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Extreme Environment Is What We Need If We Want To Stay Healthy

Extreme Environment Is What We Need If We Want To Stay Healthy

If you’ve watched Man vs. Wild, you must have gasped at what Bear Gryll does in the show. Taking baths in icy rivers, eating giant worms, sleeping unprotected in the wild…

It’s really hard to imagine how life would be if we were placed in such extreme environments, isn’t it? Living in the modern society, we seldom need to confront the elements. When summer comes, we can simply turn on the air-conditioners. In the winter, we can stay in our cozy homes with the protection of heaters.

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The counter-intuitive approach to keep us healthy

While we’re counting our blessings, the American journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney puts forward a different view. In his recent book What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environment Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength, Carney suggests that apart from exercise and diet, exposure to environmental stress, like extreme high and low temperatures, is the essential third pillar to keep us healthy.

What doesn’t kills you makes you stronger

Thinking what Carney says is counter-intuitive? Then you haven’t realized the fact that human body needs occasional physical challenges to maintain its optimal state. It is the modern sedentary lifestyle creates the illusion that we can’t endure the harsh conditions shown in Man vs. Wild.

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Just as what Carney wrote in his book:

“With no challenge to overcome frontier to press, or threats to flee from, the humans of the millennium are overstuffed, overheated, and under-stimulated.”

Modern sedentary lifestyle is a sugar-coated poison

Actually, the surge of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and anxiety in this century has proven that the comfortable lifestyle we’re living is not desirable for our bodies. Degeneration comes when we consume too many processed foods and become oversensitive to trivial matters in life.

That’s why Carney advocates bringing environmental challenges back into our lives. He worked with Wim Hof, a Dutchman with the nickname of “Iceman” to conduct an experiment to see whether exposure to extremely cold environment can help bring our fitness to another level and heal us from injuries and diseases.

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Although currently there is no concrete scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of Hof’s cold exposure therapy, Carney observed from Hof’s students that withstanding extreme cold weather helps relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and Cohn’s disease.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/5824862885/in/photolist-9SHWNr-8wp5vz-uqRE4y-vMkMKW-9ZwcHm-v6hYDN-v6hQUu-ur31gr-fbbXhu-9U5yYp-vFNUW6-2u9sE-vMkVf7-wkTekj-6RMZ5Z-v7T2uh-vnS9GB-kB43N2-6cL1Gf-yajwuz-d8TvT3-8wBB1U-wm4rkb-v6hLQW-5bLwEz-5kRRTQ-wkVQWY-v88ASa-8wBBeq-kB6yvJ-wcNQTd-vkyCH5-w5pN9e-vMt1wV-5vfJZq-6Zhxv4-wCFvwr-kB65Ms-vFNKja-vMhh87-wm55wC-wBYyPs-oaeu8j-kB3XNn-eeBJEn-2u9sX-vMnjRd-pyd1Bk-4Ddjqv-4W6xtM via flickr.com

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Ricky Tang

Editor. Movie Lover. Amateur Singer.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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