Our collective disconnection from human nature has caused systemic health challenges on our planet that we are still trying to accurately quantify. Three apparent symptoms are climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the explosion of chronic disease across the world. The latter is one that each of us can have a hand in changing right now.
While much of nature’s intricacies remain unfamiliar to us, we do know that our health is biodynamically intertwined with the natural world. However, the food we eat and the environment we live in today scarcely resembles what we evolved in for millennia. And that’s causing a major health crisis on our planet.
“One in two Americans now has a chronic disease, and one in four has multiple chronic diseases,” Chris Kresser writes in Unconventional Medicine. Chronic disease causes seven of ten deaths in the U.S. and accounts for 86 percent of healthcare expenditures.
And it’s not cheap. The U.S. spends $3.2 trillion a year on healthcare. Future estimates show chronic disease will generate $47 trillion in healthcare costs globally unless the epidemic is unchecked. But it is possible to turn this trajectory in a positive direction.
Recent studies have found that 84 percent of the risk of chronic disease is not genetic, but environmental and behavioral. “Our genes do play a role in determining which diseases we’re predisposed to developing but the choices we make about diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and other lifestyle factors are far more important determinants of our health,” Kresser writes.
We must become our own human health experts; scientists that study our physiology daily. Each of us must take responsibility for our wellbeing because that is the most effective method of achieving optimal health.
All too often we find ourselves caught up with work or the latest posts on social media, instead of focusing on how our bodies are reacting to the food we eat, our environment, and other physiological inputs. And collectively it will create meaningful and significant change in this world.
Whether you are just starting on your health journey or are an experienced triathlete, try starting each morning with a walk outside. It can be around the neighborhood, along a stream, or through a forest. But spend at least 15 minutes walking in nature with the wonderment of a child. With no agenda or finish line, listen and observe the world around you so you can start to hear where your heart wants to go and what your body needs. Become aware of how you’re feeling.
Taking a moment to yourself in the morning will lead you down a path of understanding what you need to feel alive with vitality and with dignity. We must begin to measure our lives by the quality of our existence, not by the number of accumulated birthdays.
If every person started their morning by practicing this equanimity, we would be more cooperative, more understanding, and more thoughtful throughout our day. Finally, beginning to heal our world.
Our actions have a direct impact on life around us. If we take responsibility for our wellbeing it will have an inspirational butterfly effect around the world.
This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. We have to remember that we are complicated organisms. You are the best health expert for you. Pay attention to your health. And consult a medical doctor when appropriate. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.