Becoming Anti-Fragile (Part 1)
First, allow me to define anti-fragile. Because, despite the popularity of this term it has no actual definition. So, let’s look at it this way.
In order to become anti-fragile complex systems benefit from certain stressors. They need to be exposed to volatility, heat, cold, bacteria, viruses, stress, exercise to thrive and grow. Each of us is and lives inside our own complex system. It is hard to imagine the complexity of the human body and psyche. Think about all the stuff you don’t have to think about, your heart beat, breathing, processing of food, detoxification, temperature control, dilation of pupils, fluid balances, infection control, bone mineralization, muscle coordination by now I am sure you get the point. It’s not just one system, but multiple systems, one layered on top of the other.
As if that is not enough complexity, all of these systems are then informing and communicating to each other as well as to our psyche, or belief systems, on what is going on in and around us.
Resilient or robust are good ways to go through life, but anti-fragile is a step up. It’s not just surviving its about adopting and becoming stronger. An anti-fragile system gets stronger!
Think about why we exercise. It is not natural, we do it so the stress of the exercise will make us stronger.
Here is an example. A few years ago, news came out about bridge collapse and how bad some U.S. roads were. The bridge did collapse, but it triggered inspections and repair of the rest of the other bridges in the country. This means a fragile part of a system broke but it made other bridges (the rest of the system) stronger because we learned why the one failed.
Multiple systems working in coherence create the anti-fragile state. As with infections, the weakest cells collapse or die and the body builds new strong cells. This means because of the stress (infection) the weaker cells began to fail and the immune system learned to generate stronger cells or anti-bodies which can handle the next attack. But if the body is under high levels of stress, cortisol is being released in higher than normal amounts. This increase in cortisol leads to a decrease in IgA. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody blood protein that’s part of your immune system. Your body makes IgA and other type of antibodies to help fight off sickness. …IgA is found in mucous membranes, mainly in the respiratory and digestive tracts.
How we can become anti-fragile.
First we must identify any weak components. We might have a system which could be running well, some might say robust, but it is not anti-fragile. Fragile systems work well until there is an attack to its normal operations. Such as volatility, heat, cold, bacteria, viruses, stress or bad food.
This is why it is so important to be proactive in identifying the weak components. There is an example of this going on in our lives right now. Up untill recently we had a robust economy and healthcare system. As I write this in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, both of these systems are under attack. Most likely in the U.S., the economy and healthcare systems will not fail. The question remains as to the ability to just survive or will we learn, grow and thrive from this. As a country when this is behind us, I believe the U.S. will learn, adopt and be stronger because of this. Where will you be as an individual? Are you okay with just surviving? Or, would you prefer to be anti-fragile?
Getting your Genomics translated is the most foundational way to find your individualized susceptibilities. All the information your ancestors have passed on to you is encoded in this blueprint. With the development of Epigenetics, we have learned how chemicals and factors we come into contact with through our environment, our diet, and our daily choices can affect the expression of our genes. This signals a gene to be active or silent, switched on or off.
This in turn as lead to Nutrigenetics. Which is the scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, especially with regard to the prevention or treatment of disease. If we know our blueprint we can then make more informed choices as to what nutrients our systems need to function at optimal levels and be ready to mount a response against any attack.
Create Responsive, NOT Reactive Systems
Our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is the control center for all of our bodily functions that are occurring every second. Almost all of the systems listed above are under control of the ANS. Most people do not realize that we have much more control of the control center than previously believed.
(We live in an era of reactive systems. Reaction: an action performed or a feeling experienced due to a situation or event. Usually reactions are unintentional and poorly thought out. Leading to further down stream consequences. Response on the other hand is pragmatic, well thought out and takes all possible scenarios into consideration prior to action.)
Scientists and researchers at the HeartMath Institute have been conducting testing and training of heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a physiological phenomenon that measures environmental and physiological challenges as reflected by the variations of the Heart’s beat-to-beat intervals. Among its uses, HRV can measure the flexibility of our heart and nervous system (which reflects our health and fitness), as well as how well we are balancing our mental and emotional lives.
When our HRV is in a heart-coherent pattern it reflects increased synchronization of both branches of the ANS (parasympathetic and sympathetic branches), as well as, the activity of our higher level brain centers, leading to better decision making, mental clarity and composure in high-stress situations. That is why this is taught to our military and law-enforcement, athletes and high-functioning individuals.
When we perform HRV training we synchronize the control center, This is how we take control of our emotional state and reduce cortisol levels and further increasing IgA. An interesting finding with HRV and the thymus gland has also been discovered. The thymus gland plays a key role in our immune system by promoting T cells. T cells defend our bodies from bacteria and viruses. When we activate the heart center with positive energy and activate the parasympathetic nervous system for growth and repair the thymus gland becomes more active as well. Understanding how we can synchronize multiple complex systems is how we can become anti-fragile.
The one thing we ALL have to do… SLEEP
We all sleep, but the quality and quantity of sleep is generally ignored. I am going to start with all things that start to go wrong when we are not getting enough quality sleep. What can happen when we fix our sleep and some tips on how to improve your sleep without drugs.
Poor sleep leads to:
The good stuff:
Tips to improve sleep:
All of the above tips on sleep are lifestyle related and 100% modifiable. Unless you are a night shift worker there is no excuse why you would not be able to put most, if not all, of these into practice. Alcohol and sleep medications may put you to sleep but they in fact destroy our normal sleep patterns. There are, however, some supplement combinations that help our bodies get back into a natural rhythm. I will have more on these on an upcoming post.
I highly recommend getting your genetic profile interpreted for you by a professional. This blueprint should include at minimum your nutrition, supplementation and circadian propensities. Certain reports can also give you insight into your bodies ability to produce and breakdown hormones, detoxify the chemicals and pollutants we come in to contact with every day. Click here to see a SAMPLE REPORT, so you can see what one of these reports looks like.
HRV and cardiac coherence will require a bit of technology that is worth every penny. Apps are available for android and apple devices. One such app is heartrate+. With all the research that the Heartmath Institute has performed, I believe their device, the Emwave, is the best option.
Synchronizing your circadian clock should also be at that top of your list. Please refer back to the tips above. Your future self will be thankful you took these steps.
If you have any questions on how to further improve and align your systems to reach a state of limitless potential and become anti-fragile please email me. I have also set aside time for calls. If you prefer to set up a time to chat at no cost to you, here is my schedule, find a time that is convenient for you and choose the find out more option. You can also find LiveHealthstrong on Facebook and Instragram.
Over the coming days, I will be adding additional layers and systems so you can add them in to your lifestyle on your quest to become anti-fragile. When you sign up for my email list you will automatically be updated whenever a new blog post is up. I also occasionally send exclusive content to my readers through email, so make sure to sign up.
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