Written by: Marina Gross, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
As human beings, we are built for purposeful and natural movement, connection with nature, and healthy nutrition. We are wired for joy and connection with one another. We thrive on good quality sleep, a moderate pace of life, and living in tune with our biological needs. All simple, natural inputs which are essential pillars for a thriving mental and physical health and well-being.
Instead, nowadays, many of us lead a lifestyle of sleep deprivation, little to lack of movement, poor food choices, (over) consumption of technology, fast everyday pace, little contact with nature, and little connection with ourselves and each other.
In the hustle and bustle of today's fast-paced world, simple health practices often take a back seat to convenience, stress, and quick fixes. The demands of modern life can make it challenging to prioritize fundamental aspects of well-being, while our lifestyle and modern environment do not always advocate for and nudge towards healthy choices.
So while the key to a thriving well-being is simple, it does not always mean that is it always easy to do. Let us explore a few reasons why and most importantly – how by understanding the challenges we face on our quest towards better health and well-being and actively working to overcome them, we can cultivate a healthier and more sustainable approach to life, ultimately reaping the long-term benefits of a well-rounded well-being.
Inside a modern hamster wheel
The relentless pace of modern life brings about unprecedented levels of stress and time constraints. Juggling work, family, and social commitments leaves us little time for self-care, mindfulness, and calm. As stress levels rise, many of us find it challenging to prioritize activities like spending time in nature, engaging in regular exercise, or preparing nutritious meals, even though these are practices and habits especially needed to help us balance and cope with stressful times.
This oftentimes leads to increased convenience cravings, and in an era where convenience is king, it is no surprise that simple health practices often face tough competition. Fast food, processed snacks, and sedentary lifestyles have become the norm due to their accessibility and time-saving nature.
On top of that, technological advancements have revolutionized the way we live and work throughout the past couple of decades, although they also contribute to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. The prevalence of screens, whether for work or leisure, often leads to prolonged periods of inactivity, and the shift from manual to sedentary jobs, coupled with the allure of digital entertainment, makes it difficult for many of us to incorporate sustainable movement into our daily routines.
Additionally, in our modern performance and efficiency culture, the quest for productivity, achievement, and progress often overshadows the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and living in tune with our basic biological needs.
And while all of the above rapidly and surely become our new norm, facts remain facts: our brain has not evolved much in many hundreds of thousands of years, compared to how much the world we live in has evolved, especially in the last 50 years, just as our body is not adapted to our modern way of living, as this was not our lifestyle for the majority of our overall time on planet Earth which creates a huge mismatch between our brain and body, and the society we live in.
Up against our own nature
Although, we are evolutionary programmed to thrive on natural health inputs and live in tune with our simple biological needs – movement, nature, connection, nutritious foods, sleep, and more – we are also evolutionary equipped with instincts and inner machinery which number one job is to make sure that we stay safe and stay alive.
It so happens that we instinctively gravitate towards (often processed and carefully created by the convenience food industry) foods high in fat and sugar, as these nutrients (in their natural form) gave us energy and validation that something was not poisonous for us back in the olden days when we lived on the savanna. Also, we are evolutionarily wired to conceive energy (originally after long days of hunting for food), which means that if movement is not either necessary or fun, we simply will not do it. Our body and mind are wired to react as soon as our brain detects something “dangerous” by releasing stress hormones into our blood streams, getting ready to instantly mobilize us out of a “threatening” situation – which is how our body and mind still respond to modern day’s onslaught of noise, traffic, notifications, and high everyday stress levels that many of us experience more and more.
Just as no one has ever written a book on “how to worry more”, “how to be less grateful”, “how to talk more critically to ourselves”, or even “how to compare yourself more to other people”, and that is because our brain is evolutionarily programmed to help us stay alert to survive. However, while our default settings of worrying, being inclined towards negativity, and comparing ourselves to others were originally meant to motivate us to become stronger, faster, and smarter in order not to fall behind the tribe and put ourselves in a life-threatening situation, nowadays these defaults are triggered by never-ending and constant external stimuli.
Meaning, that in combination with the modern world and the fast-paced lifestyle that we have created over the past few decades, it does require some effort from us to take care of our body and mind and make healthy habits an integral part of our lifestyle.
The simple quick-fix culture
The desire for instant gratification has given rise to the popularity of quick fixes. And for many of us, the aim to create better and healthier habits, improve our health, and elevate our well-being has become a chase for a new quick-fix: a diet, a supplement, a workout plan, a shortcut, a mindset of “if I do this one thing, it is going to solve my issues”.
Promises of rapid weight loss or immediate health benefits from commercials, products, and offerings often boost our impatience for quick results and overshadow the importance of sustainable, long-lasting, and non-the-least holistic approaches to well-being, all while the allure of shortcuts often divert and distract us from the path of adopting long-term, simple health practices that have been proven to work by time and research.
However, the truth is once again simple: there is no quick-fix to health and well-being. It is the things that we do every day, day in and day out, for months, years and decades that dictate and shape the state and quality of our mental and physical health and well-being.
The transformative power of little right actions
In a world that values speed, convenience, and instant results, maintaining simple health practices may seem like an uphill battle. Balancing the demands of a fast-paced lifestyle with the fundamental elements of health — nature, movement, sleep, and nutrition — requires a conscious effort to prioritize self-care. However, recognizing the importance of these practices (well, to make a long story short: our health is simply our wealth) is crucial for our overall mental and physical well-being, and the quality of our everyday life, both now and long-term.
So let us practice getting more in tune with our natural and simple, biological needs, meet ourselves where we are, and take one little step in the right direction. Then another one. And before we know it, it will create a ripple effect in our life, inspiring and motivating us to keep going. That is the transformative power of daily little right actions, even the tiniest ones, that lovingly nudge us to take good care of our body and mind. A cup of water, a nutritious meal, a walk outside, a moment of peace and calm, a good night’s sleep, a moment of connection with a loved one.
None of these actions are radical changes, time-consuming commitments, or perhaps even instant significant shifts. However, when we feel less stress and more joy around positive actions, we are more likely to succeed in making them a solid part of our lives. And when practiced and prioritized day in and day out, over time it is exactly these little right actions that accumulate into a lifetime of health and true well-being that make life worth living, all while helping us come alive.
So what is one little right action you can start taking for your mind, one for your body and one for your soul starting today? Do not overcomplicate it. Just start. Because, I bet that you already know what to do.
Marina Gross, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Marina Gross is a Holistic Health Coach and mental health advocate, who specializes in stress management and holistic well-being. In a world, where mental health is continuously declining and many experience stress, anxiety and burnout, it is Marina's passion and mission to make mindful health accessible and attainable for all. She is the founder of Inspired Change Co, the online holistic wellness and health coaching platform, and her work is purposed to inspire, educate and empower readers and clients to make their health a daily priority and cultivate a nourishing life that feels good inside and out.