by Dr. Darin Stokke
A good argument can be made that life is all about choice. Every moment of every day we are either consciously or unconsciously making a choice. The choice to eat, the choice to breathe, the choice to jump, the choice to turn the steering wheel, the choice to smile, the choice to say a kind word, the choice to swing the golf club, and the choice to move. Each choice is our moment-by-moment adaptation to our environment. Some choices we make consciously after much thought. Some choices we make as an impulse reaction or out of habit. And some choices are subconscious choices our body makes innately to best ensure survival and optimal health.
The ability to choose wisely is the key. We make choices in how we react or respond to an inconsiderate driver on the road or to an insult hurled in our direction. We react or respond to a sudden rain fall or to a strong gust of wind. Each reaction or response has a result or a consequence. Learning from the consequences is key to gaining wisdom in how to respond even more wisely the next time those situations arise.
With our body, most of what happens during the day occurs at a subconscious level. Most responses have become hard wired through years of repetition. Our nervous system is the key driver in our decision making, both consciously and subconsciously. When our nervous system properly interprets the environment, it can properly tell the body how to respond in the wisest way. The nervous system and the body always respond in a way it interprets as the best to help us live and survive in the short term. However, as those responses work to solve one problem in the short term they can sometimes create other chronic issues in the long term. Research is beginning to show that most chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even cancer are the long term consequences of the body making the correct short term adaptations to ensure survival but without ever correcting the underlying cause of why the body was in need of adapting in the first place. A limp, for instance, helps protect a sprained ankle in the short term but causes improper stress on the other joints eventually creating arthritic changes if we are still limping a year after the sprain.
This is where our health comes into play. Our mental health is dependent upon the choices we make in how we respond or react to life situations. Life happens to all of us but how we choose to respond to difficulties, traumas and troubles is key to our mental and emotional well-being. Likewise, our physical health is dependent upon the innate or subconscious response and reactions of our cells each moment of each day.
True health care operates best by helping our cells and our nervous system to make wise choices. To do this, we must first identify if any dysfunctional adaptation pattern exists and where the pattern is dysfunctional. Much like correcting a golf swing that causes a chronic slice of the golf ball, we have a choice to make. We can ignore the slice, turn and aim in a different direction to compensate for the slice, or have a professional watch the golf swing and see where the faulty pattern is in the swing causing the ball to slice. Once we know where the dysfunction is, we can take steps to correct it by retraining our body to make a better choice in how it swings. Most of us know when something isn’t exactly functioning 100% but we often choose to ignore it or compensate for it. However, for true health to occur, we must look at how our cells and nervous system are making choices. If we are not getting the results we desire in our health or in life, correction can only come from identifying and correcting the underlying cause. Making better choices, both consciously and subconsciously, is the key to not only life, but to ensuring an optimal quality of life. Choose today to live well!
Dr. Stokke is a Chiropractic Physician at Lifestyles Chiropractic located on Lindbergh Avenue just off Daniels, near Norman Love Confections. You may reach him at 239-334-9355 or visit www.LifestylesChiro.com.