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We all know the signs: stressed, tired, time-poor, irritable, low motivation, loss of concentration, and generally feeling off. Suffering “21st century syndrome” is certainly not uncommon, but it doesn’t mean it has to be put up with. Here’s to understanding our modern day lifestyle and what to do about it threatening our happiness and our health.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, said:
“Man – Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
In Oriental Medicine, we talk about the terms ‘Prenatal Qi’ and ‘Postnatal Qi’.
Prenatal qi refers to the energy sources we inherited from our parents, through our genes, and which resides deep down in our adrenal reserves. Postnatal qi refers to the energy derived from our environment, including air, food, and sleep, which allows our organs to function and our bodies to perform at their highest potential.
We should all be living off our postnatal qi- the energy we obtain from the environment- but instead, too many of us in this modern world live off our prenatal qi – that non-renewable adrenal energy source of which there is only a set level in reserve for all of our lives.
This happens when we skip breakfast and have a coffee instead, or when don’t get adequate and quality sleep at night, or when our diet is erratic and filled with refined, processed, starchy, sugary and unwholesome products, or when we aren’t exercising and allowing fresh oxygen and blood to flood our muscles and organs. We begin to use our adrenal energy sources when we are tired, irritated and feeling out of balance but use stimulants – coffee, tea, sugar and junk food to keep ourselves going so that we can continue to juggle the hectic pressures of modern living.
When the adrenal reserves dwindle, so too does our health, and we start experiencing a whole range of ailments including fatigue, stress and anxiety disorders, insomnia, aches and pains, depression, irritability, digestive disorders, immune dysfunctions, fertility problems in both men and women; the list goes on and on.
The longer we live on our prenatal qi reserves, the more serious, debilitating and complex the diseases are that develop, often leading us to a life of prescription drug cocktails, hospital visits, and even surgery.
So, while we may not be able to stop the hectic and demanding schedule of our modern lives, we can take measures to counteract the damaging effects it causes to our health. We can minimize the amount of adrenal reserves we use in our daily lives by making small lifestyle changes, and taking the time-out needed to replenish our system.
Eating a wholesome diet, supplementing nutritionally (many foods these days are deprived of high nutrient content due to soil quality and manufacturing processes), and incorporating regular treatments such as massage and/or acupuncture into your schedule should be done because it’s needed for your health and well-being – a kind-of mandatory 21st century survival guide- and not because it’s a “treat”.
Of course, if you are already experiencing health problems, it’s important to discover the cause of the symptoms and address them sooner rather than later. At Paddington Clinic, we use a variety of testing processes to get to the bottom of your particular health problem. If you have a health concern, it’s best to start with an initial Wellness Assessment which tests many different aspects of your health such as food intolerance, nutritional status, immune dysfunction, bowel toxicity, liver health and body acidity.
Achieving health, wellness and boundless energy is a multi-faceted process. The goal is to create a sustainable environment within the body so it can generate its own energy renewal and healing, rather than wearing out the limited and precious adrenal reserves you have and leading you down the path of physical, mental and long-term health breakdown.
Finding balance in our lives has never been so important, because after all, isn’t health the truest of wealth?
The short story that follows is a reminder for us all to slow down, find balance and re-assess our priorities.
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman smiled.