Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for the ‘ Personal Improvement ’ Category

13 Feb

A Primal Look at Art Therapy

paintbrushesA few years ago as I was beginning to get a vision for what would become The Primal Connection, I was exploring the idea of vitality from new angles. I was interested in what lay beyond the basics for human survival: nutrition, movement and fitness, sleep, stress and sun. I wanted to examine the connections between our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ lifestyles (what we can reasonably determine and presume) and the existing (if somewhat marginal) activities and therapies that appeared to show therapeutic benefit in scientific studies. I talked about bibliotherapy, writing therapy, music therapy as well as other more enigmatic but relevant topics like silence, solitude, ritual and retreat. What could be gleaned from the research (and a bit of Primal philosophizing) for further refining the good life – the deeper sense of well-being that accesses and actualizes the many facets of our evolutionarily fashioned humanity? In the midst of my recent blogging forays into vegetable recommendations, gentle cooking, pollution mitigation and resistant starch, I’ve been thinking lately about those past explorations. Truth be told, looking into those areas influenced my life at the time. I’m one to write about what I live – or at very least try what I write about….

23 Jan

What Is Your Inner Athlete?

victoriousVisualization time… Take a moment and picture a world class athlete in your mind. What image is coming? If you’re like most people, you’re probably visualizing a tall, lean, muscle-bound (or at least very muscular) man or woman, the epitome of brawny human form. On the flip side of this exercise, of course, that means you’re likely not thinking of anyone who’s short, stocky, slight, overweight, exceptionally tall, etc. And yet athletes, even world class athletes, come in literally all shapes and sizes. You may have seen these pics (a few of which are embedded below) making the rounds recently (or remember them when they were first published by Howard Schatz about twelve years ago or so). On the surface, the idea of body “variety” isn’t all that novel of an observation, but I’m still struck when I look at these photos.

9 Jan

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

typewriter2Experts have understood for decades that the human brain is geared toward storytelling. As anyone who created bizarre scenarios to memorize random facts for high school tests knows, we recall information better if it’s organized within a story. In Grok’s day, this fact likely had clear benefits for passing on crucial information such as hunting and foraging strategies (and epic mistakes), medicinal remedies, migration routes, navigation principles, survival tactics, and familial bloodlines. From a less pragmatic sounding (but rather pivotal) angle, the human mind is also moved by narrative in a deeply emotional way. Sure, band life was organized around the daily company and collaboration of members, but Grok and his crew weren’t automatons. Stories of many kinds undoubtedly helped maintain or explain those bonds with tales of history and alliance (and, I imagine, humor). It’s kind of fun blow-ten-minutes thought: what would Grok have laughed at? But I digress…

6 Jan

Dear Mark: New Year’s Resolution Edition

resolutionsFor today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a series of questions and answers related to the successful realization of your New Year’s resolutions. No matter what you’ve actually resolved to try to do, you’ll probably find something of interest in today’s post. First, I cover the eternal question everyone ponders when attempting a lifestyle overhaul: cold turkey or baby steps? Next, I give tips to someone who’s worried he’ll fail going Primal just like all the other times he’s tried to change his diet. Third, I cover how quickly a person might see results from going Primal, explaining the various determining factors as well as the best way to think about your results. And finally, I reveal my (lack of) New Year’s resolutions for everyone to dissect!

Let’s go:

2 Jan

11 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Start of a New Year

newyearquestionsYesterday, we shared our new year visions with each other, and we took a look at some of the resources you have at your disposal here at Mark’s Daily Apple and Today, I’d like to help you further explore your goals and motivations, and assist you in establishing a concrete plan of attack for 2014. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is in my own life is to ask myself tough questions about my successes and failures, and to be brutally honest with my replies. In this article, I’ll suggest you do the same.

Now, this exercise must be done with some dedicated effort. A passing read through the questions while nodding only to forget about them in twenty minutes won’t get the job done. Discuss them with a friend, spouse, or loved one to make them real. Write them down on a piece of paper, or type your answers out. However you pay special attention to this exercise, give careful, thoughtful answers. This is about resolutions, but even more than that, this is about dialogue. Open, honest dialogue between your multiple selves, between the person that should be doing this or would rather be accomplishing that, and the person who does neither but desperately wants to. The resolutions will come, but expect it to take a little work. Let’s get to it…

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