Now that it is a new year, people are talking about resolutions again. And while this is a fun tradition, we all know how dismal the statistics are in achieving them.
Maybe most resolutions fail because they aren’t addressing the real issue in the first place.
So, this year, instead of talking about resolutions, let’s talk ruts.
A rut is something that keeps you going in a certain direction because you've gone down that path so many times before. It gets so deep that, no matter how much you wiggle the steering, you can't seem to get out of it. The worst part? Many times, we are not even aware we’re in a rut.
A rut, to put it in functional medicine terms, is the “root cause” of why people want to make a New Year’s resolution in the first place.
While ruts come in many forms, they all keep us stuck in a spot where we really don’t want to be.
For patients, a rut might be related to their health – perhaps they're too busy to make...
There seems to be a lot of movements building these days.
Things to get behind because they sound good.
Things to go along with because everyone else is.
This isn’t new.
It is human nature to join the tribe or fit in because genetically, we’re predisposed to make decisions based on survival.
But we are in a time when it is more important than ever to apply thought to our choices. And just because everyone is doing something, it does not mean it’s smart.
Did I ever tell you about the time everyone cheated in Naturopathic School?
Yes, future doctors, people you would think want to truly learn, have integrity, and be the best, made a really bad decision.
Bad decisions don’t discriminate.
The class was Embryology. Strangely enough, this was one of the toughest courses in the program.
Around midterm exams, a copy of the Embryology test got into circulation.
Students started passing it around, covertly alerting each other of this perilous treasure.
Have you ever placed little yellow sticky notes around your house telling yourself that you’re beautiful, attractive, successful, wealthy, or that people like you? If you have, you’re not alone. The idea of positive affirmations has been around for a long time with numerous self-help books and gurus promoting them as a way of improving your life.
But do they work? Is there any research on them?
It turns out there is.
According to the scientific literature, not only do affirmations not work, they may actually be harmful to some people and make them feel even worse about themselves, not better.
One particular research paper looked at positive self-statements, such as “I am a loveable person”, in people with low or high self-esteem. Researchers discovered that for those individuals who already had high self-esteem, positive self-statements provided a mental pick-me-up, but for those with low self-esteem, positive...
If you want to find out what people think happiness is, just take a look at social media. People post pictures of their vacation, the delicious food they are eating, their new house, moving to a new exotic location, and of course selfies (so many selfies).
It turns out there are a lot of problems with this.
Firstly, there are many types of happiness, and therefore ways of pursuing happiness. One way, called hedonic happiness, means being happy about things we can acquire or consume. Going on vacation, eating a good meal, buying ourselves a new pair of shoes, moving somewhere new, getting married – we're acquiring something new in our lives that we didn’t have before.
This type of happiness always wears off. It might wear off quickly like a recent meal, or it may take a couple of years to wear off, like a new home or a new car, but this hedonic happiness always wears off, at least a little, and we are left to find new things to make us happy.
We got to thinking about gratitude. Not a big surprise this time of year, we know.
Before your eyes glaze over thinking this is another recycled recommendation to count your blessings, hang out for a moment while we put some fresh eyes on this familiar old friend.
If you’ve been into health for any period of time, you’re probably aware that practicing gratitude is well documented as having positive effects on numerous health metrics including sleep, eating habits, fewer physical symptoms, well-being, and even happiness.
Clearly, gratitude is generally a good thing to practice and because of this, you will find health-seekers all-over trying their hand at daily gratitude practices.
But, as with most things, there is more to the story.
In fact, there is so much more to the story, we are considering turning this into a workshop. But for now, here are some nuggets to chew on as you embark on this gratitude-drizzled holiday season.
You Can Overdo...
Choo Choo…the next train is pulling into the Health Bandwagon Station.
Resilience - All Aboard!
And suddenly, we have resilience coaches, resilience training, resilience curriculum, resilience apps, resilience planners, resilience self-help books, and resilience methods.
Before we all start adding “#resilient” to all our social media posts, can we just stop and think for a minute.
Is resilience really what we are after?
We don’t say this to be offensive. And we certainly understand where the idea started.
The word itself is quite catchy – r-e-s-i-l-i-e-n-c-e. It rolls off the tongue, right?
Eh, not so fast. Follow along as we break this down and at the end, let us know if you agree.
Resilience is usually defined as “bouncing back” after some kind of adversity. The root, resilio, means to leap or spring back, recoil, rebound, or shrink (back again).
But when something bad happens, is that really what we want to do?...
Do You Know What You Don't Know?
Have you ever known someone who watched a documentary – say on climate change – and then all of a sudden became an expert in climate change?
Or maybe someone who went to one seminar and then started diagnosing everyone with what they just learned?
Perhaps you saw someone who read a few articles on a recent pandemic and then qualified themselves to dole out "expert" advice about supplements to save us all.
These are all examples that could qualify as the Dunning-Kruger effect. You may have heard about it, as it is a popular term that has been tossed around as of late.
The funny thing is, most people that talk about the Dunning-Kruger effect, suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect about the Dunning-Kruger Effect. David Dunning himself said, “The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is that you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.”
In fact, if you do a Google image search on...