Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Key To Life

Sia-Elastic Heart

Greetings dear readers!

I'd like to start off my first formal post of the year by declaring my commitment towards better healthcare and posting tips and information for others on how to get there. I hope my readers will come along with me on this fun journey.

There are some fundamental aspects of healthcare that I believe are crucial to living a healthy life. My point in introducing this is threefold: (1) We are one person and by virtue of our singularity every aspect of our lives contributes to the whole self. Thus, it is not possible to truly excel long-term in one aspect whilst compromising another. (How can you exercise at your best if you have not properly nourished yourself or received adequate sleep? How can you be motivated to exercise if you are not at ease internally?)
(2) Believing you excel in one aspect while consciously compromising yourself in another aspect is at the height of hypocrisy. I've touched base on this before, but I'll be more straightforward this time. Running around doing yoga every week is wonderful, but when you supplement that with copious amount of alcohol consumption every weekend you are only fooling yourself. I use this particular example because I see it nearly every weekend as I live above a yoga studio and there's a bunch of undergraduates who live in my building, and also because in general I just know way too many people who try to tell me how great shape they are in and then proceed to imbibe heavily on the weekends. To truly be in integrity is to live your ideals/values in all your aspects of your life.
(3) Although we are one person, we are one part of a greater context. We are all a part of this world and to believe our actions are benign and don't impact our neighbors or the world is a limiting viewpoint. I choose to elaborate this simply: by not taking care of our fundamental aspects of personal healthcare we are not allowing ourselves to be fully present in this world for ourselves, our neighbors, our communities etc...

Onto my aspects of healthcare:

(1) Nutritional Health
(2) Fitness
(3) Sleep/Rest
(4) Spirituality/philosophy

These are the 4 main aspects I believe must be in tune in order to be a functional person. I am still learning about each of these and will try to be as comprehensive about this information as possible. I am thrilled to see this article from the WSJ, so it appears that many of us already are well on our way to better nutritional health. I also hope to bring back philosophy into the mainstream. I've previously declared that I participate in the practices of Stoicism and I'll dive deeper into the philosophy throughout the year. In ancient Greece and Rome there were schools of philosophers where one could go to ponder the aspects of life and the human condition and then come together to discuss such subjects in an effort to establish the collective unconscious. Religion has replaced this for some but what are the rest of us to do? I seek to present (or re-present? I guess an entire philosophy on it's own exists to realize that no thought is ever actually original) questions that make us think and establish our beliefs. Some of you may be wondering "what about social/family life?" or "what about professional life?" I didn't include career in these four because I think these four are required in order to be functional (and exceptional) in one's career. By the same token, social and family life I think are super important so perhaps they ought to be on the list. To be frank I don't know what more information I can offer about them except that they are required for adequate mental health and I think on some level they are included under #4. (Let's all stop talking about minutiae and start talking about big ideas!?)

I'll close this post by stating this: As per The Critical Thinking Guide, a well-cultivated thinker will "thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences."  What I hope to convey by mentioning this is that an aspect of being a good critical thinker is evaluating and re-evaluating established beliefs. Therefore even though things I will post about are evidenced-based (and I will provide links to current literature for your benefit), these aspects are the subject of ongoing research. Should some new information arise that sheds further light on something I've previously posted I will be sure to include that into a re-evaluation process and I hope that this urges us all to continuously question what we believe. Medicine, much like life, is a subject rooted in evaluation and re-evaluation so let us enter this journey with the mindset to do the best we can with whatever information is available at the time.

On a different note entirely, I did want to post this from yesterday's NYtimes because I felt it is important editorial and I am thankful the Times has addressed this. 

Time to hop aboard for our maritime adventures!

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