Keep&Grow Healthy Habits

Why 10 + 9 Builds a Resilient Brain & a Beautiful Life

I recently gave a talk to a group of university alumni seeking to discover how to prepare for and enter their “post-career lives.” The lecture focused on ten faculties that reside in our brains throughout our lives. The faculties position us to make the most of our days at every stage of our lives – when we actively exercise them. that is. Otherwise, there they sit: an untapped potential that's never given the chance to transform our lives for the better. I also discussed nine life skills that serve as the bridge over which we cross from potential into action. Skills transform possibility into lived reality. Skills are the means through which we exercise our brain’s potential. Read on to learn the building blocks for a better life. 

Why Resilience Requires Failing

Do you want to be described as resilient? Most people do. Resilient people are “winners,” it seems. They are people who can take what life dishes out and respond in ways that make them, wiser, stronger, more compassionate and loving, and able to live life to the fullest no matter what. There is certainly value to wisdom, strength, compassion, love, and tenacity. But, I find that resilience, from a neurobiological view, involves something different. Read on to learn about "neuro-resilience," and how pain and failure are necessary life experiences for developing it.

Why I Mistrust Routines

In this blog, I explore the value and limitations of living with unexamined routines. I ask, "Why, then, if routines are so central to conducting our daily lives effectively, do I so mistrust them?Routines are subtly and powerfully seductive. Sometimes their seductive power leads to misery." Read more to discover an important practice for breaking out of stale and confining habits. 

Sleep is a Waste of Time, Right?

By the time we are 50, we will, on average, have devoted about 5,110 nights (7.5 hours nightly) to sleep, or at least attempting to get enough of it in a way that leaves us feeling rested, refreshed and with sufficient energy to engage our daily routines. In my last blog (http://bit.ly/SleepingTime), I introduced information that invites us to question conventional folk wisdom about what good sleep is “supposed” to look like. While it is clear that the form sleep takes each night can and often does vary from person to person, or even the same person over time. Still, despite this variability, there is little question of what happens when we don’t get what our body needs in the way of sufficient sleep.

What is a "Good Night's Sleep" Anyway?

Is our 8-hour work day responsible for the explosion of sleep-related problems that have contributed to the meteoric rise of thousands of sleep clinics and sleep medicine professionals around the country that track the electrical firing patterns arising in our brains in a desperate nightly search to diagnose the cause of sleep disturbances? What is driving the expanding menagerie of devices and treatment protocols promising to restore “natural” sleep patterns? What is the link between the surging numbers of people suffering from obesity, depression, and memory disturbance and a chronically sleep deprived population? Read on to learn the answers to these questions...and more. 

Wise Choosing: Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Medicine

Since humans first began to live in larger organized communities: that is, since the dawn of societies and culture, three feared and often deadly scourges have afflicted humankind. Those afflictions were: famine, disease and war. In Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Homo Deus, he describes how for the first time in all of recorded human history, novel threats have emerged. More importantly, so have new opportunities to actively shape the fabric of our lives. Read on to learn to tame the new health threats by becoming a "wise chooser."

Why Teeter-Totters are a Model for Good Health

Did you ever play on a teeter-totter as a child? I used to enjoy finding the position that would balance me and my playmate midway between up and down. That position was hard to maintain. We’d sit there, seemingly suspended in midair, not quite perfectly still, but mostly pleasantly hovering above the ground. Read on to learn why teeter totters model how to rebalance our energy system's needs, and how doing so is essential to managing irritable bowel and other common health challenges.

Why Does Our Health Rely on Two Brains & Trillions of Bacteria?

Living creatures didn’t always have what we picture today as brains. Before actual brains there were bellies, or at least some primitive way to absorb nutrients from the environment existing outside the organism. If there was plenty of food available, flowing toward and past the ancient organism like in ancient oceans, there was no real need for a primitive brain in the head. After all, in those times there wasn’t even a head to house a brain even if one were available! Read on to learn how we rely on our guts and their resident bacteria for our very lives!

Exiting Love's Perpetual Tug-of-War

Exiting Love's Perpetual Tug-of-War

In seeking love, we engage in a never-ending tug-of-war with ourselves that dramatically colors our connection to our partner. On one hand, we take actions that we hope will make permanent (as in, "lived happily ever after") our connection to the “other” (spouse, partner, lover, or friend). We act from the barely conscious belief that “if only” we make the right choices we will achieve our romantic/intimate ideal. On the other hand, we are haunted by the dim awareness that no matter what we do, our efforts will ultimately end in separation from that ideal partner. They'll disappoint us, leave us, or we'll end up leaving them. (In this blog, I’ll use partner to refer to our intimate other, regardless of the form of the connection.) Read on to learn to build better connections. 

Does Getting "Hot" Make Stronger Connections?

Does Getting "Hot" Make Stronger Connections?

Why do we say we “feel warm” toward someone to whom we feel close and are attracted? What is the link between physical temperature and the allure and strength of our attraction toward someone? Why do we describe someone who doesn’t greet us in a friendly way as giving us a “cold reception” or the “cold shoulder” when we are ignored? Is there really a connection between having “warm-hearted feelings” and physical temperature? Read more to learn what science says and what you can do to get closer...