As many of us sit down to impressive feasts today, we’re undoubtedly thankful for the food on the table and the company that surrounds us. Our thoughts might peruse the events of the year – the many happy days enjoyed, the hard times weathered. Whatever the content of the year’s storyline, we made it intact and bring an attitude of gratitude for the chance to reflect, celebrate and share. There’s something to the mindset of the day. For those hours we see the upside. We focus on feeling fortunate – even abundant.
Every Friday I love highlighting stories about men and women who took the challenge and transformed their lives. Whatever their circumstances (e.g. diabetes, obesity, chronic autoimmune conditions), they grabbed hold of the Primal process and made it their own. Whether they went cold turkey or began in fits and starts, they eventually committed 100% and got the life they wanted. It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s why I wonder so much about folks who come to MDA on a regular basis but never really get so far as to implement the content in their own lives. Whether it’s information about low (or even moderate) carbing, moving frequently, standing workstations, going barefoot or relishing good natural fat, their interest never translates into action.
For years now, across multiple posts here on Mark’s Daily Apple, nighttime blue light has gotten a pretty bad rap. Although I’ve mentioned that blue light during the day is important (and natural sunlight is helpful), I haven’t focused on it, mostly homing in on the circadian-disrupting, sleep-inhibiting, melatonin-blunting effects. As a result, many of you may be entirely unaware of the potential positive, beneficial applications of blue light. Recent and not-so-recent research has confirmed that blue light can actually improve our cognitive abilities, including memory, alertness, reaction time, and executive function – at least in the short term. Oh, and it doesn’t always ruin our sleep. It might even improve it if you expose yourself at the right time.
Wait a minute – blue light is good for us? Sisson, you just got done spending the last few years telling me to excise blue light from my vicinity at night if I wanted a good night’s sleep, and now you’re saying we might actually need more blue light. What gives?
A conversation the other day got me thinking about personality and weight loss/health transformation. Do certain “types” tend to approach health changes differently? For instance, do intense personalities steer toward a cold turkey approach? Likewise, do milder characters lean toward a slow and steady style? And what does the research say? Everyone is always looking for the path that entails the least amount of pain, toil and struggle. Maybe we’re lead by intuition, or maybe we’ve had our share of personal experimentation – with its collection of successes and frustrations. For example, maybe you tried to go cold turkey once and feel like you fell flat on your face. On the other hand, maybe you tried it and it wasn’t a total disaster but was just too uncomfortable. You wanted a different process. (As long as we accept responsibility, we always get to choose our process.) The same goes for the slow and steady method. Maybe it just elicited impatience over time. Knowing ourselves is key to undertaking any health change, but how does personal idiosyncrasy merge with bigger behavioral and physiological patterns?
In response to last week’s “Rethinking Stress” article, a number of readers noted the relevancy of meditation to the insight. Meditation, of course, isn’t something that changes our outer circumstances. It’s an inside job, so to speak. It can change our processing of stress by shifting our relationship to ourselves and to our own cognitive responses and emotional patterns. The result? We over time come to view our own reactions and feelings from a more grounded distance. We learn to observe our emotions instead of letting them run the show. We learn, in essence, to talk ourselves down from our own trees.
Meditation can seem like such a lofty thing, but it doesn’t need to. Anyone can do it, and everyone can benefit. So today I’d like explore meditation; the health benefits it confers, how it may fit into an ancestral framework, and how to get started. Let’s jump right in.
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