8 Areas for Health (Pick 1!)

You don’t need to do everything at once.

Pick one thing.

Once you’ve upgraded your life that area, pick another.

The elements of a healing protocol lifestyle are all connected and they all support each other.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed about addressing all the components at once, don’t.

Pick One3Starting is the thing.

Here are eight areas to focus on that will each improve your health.

Pick one!

  1. Nutrition;
  2. Sleep;
  3. Stress Management;
  4. Connectedness (to people);
  5. Connectedness (to nature);
  6. Habits & Patterns;
  7. Self-knowledge; &
  8. Goals.

1. Nutrition

A great place to begin.

But if changing your eating makes you cringe, pick something else! And come back here later.

Whether or not you are ready to embrace nutritional healing now, it’s helpful to know that new scientific understandings have revolutionized our ideas about the ideal human diet.

We now know that food does much more than just provide the units of energy we need to run our bodies. It provides information, tells our genes how to express themselves, and alters the microbial communities that determine whether or not we get sick, and how much fat our bodies store.

Based on this new science, mid-21st century dietary recommendations will be radically different than the nutritional advice of the 20th century. But it’s dated 20th-century thinking which is still endorsed by slow-to-respond medical and health systems.

You don’t need to wait for those systems to catch up!

The new science supports the notion of bioindividuality. What matters more than the rise and fall of nutritional fads, is how your system responds to particular foods.

It’s about finding the nutritional pattern that helps you thrive.

2. Sleep

Getting enough sleep is challenging. Because one of the truly scarce resource of modern life is time.

We all steal time from sleep to do things we need and want to do.

SleeptimeSleep is fundamental to any healing protocol. Chris Kresser in Your Personal Paleo Code noted that even one night of sub-optimal sleep results in insulin resistance in healthy people and that lack of adequate sleep acts like a chronic stressor, dysregulating our entire biological and psychological systems.

But it’s not always as simple as carving out time. Even when we prioritize sleep, sometimes stress, pain or other health issues interfere.

A focus on improving sleep is an excellent place to start your healing journey.

3. Stress Management

Stress is a really big deal.

And stress management may be your #1 strategy for preventing and reversing chronic health problems.

Unfortunately, chronic stress is our new normal.

People now fuel their lives with stress hormones that were previously reserved for real emergencies. And the result is an epidemic of chronic disease.

Chronic stress leads to weight gain and neurological degeneration. It literally makes us fat and stupid.

Stress3Ongoing stress also contributes to gut dysbiosis, a disruption in the healthy functioning of the gut microbiome, which leads to intestinal permeability and systemic inflammation.

And intestinal permeability and gut dybiosis are now known to be the origin of most illness.

Gut dysbiosis itself also causes stress, which creates a vicious cycle (a real stress fest!) that can only be broken by effective stress management strategies.

You can turn the stress cycle around. Start small. And learn as you go.

4. Connectedness (to people)

We are designed to live in community.

When we feel socially connected, all of our health outcomes improve. Depression and anxiety decreases, physical health increases, and even our gene expression changes for the better.

Connectedness lengthens our lives and increases our happiness.

But we can no longer take connectedness for granted. We no longer live in small groups where we work together on a daily basis to attend to community well-being, like our ancestors did.

Focus your Efforts for HealthOf course, it’s silly to idealize the past.

People were still people, back in the day. They had the same flaws.

Conflict, war and oppression happened. But our daily lives were embedded in a matrix of relational contact with each other.

The Paleobiology of Connectedness.

In modern contexts, we can take steps to reconnect.

And doing so may be one of the most overlooked health strategies of all.

Part 2: Up Soon!

Find the next four areas here:

  • Connectedness (to nature);
  • Habits & Patterns;
  • Self-knowledge & Finding Resolve; &
  • Goals.

I’ll also explain why Exercise didn’t make it on this list!

7 thoughts on “8 Areas for Health (Pick 1!)

    • I’m glad you asked, Joanna! Pick the one that will be most fun. If none of these seem fun at the moment, then assess leverage: determine what is easiest and what is most important. The most important thing that is easiest to do: start there!

  1. Thanks, Petra 🙂
    Regular reader here…

    Do you think it is most likely to find people with chronic health problems in scientific environments? (Stress, not much connectedness to people or nature, crazy sleeping habits…) but hey, that can probably be found anywhere

    • Hi Ivonne, scientific environments could certainly be conducive to chronic health problems, but as you note yourself, what you are describing (Stress, not much connectedness to people or nature, crazy sleeping habits…) is pretty much the norm for everyone in the modern world. And a ‘scientific environment’ will vary based on other factors: chemical exposure; access to natural light; whether or not a person feels that their work is aligned with their values; a person’s temperament; and how attentive they are to health-promoting practices in other areas of their life. We are complex systems living in complex systems. And there are always ways we can improve our experience and our health!

      • Ufffff, you hit the nail on the head. Certainly all those other things apply and sometimes can be a complete game changer. For example, someone might be working with heavy metals and aldehydes on a weekly basis, but love their job and be completely sure that what they are doing is meaningful and will have huge repercussions in the course of science. I know a guy like that. He keeps himself motivated and active. And the opposite also exists… Healthy habits with a boring and unrewarding job.

  2. Pingback: 8 Areas for Health (Pick 1! Part 2) | petra8paleo

  3. Pingback: Where to Start? Assess Leverage | petra8paleo

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