Homo sapiens have been around for upwards of 200,000 years and our bodies have evolved to deal with conditions far different than we experience in today’s life.
For about 95% of our species’ existence we have had:
- Far more SLEEP. We were diurnal, going to bed at sundown, awakening at sunrise.
- A more natural and varied DIET. We had to gather or kill what we ate.
- Far more EXERCISE as we walked many miles on most days.
- INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION. Well, here at least we moderns have an advantage, and our brains are better for it, If we get enough Sleep, Diet and Exercise.
Intellectual stimulation is really just a form of exercise. Exercise of the brain; as the brain is in a way like a muscle. If you don’t exercise your muscles, they waste away. If you don’t exercise your brain, your synapses waste away. To overwork a cliche : use it or lose it. Your muscles and brain are very energy-intensive and therefore expensive in evolutionary terms. Metabolic mechanisms have evolved to weed out that which is not needed and not used.
We could then say that there are the “Three Pillars of Health: Sleep, Diet, and Exercise, with the understanding that exercise refers to both muscles and brain. But they are exercised in such radically different ways, and each is prominent at different times in life. Children are reluctant to exercise their brains and are in constant motion. The elderly have much less muscle to exercise, but the aged brain still works quite well if you nurture and use it. So Intellectual Stimulation is best considered a separate category.
SLEEP, DIET, EXERCISE and INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION are then the “Four Pillars of HEALTH and THRIVING”.
These Four Pillars come as a package, reinforce each other, and are intricately interconnected. You can’t afford to neglect one without diminishing the others. But we will be discussing them separately, since they are separately researched and enacted.