Julie Nelligan PhD | Why you should ignore the latest research
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Why you should ignore the latest research

I just posted an article about living on autopilot. In that article I was encouraging you to be more thoughtful about how you live your life. I am hopeful you thought about what you are putting your effort towards and found ways of doing things a little differently.

Now I want to talk about lifestyle. Essentially lifestyle is what you do day-to-day. Are you generally focused on work? Do you make a habit of getting together with friends? Do you have a regular sleep/eat/work/play routine?

Unless you’ve eschewed all interactions with media, you’ve probably noticed our cultural obsession with health. We are fascinated by what we should eat, the symptoms of disease, what tests to get, how people manage to live to 100. Superfoods, whether to take supplements, how much to exercise, what keeps Alzheimer’s at bay. I could go on.

We may hear a report that says cinnamon will increase your ability to regulate blood sugar and think, “Maybe I should have more cinnamon.” or “Do they make cinnamon supplements?”

I want to know…so what? How does knowing that help me? Well it doesn’t really help.

That’s because when they do this kind of research they are either looking at what people do as part of their lifestyle or they are asking a what-if question to see what could be attributed to an effect they are seeing. Either way, the information they get isn’t necessarily applicable to you. Rather than trying to incorporate every little suggestion for healthier living based on the latest research finding, a¬†better strategy is to evaluate your lifestyle. Ask yourself what you could add and subtract to make yourself healthier. Start with changes that will make a big difference:

ADD: healthy food and exercise, regular checkups, adequate rest and sleep, etc.

SUBTRACT: smoking, processed sugary food, drinking too much, etc.

It’s not rocket science. The more unhealthy your current lifestyle, the bigger effect basic changes will have. You will be wasting your energy and possibly money if you chase down every little suggestion. The effects from these findings are usually small and will make little difference in the face of a lifestyle of bad and unhealthy habits.

Once you have the biggies incorporated into your lifestyle, then ask, whether it is worthwhile to follow-up on the findings of the latest report. If you do follow-up and add something to your life based on one of these reports, don’t expect to see much of a change–the effect will be small and may need years to add up to something significant.

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