Lifelong Learners Live Better

When something comes up in my world, I rarely think, Okay, so this is happening now. Let’s see what happens next. Nope, I want to know more. I want to have an idea of what to expect and try to outsmart it, if only a little bit. Of course, many things in life cannot be outsmarted, but thinking about my options can, at the very least, make me feel better.

Many years ago, I discovered that my thyroid doesn’t work to its full potential. Once I got on some natural thyroid support and felt more like myself, I was compelled to dig deeper. That’s when I discovered how important my thyroid is, and how much control it has over the things my body needs to accomplish each day. When that little bugger is out of whack, it wants you to know!

Some time later, I recognized that my posture was a bit slouchy more often than not, so I decided to find out why our parents are always telling us to stand up straight. I was fascinated to learn that in addition to giving us a sloppy appearance, poor posture also impacts our cardiovascular and digestive health. Seriously, I had no idea.

One of my automatic responses to receiving news—good or bad—from someone I care about is to give them a hug. Actually, even if they don’t have any news to share, I still want to greet them with a hug. Growing up, my family was the same, and I’ve gladly carried on that tradition. So I decided to learn why hugs make me feel good. Imagine my delight when I discovered that hugs can truly improve the health of both the giver and the receiver. They not only lower blood pressure, but they can also increase levels of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) and reduce levels of cortisol (the stressed-out hormone). Giving and getting hugs saves lives, my friends.

Now, it’s not just my curiosity about my own health that sends me into my lifelong learner mode. When someone I adore confides in me about an issue they’re dealing with, I go in search of information that will hopefully ease their minds. As it often turns out, gaining a better understanding often eases my own mind as well.

When a lifelong friend told me about his diagnosis for pancreatic cancer, one of my first steps was to take a refresher course on the pancreas. Of course, my research couldn’t change his diagnosis or even extend my friend’s life, but I somehow felt comforted in learning what may have led to the cancer and what it was putting his body through.

I’ve also listened to many of my female friends expressing frustration over not being able to lose weight as easily as the men in their lives. I knew there had to be a biological explanation for why losing weight is harder for women than men, and learning why put it all into perspective. The bodies of men and women evolved with very different purposes—and they’re designed to fulfill these purposes at all costs. Unfortunately, one of those costs is that some of use women must hold onto a few extra pounds that we don’t think we want.

Another topic that has led me down all sorts of rabbit holes is learning what it means to live in a house full of boys and men—especially when it comes to all of the mysterious phases of boy-ness. Here are some things I’ve discovered:

All of this is just a small sample of the self-health discoveries I’ve learned over the years. Selene River Press has wrapped up a bunch of these discoveries in Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, the premiere issue of their beautiful Trophia magazine. One of my goals in putting this collection together was so that others could benefit from my experience of easing into a healthier lifestyle.

It’s important to be a lifelong learner. Around these parts, we call it being a self-healther, and since you’re reading this you’ve probably started down the self-health path. Well done, my friend! Cultivating curiosity about your health and the health of the people in your life is truly empowering. It helps you take control of what you can control and helps ease your mind about what to expect.

My next research topic is menopause. In a couple of months, I’ll turn 51, and the signs of its inevitable arrival are showing up, people. I’ve been seeking out reliable and informative resources on the topic, but so far I haven’t found much information that appeals to me beyond some blurbs in a couple of the books in my self-health library and a 20-minute podcast that touches on a few of the main aspects.

I’m fairly certain there’s more to menopause than that. So if you happen to be familiar with a comprehensive resource that just might help this self-healther partially outsmart the next phase in her health, I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Here’s to the empowerment being a lifelong learner gives us!

Images from iStock/metamorworks (main), jacoblund (post). 

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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holistic nutrition | self-health

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