From Change Your Story-Change Your Life
Self-improvement or Biohacking?
Thomas Stackpole, senior editor at Boston Magazine, wrote an article for the New York Times this week about how he’s attempted to change and improve himself by extreme dieting and exercise. He wrote “if this started out about weight, at some point, for me, these obsessions stopped being about my body; the strain of a new fitness regimen, a new mania, be it lifting or raw food, became its own draw.”
He began to realize that “the appeal of this brand of wellness has very little to do with being healthy. After all,
most of what maintaining good health requires, feels pretty good:
eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, practice everything in moderation.”
He used the term “biohacking” to describe his attempts at change and wrote that as opposed to healthy endeavors,
“with “biohacking,” the effects are ephemeral and the health claims
are dubious. But what these crude approaches do offer is a sense of
control in the moment.”
So it seems that these attempts at changing oneself is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They generally start out innocent and well-intentioned but become more sinister as they take on a life of their own. Initially there is a promise of a feeling of self-efficacy and control over one’s life but these attempts end up actually reducing one’s sense of well-being and freedom.
When someone attempts to find a sense of worth by controlling their body, they find themselves in a never ending process of jumping from one quick fix to another. Even if they do lose a little weight or a bulk up, there is often something still missing. Self-improvement efforts are fine but if they are your primary source of control and a sense of well-being and worth, they are doomed to failure. It is of course, important to feel a sense of control and self efficacy but if one pursues this goal by constantly trying to change oneself, it will not be long lasting. Therefore it is important to think about what is a better focus for our need to feel some control and power over our self and our lives.
Challenge Yourself: Instead of searching for a new exercise regimen or the most recent fad diet, consider areas that you can take control over in your life with lasting results. Then take a specific step to improve your control in any of the following areas:
How you spend your time: Is there something that you need to say "yes" or "no" to but have been hesitant to do so?
Who you choose to spend time with: Consider each relationship that you have and determine if it is truly good for you. Also consider if there are people that might be good for you that you don't spend time with and initiate a meeting.
How you react to your emotions: Have you ever actually taken a course or read a book on how to manage your feelings? Learning to tolerate distress, feel without immediately acting and experience rather than stuff your feelings are all skills which can be learned and practiced.
The nature of the relationship you have with yourself: Do you talk to yourself more critically than you typically talk to others, particularly your friends? Catch yourself when you have a critical thought and reword the message in the manner that you would offer it to a close friend.
How you spend your money: It can be very rewarding to work and save so that you can purchase something that is important to you. Be mindful about this whole process rather than mindlessly or impulsively spending money that you then regret.
How you contribute to others in need: Volunteer, help a neighbor, show an act of random kindness.
Who you choose to forgive: Remember that forgiving is more for the one doing the forgiving than the one receiving the forgiveness. it usually occurs when a person has realized that they no longer need the pain and are ready to live fully. Forgiveness is the message that the other person doesn't have power over you and you are ready to move on.
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