Author, journalist and humorist, AJ Jacobs, takes his dedication to learning and understanding a subject to the extremes. In this lighthearted TED talk he describes how following the advice of every health proponent out there can actually do more harm than good:

From a holistic perspective, this is absolutely correct. Sometimes people offer ‘health’ information for their own power and profit. Others may be misguided by studies sponsored by unscrupulous corporations. While there are a large number of honest health experts out there, the responsibility always comes down to YOU, and no one else. Doing something just because someone whom you believe is smarter or better than you tells you to do it doesn’t mean it’s best for you.

Every body is different. And each human organism, though similar in countless ways, has it’s own specific needs and functions. Knowing precisely what your body needs and when it needs it best makes all the difference between your surviving and your thriving. Taking your own self-responsibility to listen and—more importantly—heed your body’s subtle messages of needs will bring you only great health, health that no doctor, book or diet will ever give you.

Sure, it’s tough in our modern, domesticated society to shut up long enough to listen, truly listen, to what our bodies are saying to us, but with practice and patience you will achieve Genius status for your own health. And the rewards for this are profound!

Here’s a little tip to get you started: Your body doesn’t speak in words, it speaks in feelings and ideas. I know, you’re thinking, ‘What kind of esoteric boob listens to something that doesn’t speak words?’ Well, healthy, happy people do. Naturally slender and fit people do. People who live past 100 years of age certainly do. So why can’t you? Are you too afraid of what you’ll learn, or what you will have to give up to succeed in your healthy living? Are you too proud of your intellect and knowledge to believe that the greatest wisdom is already naturally inside of you? Or are you just too tired and lazy to make an effort?

These are all common resistances to being truly healthy. Only the boldest and the greatest have the courage to go inside themselves and learn who they really are and what is best for them. But don’t think it can’t happen for you. Remember, your health is not just about you, it’s about everyone else around you! Your health, or lack thereof, has direct and lasting affect on your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Your ability to think, respond and perform is equal to your level of health and wellness, and in turn, to your income and financial wellness also.

Are you willing to let all that go for the sake of having that donut or hamburger? Are you comfortable risking so much of your livelihood and joy so you can sit on the couch and watch another few more episodes of Game of Thrones?

The choice is YOURS and only yours. Just remember who else the waves of your choices will touch in the end.

Here’s an alternative for you to consider to help you get accustomed to listening to your body: The next time you are faced with a choice—say to have a burrito or a salad, or to have some shots of tequila to drown the stresses of your day, or whether you should go for a walk or just stay home—pause a moment and ask yourself, “Is this best for my health?,” or “Is this for my highest good?” Most of the time you will simply have a knowing inside of you that skipping the round of drinks is more beneficial, but that won’t always be the case. Sometimes your body may really need what’s in that burrito today and eating it will actually benefit you, but don’t let your ego fool you. When you specifically ask yourself these questions, it flips your ego the finger for a moment and allows your body a brief opportunity to have a say. However, it’s up to you to choose to listen.

I’ve written a book on breath and how it raises your personal awareness and health. If you want another way to get connected to your body and it’s needs, starting with your breath is a marvelous place to begin. This book will give you all you need to know about such a simple thing, breath, which we all take for granted. Here’s where to find it:

So what are you going to do today to honor your body, and subsequently everyone around you?


Photo by Jony Ariadi on Unsplash

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