The Meaning of Life, Nature, and Personal Defense
Thoughts to Ponder:
The meaning of life is that it stops.
~ Franz Kafka
Get busy living, or get busy dying as they say. Your purpose is your responsibility. If you’re waiting to be told what to do, you may be sorely disappointed with how things turn out. A major problem in western societies, at least from my perspective in the US, is our medical obsession with adding years to our life. However, our children’s generation (Z) is actually predicated to have a shorter lifespan than Millennials. This is a double whammy considering that our “health span” or the amount of “life in our years” has been rapidly declining for at least two generations. I’m equally perturbed by the “YOLO” crowd — they’re wrong. We only die once. We live every day.
Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.
~ Alan Watts
While we’re living every day, we might as well be awake for it. Regardless of one’s political leanings it isn’t any secret that it’d do us all some good to chuck our phones in a closet, turn off the TV, and spend more time playing in the sun with and sharing meals with our families and communities — you know real live face-to-face people. If you had an extremely “productive” career and hated every minute of that, what kind of trajectory does that set you on for the next 20 years? Do you really want to wait until you’re 60 and retire to start living the life you want?
Things I’m Reading:
“Results from experimental studies provide evidence of protective effects of exposure to natural environments on mental health outcomes and cognitive function. Cross-sectional observational studies provide evidence of positive associations between nature exposure and increased levels of physical activity and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and longitudinal observational studies are beginning to assess long-term effects of nature exposure on depression, anxiety, cognitive function, and chronic disease.” I’ve made a few similar posts in the past, but this is very interesting particularly when we get to the “limitations” of the study. It is true, that there may be difficulty in measuring “how exposed one was to nature”; but if we’re questioning the “quality” of said nature exposure that implies that even artificial replications or exhibits (think Central Park amid the Manhattan skyscrapers) can have significant effect on mental and physical health (as noted above).
“Adults with low levels of childhood NOE (Natural Outdoor Environments) exposure had, when compared to adults with high levels of childhood NOE exposure, significantly worse mental health.” This 2019 study also noted that there were no associations with “vitality.” It’s important to note here that in this study we’re talking about correlational data as well — meaning there may be factors we’re not able to account for (e.g. potential causes). For example, if one’s mental health suffers, it is highly likely that they will exhibit poorer physical outcomes as well — the reverse is also true. But, let’s not ignore the compound effect here. The amount of outdoor exposure your children are getting in childhood impacts their mental health in adulthood — regardless of how much exposure they obtain in adulthood (as we see above).
Resources to Thrive:
- Cronometer: I’ve had mixed opinions about meal / fitness tracking software in the past, though when I do use them, say for a particular experiment, Cronometer has been my go to. I feel like offers the most in-depth analysis and still has a clean interface. Myself, I use the paid version namely so that I can add custom (not pre-poulated) biometrics and have all my labs in one place right along side my nutrition trends. The free version is still very good, and should you choose to upgrade I scored us a 10% discount (use link above).
- I recently joined Tony Blauer’s garage gym program in preparation for his Personal Defense Readiness (train the trainers) program. I’ll be working with our local BJJ gym to provide self-defense classes that reach well beyond the physical components (heavy emphasis on psychological, situational, and self awareness).