With few exceptions, the human body is a self-healing organism and would function, in most cases, without a hiccup if we were able to give it all the things it needs – nutrition, exercise and spiritual food. Most of the time, however, life gets in the way. The good news is that we all have the chance to make right with our physical, emotional and spiritual selves and live in a way that allows our bodies to function better.
To reverse a downward spiral and get life back on track, a person has to make a choice to live differently. The bottom line is that major lifestyle changes are almost always prompted by a Wellness Wake-up Call that comes in one form or another. The idea of my new book is that Wellness Wake-up Calls don’t have to be organic moments inspired, perhaps by a major life event or upcoming class reunion. Wellness Wake-up Calls can be intentional. Based on years of research, both academic and practical, many health issues can be traced back to some form of not living right. Of course, there are exceptions – and those unfortunate instances are not the ones addressed in Wellness Wake-up Call.
My personal devotion to wellness comes largely from the events of my childhood. My dad, an electrical engineer for AT&T, lived his young adulthood in the throes of the rat race of the Northeast corridor – commuting an hour-plus each way and focusing most of his energies on making a living.
The stress of his life hit him with a stroke in his early ‘40s. Eventually, he recovered from the stroke. But by his mid-40s, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was removed. He quasi-recovered from the tumor, only to have a degenerative neuropathy of his brain. His health steadily deteriorated for the next five years, until he passed away. He was and still is a major motivating factor in my life.
One consequence of living lives of such plenty is the onset of diseases a healthier diet or more exercise could often help prevent. Specifically, many diseases that adversely affect humankind later in life are diseases of brain (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, etc). So, if we can take steps to reduce the chances of these debilitating diseases – and research says we can – the time has come to take serious interest.
The human brain essentially needs two things to survive. It needs a fuel supply and activation. The fuel supply is largely oxygen. Activation comes in many forms. Think of it in terms of struggle. Too much time on autopilot can lead to long-term issues.
Here are some suggestions of ways to put your brain in the right struggle and get it off the dangerous autopilot mode:
Meditation has been shown to increase IQ and decrease stress. Meditate 10 minutes a day. No excuses.
2. Listen to music or better yet learn to play music.
You are never to old to learn – and the particular struggle of learning an instrument is perfect for your brain.
Walk. Bike. Swim. Exercise increases oxygen. Your brain loves oxygen.
4. Change your environment.
It may seem counterintuitive, but look for ways to struggle a bit and challenge your brain. Take a different route to work. If you usually go left, go right. Do something different. Change your routine.
5. Think positive.
Research shows that positive thoughts and having a positive attitude increases your brain’s ability to function. Negative thoughts actually slow your cognitive ability.
DAVID J. BARCZYK, D.C.
David J. Barczyk, D.C. is the Chief Executive Officer of ALL !N Wellness. He earned his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree in 1994 from Life Chiropractic College in Georgia and has a robust chiropractic practice that includes four locations across Southern Louisiana.
Dr. Barczyk has dedicated his adult life to living well and helping others do the same. His motivation stems from the sickness and early death of his father. His father’s death charged the writing Wellness Wake-up Call, which challenges readers to take ownership of their healthy diet and find the time to exercise four to five days a week. He and his wife, Dr. Colleen Barczyk, motivate young people to stay fit by coaching a competitive swim team. They reside in Lafayette, Louisiana, and have two daughters who are competitive swimmers.