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In today’s blog, we’ll consider the following:
Salutogenesis – a new approach to an old wisdom
The pathogenesis paradigm
Neural cultivating – outcomes by design (+ holiday tips)
Salutogenesis and pathogenesis both can play a big role in your overall health. Let’s explore the differences between the two and why they matter.
Salutogenesis – a new approach to an old wisdom
Salutogenesis is a term coined by a medical sociology professor, Aaron Antonovsky, in 1979. Antonovsky describes it as the study of human health and well-being, rather than a focus on factors that cause disease (pathogenesis). “Sal” in Latin means good health and “genesis” means generation; therefore, salutogenesis means the ‘generation of good health.’ Antonovsky sought to understand the salutary (i.e., health-promoting) factors related to the production of health and wellness. The salutogenic model proposes that the goal of health research should be to identify, define, and describe pathways, factors, and causes of positive health to supplement our knowledge about how to prevent, treat, and manage negative health (pathogenesis). Maximize your training.
A salutogenic framework is a great example of neural cultivating. By examining the contributing factors of the promotion and maintenance of physical and mental well-being rather than disease, we practice the approach of salutogenesis. This suggests that we have the innate capacity to move toward health in the face of hardship instead of passively waiting for disease. This wellness-centered approach emphasizes growth and striving for optimal well-being. Salutogenesis is a motivation to proactively engage in health-promoting (as opposed to risky) behaviors. It assumes the premise that wellness is something that should be actively pursued.
Four decades ago, Antonovsky introduced the salutogenic concept of a “sense of coherence” as a specific way of viewing life as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. Salutogenesis is a new approach to old wisdom.
The Pathogenesis Paradigm
The term ‘pathogenesis’ is derived from the Greek terms ‘pathos’, meaning disease, and ‘genesis’, meaning origins. Pathogens are disease-causing agents (e.g., bacteria and viruses). The pathogenic paradigm represents an approach to understanding health and illness that is focused on treating a disease and its symptoms.
In contrast to salutogenesis, pathogenesis takes a reactive approach to consider what’s wrong in the body. In a disease-centered approach, the emphasis is put on deferring negative health effects and avoiding symptoms. Our culture is steeped in the pathogenesis model, mostly due to unfavorable lifestyles and lack of health orientation. We often consult a doctor when we are ill, yet rarely introspect on the conditions that keep us in good health.
The retrospective pathogenic model of health (held by most traditional health professionals) has dictated that disease prevention, treatment, and/or management are the paths to better health. Just as the absence of bad behavior does not indicate the presence of good behavior, research consistently has demonstrated that simply decreasing a negative health state does not necessarily increase positive health states. Across a spectrum that ranges from disease to flourishing, pathogenesis looks to bring people from unhealthy to neutral. Salutogenesis propels them from neutral to high levels of wellness. The time has come for more salutogenic thinking, research, and practices.
Neural-Cultivating – outcomes by design
Through disciplined neural cultivating, our mind can be conditioned to believe in our power to transform our perceptions and how we construct our realities. Our imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity augment our learning. And its enhancement can have a lasting positive effect on our wellbeing. Let’s acknowledge and collapse the mental schism between motivated salutogenesis and pathogenesis-by-default.
The holidays are fast upon us. It won’t be long before everyone will be scrambling to make resolutions. We dip into salutogenesis mode by promising to eat better, exercising more, and attempting to adopt better health habits. And, for the majority of resolution-makers, that lasts for an average of 2-3 weeks. It’s not long before many of us will throw in the towel and go back to the same old pathogenic habits.
Make this year different. Declare your salutogenic resolve! Below are three tips to help you navigate through the holidays and maintain your fitness level. You’ve worked too hard to let things slide. Keep your positive momentum going. Anchor the habits that bring you wellness. If your motivated reasoning is deliberate and your attention is focused (salutogenic approach), you can stay the course of optimal health.
Don’t stuff the starches! Holiday foods, by definition, contain lots of starches and sugars. Starches are high on the glycemic index and raise your sugar levels quickly. The common culprits are pasta, bread, white rice, and potatoes. (I’ll include stuffing, breading, pastries, and crackers in the ‘bread’ category – anything made with refined flour.) Your body sees these as unhealthy as sweets since they break down into sugars in the same way. Most people don’t think of common foods like pasta and potatoes as unhealthy; however, these carbohydrates can be worse for you than sugar.
Pay closer attention to the bad starch category as you navigate through your holiday meal planning. There are plenty of good substitutes for bad starches. This season try adding some new recipes to your regulars. In the colder weather, I particularly enjoy good soups. The variety of healthy vegetables is endless, and soups are delicious and easy. Say yes to more healthy soups. Maximize your training.
As you begin to remove starches intentionally, you’ll feel the difference in your energy levels. And, by neural cultivating your new salutogenic approach, you’ll continue your stride toward fitness right through the holidays. Just think of coming through this holiday season fit and lean. You will have a head start on your competition who may backslide during the festivities. Give yourself credit for being a great thinker and planner. You are planning for your future health improvements.
Drink more water – pure, filtered water. Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated and rehydrate. Sounds easy enough. Then, why don’t we do a better job? If you’re thirsty, that’s the most obvious sign you’re probably dehydrated, meaning your body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly. Water constantly leaves your body as you breathe, sweat, and urinate. If you do not drink enough water, the concentration of chemicals in your blood (serum osmolality) increases.
Beware of ubiquitous diuretics like coffee. Many people confuse hydrating with drinking liquids that ‘contain water’. A diuretic causes your body to remove fluids from your blood through your renal system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, at a much quicker rate than other liquids. Alcohol is a diuretic. Don’t play the fool’s game of thinking your beer or mixer is helping you hydrate. Did you ever wake up with a hangover and find yourself thirsty the next morning? That’s because your diuretic binge left you dehydrated. Your body will respond (good or bad) to the fuel you provide.
The season for alcohol, soda, hot chocolate, and pumpkin spice lattes is here. Enjoy your treats. But remember to stay hydrated with fresh, filtered water every day. Ensuring enough water consumption will keep you from feeling sluggish. And water helps curb carb cravings (see Food Tip above). The awesome habit of hydrating with water keeps your system running cleaner and more efficiently. Maximize your training.
Hydro Helix is a fantastic salutogenic choice for good hydration. Stay tuned for more on the new drink from bodyhelix.
Coach’s sidebar: There are medical diuretics used to reduce blood pressure. Follow your physician’s advice if you have been prescribed a diuretic.
Recuperative sleep is our body’s repair shop against the onslaught of damage we are subjected to each day. Lack of sleep may take the largest toll on our overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep (consistently) will boost your immune system. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, proper sleep will even make vaccines more effective. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces a hormone that increases appetite. Not getting enough sleep can lead to heart health issues. The old saying of ‘getting up on the right side of the bed’ has some truth. Good sleep equals a good mood. And sleep improves memory.
It’s easy to abandon good sleep habits. Our electronics are running in high gear, and our phones are being used non-stop. We have so many obligations, racing thoughts, and other stressors around the holidays. But if we abandon our repair shop it will surely abandon the body’s’ ability to restore and recover.
Use motivated reasoning and create a nighttime routine to get your mind and body relaxed.
· Go to bed at the same time every night.
· Turn off all electronics 90 minutes before sleep. (Try the lost art of reading a book instead.)
· Turn lights down low 2 hours before sleep.
· Turn off your phone and never bring it into the bedroom so it cannot interrupt your sleep. (Those social media alerts will all be there in the morning.)
· Lower the temperature.
· Try meditating or breathing exercises.
Through neural cultivating, you can design your outcomes. By reliably incorporating the three tips above, you can start to transform your overall HealthSpan in a short time.
Become a disciple of salutogenics with me. I learned about salutogenesis through my own persistent neural cultivating. I am a thinker. I make wise and calculated decisions towards improving my body and mind. Pathogenesis reminds us that those who neglect their health or do nothing to improve it will reactively deal with the consequences. By embracing salutogenesis, we can proactively increase our HealthSpan. What could be more meaningful or important than your health, my friend? Abandon the way of those who advocate common sense. Rely on your uncommon sense! Maximize your training.
In last week’s blog, I denounced the sports drink industry and their duplicitous candy water. Those companies and their products are emphatically in the ‘pathogenesis’ category. They are keenly aware that our country is suffering from an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders – clearly linked to our food sources. They exploit the addictive qualities of sugars and bad starches. Yet, they seem to deny their contribution to this national health crisis. They put their profits before our well-being.
Our bodyhelix team says no to this. We will show them a different way. Bodyhelix developed our new Hydro Helix to help improve your fitness and health. It’s a salutogenic approach to hydration and your future wellness. Team bodyhelix continues to create products, like our world-renown compression gear, that help with injury prevention and recovery so you can participate in the sport you love. When you train and compete, we literally ‘have you covered.’ Think of the “x” in bodyhelix as our stamp of approval. Each time you see it, you know the product has been designed, vetted, tested, and approved by athletes for athletes.
By doing your homework and research, you support our efforts. There is more and more ‘buzz’ about bodyhelix, and we have you to thank. We believe in our mission – to put your health and fitness first. Maximize your training.
Be strong. Be wise. Be healthy.
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