critically about what activities and movements seem to make you feel worse versus better. If you can identify these, you don’t need to cut them out, but should modify them and try to determine which part of the movement is causing symptoms.
If you’re not already active, start with something as simple as walking 10 min/day a build from there.
An adult should target sleeping 7-9 hours per night. At a bare minimum, you need 6 hours of sleep/night. If you’re unable to sleep, try seeing a sleep coach or undergoing a sleep study in order to optimize your life for a good night’s sleep.
Try to drink between half to all of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For instance, if you’re 150 lbs, you should target 75-150 oz of water.
If you constantly feel stressed out (and don’t enjoy being stressed), optimize your lifestyle for less of it. I know this easier said than done, but remember this is all about NOT accepting mediocre health.
If you don't know where to start, consult a mental health coach or psychologist - no, this doesn't meant you're crazy!
Yes, genetics do play a role in our health, and no, there isn’t much you can do about them.
However, in large part, genetics only predispose us to certain health conditions – they do not guarantee those conditions.
If you work to optimize all other aspects of your lifestyle (and find someone who can help you account for your genetics), you will have a lower likelihood of getting the worst of your genetic predispositions.
Ladies and gentleman, it is time. Time to stop settling for mediocre health, time to stop “managing” our everyday symptoms or making excuses for them.
What can you start doing today in one of the areas above to optimize your health?
About the Author
Evan Lewis is a nationwide leader in Neuro Therapy and founded the Baltimore area's only specialist Neuro Therapy facility.
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