In their 2015 book Super Genes, authors Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi talk about how to shift behaviors to create a healthier lifestyle for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. They address the specific categories of Diet, Stress, Exercise, Meditation, Sleep, and Emotions.
One of many things I really appreciated from this book was their strategy of choosing the level of challenge when seeking to change behavior. They offer suggestions for “easy choices,” “harder choices,” and “experimental choices.” Since reading this book in the fall, I have found myself making easy choices that were incorporated into my habit patterns within a week. Other new choices took a few weeks, if not months, to become consistent. But I can honestly say that as I continue to challenge myself, I feel more grounded, more energetic, and generally happier. I started by committing to 8 hours of sleep, then to drinking more water, next to consistently taking my vitamins and practicing meditation each morning, and now to moving my body each day, whether through formal exercise, walking my dogs, biking to work, or seasonal play outdoors.
This is a time of year when New Year’s resolutions can take hold. I encourage you not to grasp hard for something new, but instead lovingly invite new habits slowly and gradually into your everyday world. Start with something that feels so easy, it might feel like cheating.
It can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal, drinking ample water, or moving once an hour. If this idea of exploring “the easy choice” inspires you, click on this link to look into the book further.
These lifestyle choices do much to affect our aging at the cellular level. We all inherit our genetic makeup, but that doesn’t mean that all our genetic predispositions have to fully express themselves. The field of medicine called “epigenetics” is routinely uncovering how our lifestyle factors affect the underlying expression of our genes. We have learned how our diet, stress, toxic exposure, belief systems, minds, and daily environments affect the genetic expression. Think of it like this: the less stress you are under in all these areas, the more buffered your genes are. Then when it comes time for your genes to repair and make copies, they have full capacity to put energy into that activity. Your genes can do their job stress-free. To measure aging, science looks at telomere (the end of a chromosome of your DNA). Scientists hypothesize that the shorter your telomere, the more quickly you are aging or showing signs of aging. Telomeres have been shown in some studies to lengthen or repair themselves when stress-reducing practices are routinely followed. Sounds like you can reverse aging!
Change does not need to be hard. Go for the easy choice, enjoy the reward, and notice the gradual but significant shift this will bring to your everyday life.