When people first come across my practice – either online or in my office – they are often struck by our tagline: Think Right, Eat Right, Move Right, Live Right. I get some funny reactions from people about it:
- First off, they usually get a curious look on their faces because “Move Right” isn’t first. As a licensed chiropractor, shouldn’t that be my first priority? Trust me, I’ve had plenty of long conversations about this topic, especially among other chiropractors.
- Second, they often look puzzled that I included “Live Right.”
What does “Live Right” mean? Have I taken on a cloak of self-righteousness that presumes to dictate morality to people? Who am I to say what’s right and what’s not?
“Live Right” Isn’t What You Think
You don’t have to worry about that. I have a hard enough time keeping my own life on the straight and narrow; the last thing I’m going to do is tell you how to live your life. I’ve been through two awful divorces (which is enough to disqualify me from speaking in some churches), not to mention a list of actions I’m not at all proud of. I’m a broken man leaning on the mercy of a good God, working to build a better life.
When I talk about “living right,” I’m talking about embracing a lifestyle of wellness. I really want to unpack this because there are so many misunderstandings about it.
Wellness isn’t just eating salads and doing yoga. That’s such a limited view. It really encompasses so much more: getting enough sleep, drinking enough clean water, visits to the restroom, and all the forms of stress in our lives.
A Holistic View of Wellness
A more holistic view of wellness goes beyond your physical and emotional realms to include your spiritual wellness, financial wellness, relationship wellness, social wellness, career wellness, environmental wellness, and other aspects of life.
With all these different facets to wellness (and how they all relate to each other), I like to think of wellness as a dashboard, but not the dashboard of a car. I’m thinking of the dashboard of a Boeing 747. If you’ve ever looked into the cockpit of a jet, there are hundreds of controls, meters, and gauges that monitor and adjust the operation of the plane.
The same is true of your health. You can be low on magnesium and high in iron, or vice versa, and both affect the operation of your body. If you live in a building full of mold, it can mess up your breathing, but it can also mess up your ability to concentrate, which can hurt your career wellness. Do you see how these are all interrelated?
Stress Affects Everything
If there’s one health issue that trumps them all, it might be how you manage stress. You can do everything else right, but if you don’t manage your stress, it can make all your best efforts fail. And because it’s part emotion and part chemistry, it can be sneaky.
I recently spoke in front of a group of 150 county employees – the largest group I have ever spoken to. Want to guess if I was nervous?? (Full disclosure: I get nervous taping Move Right Monday videos, and that’s a private setting between you and me). How did that nervous feeling manifest? My stomach was all knotted up like I might vomit. So right there, I have evidence that my physical sense of wellness is connected to my emotions. If you’ve ever been called into a meeting with an angry coworker, you know that feeling. Your emotions and digestion are linked.
My Secret To Stress Management
Here’s my secret to managing the feelings of stress: if you retrain your brain to translate those signals as “excitement” instead of “fear,” you can ride the wave of adrenaline instead of being run over by it.
All Your Wellnesses Are Linked To Each Other
If you’ve ever dealt with depression, you know that it impacts the way your body feels. And at the same time, imbalances in your physical body (e.g., deficiencies of Vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutrients, which are typical in vegans) can contribute to feelings of depression. Depression is more than feelings and more than chemical imbalances. In fact, I believe there is a spiritual component to it, as well as a nutritional component.
So when I talk about the “Live Right” aspect of my practice, I’m taking a broad, holistic view of wellness that covers every area of your life. It’s counterproductive to treat symptoms in one part of your life without dealing with the root causes in another part. That’s probably my biggest disagreement with modern medicine: they treat symptoms with chemicals instead of identifying and addressing root causes.
The Power of A Complete Perspective
That’s one of the reasons that I am such a vocal advocate for the Blue Zones Project. In a study of regions around the world where large numbers of people lived to be more than 100 years old, a research team from the National Geographic Society identified nine attributes that all these regions shared, regardless of ethnic, social, or language differences. They weren’t just dietary considerations; they included social, aspects, movement, faith, and more.
That is a more holistic way of viewing life than just treating spinal subluxation or diet, and I believe it yields better results overall.
How To “Live Right”
Ultimately, “living right” comes down to taking an active role in managing your whole wellness, which has been the theme of my last few articles. If I have one core purpose as a healthcare professional, it’s to give you the keys to your own wellness and the knowledge to maintain it yourself for a lifetime.
I mean, I like you, but I don’t want you to be dependent on my ability to care for you for your whole life. Some doctors do. I would rather set you free.
Join Us For Dinner Next Thursday
Next week, we’re starting a brand new season of Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinners, and we are really excited about it. If you’ve never been to one, you need to come to the first one on October 10. Every month, we discuss a different aspect of wellness, enjoy a great meal together, and make new friends. It started out with just a few of my patients, but now we are getting ready to outgrow my little practice behind the YMCA. People are learning to take control of their own wellness, they are making friends, and discovering some great food. Sometimes I bring in a guest, like my friend, Dr. Romero, who is an expert in treating the whole person, but I like to have the opportunity to speak into people’s lives.
I hope you’ll join us. Our office is right behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road in Naples. But be sure to RSVP on our Facebook page. Bring a dish to share or $10 cash. We’ll meet at 6:15 p.m. If we continue growing at last year’s pace, we’ll be looking for a new place to hold it soon. And that’s a really good problem to have. It means more and more people are taking responsibility for their own wellness.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas