Why Living in a World of Extremes Matters to You
By Dr. Molly Casey
We live in a world of extremes. You may not think it at first glance, but this idea permeates nearly every aspect of life -- at least in western society. Living in the extreme is harmful and you likely do it far more than you realize, especially with regard to the body and your health.
Why should living in the extreme matter, and should we take a step back and hit the reset button?
Extreme by one definition is reaching “a high, the highest degree, very great”: basically, the best. You may think that you aren’t an extreme person, but let’s take a look at life.
- What have you strived for in your work but “the best” position, pay, hours, benefits and work/life balance?
- What do you ask of yourself in your daily routine and family relationships if not “the best” of completing your entire to-do list and all that is required of you?
- What do you want for, or ask of, your kids if not seeking out “the best” schools, the best sports teams, the best activities, the best of friends?
- What do you ask of your body on long days of little sleep and less than optimal hydration and nutrition? You look for “the best” performance to keep going and not slow down.
In this society, people are in a constant quest for “the best,” a mindset itself that is extreme. In western society, there are people who will sign their children up for preschool prior to the child being born because they want them to attend the best preschool. This is extreme. However, don’t think that just because you haven’t done that particular thing means you’re exempt.
The Body and Extremes
One of the most glaring ways to see how we all dance with extremes is to take a look at health and the body. For example, another definition of extreme is farthest from center, or farthest from a given point.
Lifestyles in which you sit eight hours a day and only move your body an hour a day is extreme. This, simply, is at the other end of the spectrum versus an athlete who trains six hours a day. It’s an extreme.
Caring very little about what you put in your body for nutrition, not drinking sufficient water, or never paying attention to the health and function of your spine is also extreme. The body has certain basic needs that are baseline requirements for it to function properly; not providing for those basic needs while expecting optimal functioning is extreme. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you are obsessive about your diet, exercise, or transformation lifestyle -- these “positive” things can go to the extreme as well.
The body is a machine that is looking to be in homeostasis -- a steady state between interdependent elements. Think of it this way: There are literally millions of processes occurring in your body at any given point in time, and many of the processes are dependent upon the others occurring before, after, or simultaneously. The body and all of its processes must be in sync and in balance to function at its best.
It does not mean that the body can’t weather some extremes in one direction or the next, such as long bouts of exercise or periods of stress. But when the body is constantly barraged with stimulus or requests in any one direction, the body as a whole will eventually function less than optimally and suffer. The body and its processes, the mind, and your mental health, need breaks -- it needs a respite and some balance.
The Need to Stabilize
I am not telling you to live or strive for a mediocre life. It’s great to want the best of the best and strive to always be growing. Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal or in correct proportions to each other. To grow the most and be the best, you’ll get much further if you learn the process, learn when to push and go harder, and when to lighten up and rest. That process, that point, will be different for different people in different situations. Finding your flow is necessary. Your body and health behaviors will follow your mindset.
If you are extreme, the results in your health will appear as extreme and often as harsh. Seek to balance out your mindset and your approach to health and wellness. Chiropractic is all about balance: balanced communication between your brain and your body.
If you are seeking better balance, get in, get checked, and get a chiropractic adjustment to reset your body to a point of optimal efficiency. The doctors at The Joint Chiropractic are waiting for you.
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