What history, and wisdom, tells us
- “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
- “Strive for progress, not perfection”
- “Success is the exponential effect of little things done consistently over time”
Quote after quote reminds us that good (and even great) things come to those who put the time in; who “do the work”. Although it doesn’t even have to be hard work… It does needs to be consistent.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes about how seemingly average people good at certain tasks become great, even legendary, with enough work or practice. This book was based, in part, on the work of Swedish psychologist K.A. Ericsson, who showed that deliberate practice over time leads to superior performance in a given task (music, sports, academics, games, etc.).
While not all of us are striving to be the next Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Madame Curie, Bill Gates, Serena Williams or Prince; the rules still apply. How much time we put into our work or practice determines how good we get at a given task or set of tasks. Period.
Yes… Genes, luck, connections, physical abilities, etc. play a role; but not nearly as important as “doing the work”.
Do the work
The concept of “doing the work” is of vital importance when it comes to one’s health.
No single meal, exercise session, meditation sitting, night of sleep, thought, or brain game is going to create the lasting changes most are seeking when it comes to improving or curing what ails them. It is the successive performance of improved nutritional intake, physical activity, mindfulness and stress reduction techniques, sleep hygiene tactics, positive thinking, brain training, and more, that WILL make a difference. And what a big difference “doing the work” can make!
This, in sharp contrast to conventional medical and cultural wisdom that aggressively encourages us to seek the ‘quick fix’ or ‘silver bullet’ for our health care or human performance struggles. And, in cases such as brain injury and concussion, to simply ‘wait and see’ if the symptoms will get better.
You cannot turn anywhere, any day, without seeing ads for the latest and greatest exercise craze, weight loss product, erectile dysfunction/sleep/Type II diabetes medication, brain enhancement supplement, or self-help tool that will most often do nothing to address the underlying cause of poor health for most… Not “doing the work”.
Sure, there are instances where a medication, surgical procedure, nutritional supplement, chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture session will eliminate a problem altogether; although this is the exception… NOT the rule!
Eat right… Move right… Sleep right… Think right
Far easier said than done… Although, those who adhere to these principles most often live longer, healthier, and happier lives with greater resistance to the impacts of ill-health and disease; as well as to internal and external environmental stressors.
- Eat right… Varied whole food diets with elimination of refined and processed foods, decreased sugar and increased healthy fat intake, decreased overall caloric intake, and proper hydration (with water) have all been shown to enhance longevity and decrease disease risk. As Hippocrates was noted to write: “Let food be thy medicine”.
- Move right… Daily physical activity – whatever you are capable of! Movement = Life. The more we move, the better our physical, mental, and emotional health; and, the more resilient we become to stressors and discord in our lives. Choose activities you like and move with others, as this will likely make it easier to form the habit.
- Sleep right… Likely the most important factor when it comes to brain and body health (or lack thereof). Establishing a sleep schedule, getting 7-9 restful hours, eliminating ALL technology from the bedroom, no screen time’ for at least 2 hours before bed, and using high quality bedding materials will increase your probability of obtaining restorative sleep.
- Think right… The ability for thoughts of gratitude and thankfulness to neutralize the most damaging emotions of fear, worry, and anger has been well established in the literature. Meditation (particularly mindfulness), gratitude journals, and not engaging in negative talk with friends, family, and on social media is a great start.
This work needs to be done EVERY DAY!
What if more is needed?
Beyond the basics of the steps above, many require extra guidance and resources to attain greater and greater levels of health. Those with:
- Brain injuries (TBI, concussion, stroke)
- Cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s, dementia, CTE)
- Learning and behavioral disorders (ADHD, anxiety, OCD, addiction)
- Chronic degenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, heart disease, diabetes, MS)
These conditions and more make it quite difficult for many to obtain quality sleep, exercise, etc. And, the number of medications one would take for any of the above-mentioned conditions further decreases compliance, motivation, and ability to adhere to these basic health principles.
What to do??
If you are struggling to do the basics in life – eat better, exercise, sleep, think effectively – it is time to work with someone who can help the underlying ‘wiring’, neurological organization and brain networking issues, or conditions mentioned above that may be preventing you from mustering up the ability to live a proactive, productive, and healthy life… Your best life!
Consultation with a Functional Neurologist is your first step in “doing the work”. If you are unable to, or if you simply need a nudge in the right direction, they are a vital component of your health care team.
Your functional neurologist will help you to:
- Determine the underlying cause of your problem/s
- Understand why things are not as they should be
- Prescribe a treatment strategy that will help to restore optimal function neurologically, physically, and metabolically
- Develop an ‘after-care’ program to continue progress and live the ‘4 tips’
- Be a resource for you should you need referral for more invasive/aggressive procedures
Call APEX Brain Centers now at 828.708.5274 to learn more about living your best life, and to schedule a FREE 10-minute consultation with the doctor to determine how Functional Neurology can help you.
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