The Most Common Mistakes We Make
We tend to believe that the most common health mistakes we make are things like not taking enough vitamin C and needing to get more exercise, but that’s not going deep enough. Supplements and exercise are important, but the most common mistakes aren’t what you’d imagine. Let’s have a look.
1. Not Paying Attention To What Our Lives Are Telling Us
We all make mistakes, and when it comes to our health, we begin making them as soon as we wake up. Really? Uh huh. The first mistake we make is having become so used to our aches and pains, the additional weight we’re carrying around, the tiredness, the trudging off to another less than fulfilling day…and we mistakenly accept that this is part of life, never realizing that we could be experiencing a happier, healthier life.
Accepting the things we accept as being “just part of life” is one of the biggest mistakes we make. Learning to accept and make peace with stressful life events is one kind of acceptance, but becoming too comfortable with aches and pains, fatigue, poor sleep, irritability and so forth is really a form of denial, of not paying attention to our lives and listening to what they’re telling us.
2. Believing That It’s Not That Big Of A Deal
Sometimes we truly don’t know that our health issues are pointing to impending catastrophe. Sometimes we do our best to ignore our health issues, and things get out of hand. If you know you have health issues, don’t fall into the trap of believing that it’s no big deal. Dealing with small to medium-sized issues is worlds apart from trying to turn your health around once things get out of control. Humans are amazingly resilient, but once health gets too far out of control, regaining it isn’t always possible.
3. Continuing To Do The Same Things That Haven’t Worked
It’s pretty simple, but it can be hard to come to terms with: if our health isn’t getting and staying better, the things we’re doing aren’t working, and it’s time for a change. Changing our lives begins by changing our minds, by opening up to doing things differently. If it’s not working, let it go and figure out what does work.
4. Trying To Make Problems Go Away Without Addressing Root Causes
Buying a bigger bottle of aspirin to deal with worsening headaches is a classic example of trying to make a problem go away without addressing the underlying causes. It’s like putting a piece of tape over the warning light on your dashboard that’s telling you there’s a problem with your engine. Masking the underlying causes by trying to numb our symptoms is a crazy idea, but that’s a major focus of both conventional and alternative health practitioners. Allopaths use drugs to accomplish the job, while naturopaths and chiropractors commonly use herbs or adjustments for the same purpose. It’s not wrong, but it’s also not going deep enough and addressing the root causes.
5. Not Making The Connection Between Stress And Health Problems
What’s the most damaging of all? Stress. Why do we continue to live stressful lives? We’re too stressed to see different options. What does stress lead to? More stress. What’s the way out of stress? Changing our minds, shifting our values and opening to different possibilities. No amount of supplements or exercise will ever overcome the disastrous affects of stress. A mind filled with stress sees a stressful world, a stressful existence, and cannot see peaceful options. One of the biggest mistakes we make is accepting that high levels of stress are normal, and the granddaddy of mistakes is to learn to tolerate even more of what will only destroy your health in the end.
6. Not Making The Connection Between Mind And Body
Just as we get so used to stress that we don’t recognize how destructive it is, we get so used to compartmentalizing our psychological and physical selves that we don’t always see how powerfully they influence each other. They’re inseparable—they’re the same thing. Thoughts, emotions and physiology are the same thing, and to affect one is to affect the others.
Another way of stating this same point is focusing exclusively on our physical health and ignoring our psychological well-being. We’re not just bodies. We’re thoughts and emotions, we’re spiritual beings and we happen to have bodies as well. Bodies are temporary. They’re amazing, they’re a lot of work, they’re maddening at times, they’re incredible, they’re…bodies. And for all the things they are and for as much time and energy as we invest in them, we’re so much more than bodies. And while we’re firmly identified as bodies, it’s necessary to recognize the other things that comprise our existence, and give them just as much care and nurturing as our physical selves.
One of the commonest tricks we play is to compare ourselves to others and imagine that we’re doing at least as good as they are, if not better. We say things like, “I’m healthier than everyone I know who’s around my age,” or, “I may need to lose a few pounds, but I’m as healthy as a horse.” Then there’s the ever-popular: “I’m doing pretty good for 50,” or whatever the age may be.
Comparing ourselves to others who’re less healthy than we are and deducing that we don’t need to make any improvements is hardly the standard we ought to be setting for ourselves. Minimizing our health issues and lapsing into denial is never a good strategy. And who knows how healthy that horse actually is?
I know. I’ve said these things, too. And it wasn’t until I felt better at 51 than I did at 30 that I got the reframe I needed. I’ll be honest: I felt like crap turning 50, and felt incredible turning 51. Comparing yourself to others is always false, but when you compare how you’re feeling now to how you felt a year ago and you’re smiling because you’re feeling so much improvement…that’s when you know you’re onto something powerful.
8. Doing What Everyone Else Does
If you do what everyone else does, you’ll end up with the same issues that everyone else has. This can be tricky, however, because just doing all sorts of weird things that no one else does isn’t necessarily a good idea. Be discerning. Believing what others believe and doing what others do is what I call the status quo. The status quo is playing follow the leader, only it doesn’t know who’s leading or where it’s leading to.
Rather than following the status quo to the same outcomes that this world is experiencing, open to new possibilities and find different solutions. There are more creative (and helpful) ways to become and remain healthy, even though they’re not what everyone else is up to. Don’t play follow the leader, but make sure you’re basing what you’re doing on solid advice.
9. Waiting Till It’s Too Late
If I saw this in practice once, I saw it a thousand times: people minimize their health issues until they develop problems too big to be effectively dealt with, and then they decide to take action. This creates enormous problems! Not taking action until your health issues become a major crisis leaves you teetering on the brink of instability.
When you’re teetering on the brink, small adjustments that would have been effective in the past may no longer have positive effects. Once things get too far out of balance, returning your system to balance becomes anything but a straightforward process. Once things have been allowed to get out of hand, it takes 10 times the energy and 10 times longer to reestablish your health. Don’t wait to make changes if you already know that there are changes to make.
10. Believing You’re Outside The Box When You’re Still Inside It
All the above mistakes are psychological mistakes: scroll up and you’ll notice that none of the above points have anything to do with diet, exercise or supplements. The mistakes we make are the games we play in our minds. Working with clients for a few decades taught me well that the biggest challenges we face exist between our ears. Once we open our minds to really seeing things differently, our lives and health can begin to magically fall into place—but not a moment before.
It’s only after we get our minds sorted out that we’re able to reap the benefits of things like diet, supplements, exercise and so forth. Why? If taking a handful of supplements is all that’s required to change our lives, the $37 billion Americans spend on them each year would have wiped out our health issues by now. The billions we spend out of pocket on complementary and alternative medicine would have turned things around. The truth of the matter is that we spend huge sums on supplements and CAM, but we’re becoming sicker than ever at the same time. Don’t give up on these things—they’re necessary—but relying on them without first getting outside the box is putting the cart before the horse.
I promise you that it’s not about supplements, and it’s not about exercise! These are common myths, and believing them is to remain locked inside the common box, which leads to all the common health issues that plague western societies. Some of the least healthy people I’ve worked with are those who’re hardcore exercisers. It takes one to know one: I too used to abuse myself in the name of “fun” activities like ultra-distance marathons, grueling mountain bike rides, triathlons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Exercise is important, but it’s easier than not to turn it into just one more way to completely stress your mind and body to the breaking point.
11. What To Do?
In all seriousness, I’d suggest looking over the above 10 points and taking an inventory of your life and health. Then ask yourself these questions:
- Am I overlooking what my life is trying to tell me?
- Do I enjoy my life? If not, then why do I keep doing the same things?
- Am I minimizing my health issues?
- Am I waiting until XYZ happens to make changes?
- Do I continue to do a lot of things that aren’t actually helping?
- Am I just keeping symptoms at bay or am I addressing their root causes?
- How stressed out am I? Am I sure I’m not stressed?
- Do I realize how my thoughts and feelings impact my physical health?
- Am I comparing to others and downplaying my issues?
- Am I inside the box and only imagining I’m making the right decisions?
- Am I playing follow the leader to unknown health destinations?
12. Make Sure You’re Making The Best Decisions For You Physical Health
After you’ve had a look at the non-physical elements of your life, attend to the physical plane of existence. And choose wisely! There’s an incredible amount of information about what to eat and what to avoid…and a lot of it is misinformation. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, don’t follow your tastebuds, don’t follow governmental guidelines. Follow what your dietary choices do to leptin and insulin, to your blood sugar, to your thyroid physiology and gut health, to pancreatic and liver function, to neurotransmitter production, to inflammation and depression. Don’t follow the leader down the path that leads to developing all the same health issues that darn near everyone else is developing.
Making the right decisions for the physical plane is more than I could explain in 5,000 words. My initial consultation is 8 hours and the initial set of notes exceeds 50 pages. There’s a lot to know about how to take care of your physical vessel. If you’re dealing with health issues, or if you’d like to talk with me about the healing blueprint, send me an email at email@example.com