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Are You Climbing the Right Wall to Your Best Health?

During times of reflection, I regularly think about Stephen Covey's suggestion to find the right walls to climb before I spend my limited days climbing.

Spending time to identify the right walls to climb can sometimes require more energy than the actual process of climbing; it can bring about much frustration and second guessing. Still, my experience has been that working hard to carefully choose which walls we want to scale is worth the effort, and is an important part of striving to develop the ability to live with wisdom.

When I was in my late teens and early 20's, I scrambled up and down many wrong walls as I searched for answers to my health challenges. Predictably, my health worsened as I spent energy on ineffective remedies that stood no chance of helping me experience good health for the long term.

How can you know if you are working to scale a wall that will allow you to experience your best health?

Here are some indications that you may be climbing up the wrong wall as you work to restore, protect and improve your health:

  1. Your focus is on what you can take to make your pain go away.

    In most cases, it can be fine to seek and receive temporary pain relief when it is necessary. But over the long term, it's important to understand that your body creates pain to protect and guide you. When you have pain in your body, scaling the right wall involves striving to identify and address the root causes of your pain.

  2. You spend significant energy reading lists of ingredients on food labels.

    It's good to be aware of what you are eating. But the right wall isn't littered with a variety of packaged foods. The right wall is abundant in fresh foods that don't require packages and lists of ingredients for purposes of identification.

  3. You believe that taking high quality supplements can make up for a poor diet.

    Regular consumption of nutrient-dense, food-based supplements and superfoods can significantly enhance your health and protect you against sub-optimal food and lifestyle choices. But over the long term, supplements and superfoods cannot erase the destructive effects of a poor diet.

    The right wall is constructed with a philosophy that makes eating fresh foods your top dietary priority, and then considers inclusion of high quality supplements and superfoods to bolster the positive effects of your main food choices.

  4. You feel emotionally stressed on a regular basis.

    To get stressed about greed, corruption, and all other forms of unkind behavior is no different to your health than to get frazzled about matters that you consider to be petty.

    The right wall to climb for your best health requires that you feel emotionally balanced and peaceful for most of your waking and sleeping hours. To your nervous system and health, stress is stress, regardless of how justified it is.

Above all else, ascending the wall to your best health requires that you understand that your health status is constantly changing, and is determined on a moment-to-moment basis by every thought that you think, every emotion that you feel, every food that you eat, every food that you don't eat, how you use your body, the quality of your rest periods, and the quality of your environment.

You are climbing the wrong wall if you mentally compartmentalize your body and life, where you are hopeful that solely taking miracle cure "A" will fix up a bad knee joint, or where you go on a dietary regimen that is "guaranteed to help you lose X number of pounds in Y number of days" with the expectation that you will maintain a healthy weight and genuine self esteem for the long term.

What are the keys to choosing and scaling the right wall in your pursuit of health excellence?

  1. Strive to experience emotional harmony.

    This requires that you practice the art of living according to principles that you believe in, rather than the default program of living in reaction-mode, where your emotional state is governed by your ever-changing life circumstances.

    Learning to experience emotional harmony on a consistent basis requires that you become skilled at dealing with the stressors that life continuously puts before you. If you do not have good command over the level of peace that you feel on a day-to-day basis, then I recommend that you take a close look at The Less Stress System. It's the most effective and comprehensive program of its type that I have ever experienced.

  2. Use (but don't abuse) your body and acquire adequate physical rest.

    Your body was designed for movement. Your bones, muscles, ligaments, lungs, heart, and blood vessels all benefit from regular physical movement. If your activities of daily living don't require much physical movement, make it a point to enjoy some form of physical activity every day. Great activities for promotion of physical health include: walking with a friend, doing yoga, gardening, swimming, and playing non-contact physical sports like tennis, ping pong, and volleyball.

    The single best guiding principle for acquiring adequate physical rest is this: strive to rest whenever the sun is down.

  3. Expose yourself to fresh air and sunlight on a regular basis.

    You should aim to live in fresh air as much as possible. If you live in a relatively pollution-free area, living and sleeping with your windows open should be a top priority.

    You should expose your skin to as much sunlight as your climate and circumstances allow, without getting burned.

  4. Regularly consume nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods.

    The majority of your food choices should be fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and clean animal foods like organic eggs and wild fish. After you have established a routine of eating whole, minimally processed foods, you can consider adding one or more nutrient-dense, food-based supplements or superfoods to your dietary regimen to ensure optimal nourishment of your cells.

If you are just getting started with your journey to your best health, I encourage you to take things a step at a time. My experience has been that the single most important step to take is to work on feeling emotionally balanced on a consistent basis. Emotional balance is what is needed most to regularly make health-promoting food and lifestyle choices.

For comprehensive and ongoing guidance on how to effectively handle stress and experience emotional harmony, visit: The Less Stress System


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