What does optimum mental and physical health mean to you?

To me, optimum mental and physical health means I can do most of what I want when I want. I don’t feel perpetually exhausted, sad, or flustered.

What can someone do to optimize their physical and mental health?

I really like the Huberman Lab podcast 5 basic points here:

  1. Sleep
  2. Sunlight
  3. Movement
  4. Nutrients
  5. Relationships

Note: While there are many protocols out there, not obeying the Core 5 Pillars of Health & Performance will always reduce vitality and longevity. The good news is, the reverse is also true. Meaning, if you do/address those things (most) every day, your mental health, physical health, and performance are certain to flourish.

A couple of interesting points & resources-

MEDITATION: Broadly speaking, the data show that brief meditations in which you focus on your breath, or on a point just behind your forehead, lead to improved focus, and to some extent a reduction in stress, but mostly to improvements in focus. So much so, that meditation done within four hours of bedtime can disrupt sleep. (emphasis mine)

What do you personally do to optimize your physical and mental health?

This list is long! Here is a random assortment of things I do. I’ve floated with Float Seattle for years. I’ve worked on my sleep. I use light boxes. My latest kick has been rewire.space (stacks red light therapy, oxygen, compression, cooling, and HIIT exercise into one session). I use smart lights to get up and go to bed at the almost same time. Walk. Try to get light first thing in the morning. Fish oil.

Take meds for assorted health ailments. Even with all this, I’ve had 4 major surgeries for things I couldn’t have prevented and recently ended up with pretty severe anemia. I’ve tried sleep coaches, I’ve tried exercise coaches, therapists, wearables, bed coolers and more.

In the last few days I’ve been retrying breathwork.
From the Huberman Lab
BREATHWORK: There are a lot of different kinds of breathwork, but recent data from my lab @stanford.med show the most effective way to reduce stress around the clock is to perform five minutes of cyclic sighing once per day.

The technique: You inhale deeply through the nose and then before exhaling, inhale again, even if just very briefly to maximize inhalation of your lungs, then do a long exhale through your mouth until your lungs are completely empty. Then repeat for five minutes; do it once a day at any time of day. Improvements in physiological and subjective measures of stress and sleep have been documented (Yilmaz Balban et al., Cell Reports Medicine, 2023).

What do you suggest happens if you get off track?

If you get off track, sometimes it’s just about picking back up and getting back into the routines and habits you have! Whether its one thing at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed, or a minor course correction. Sometimes its a sudden realization that all the things need to change. All of it isl things you can do in support of helping yourself feel better. And sometimes, like almost all things, perfection is overrated.

What are some free/low cost ways to do this?

Huberman lab podcast has great information (YouTubeInstagramwebsite)

Set one tiny goal towards your health (when I get up in the morning, I will drink a glass of water and celebrate!)

Sleep: get your room as dark, quiet, and cool as you can.

And finally, give some thought to the old saying anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly! Just start.



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