THE “NEED TO EXPERIENCE”

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The Chinese finger trap is designed to prevent escape. When a finger on each hand is inserted inside this apparatus and pulled in opposite directions, this devise traps both fingers making escape very difficult.

If we showed this finger trap to people and explained just how difficult it would be to free their fingers once inside this device, the average person would likely place their fingers inside anyway. Even if we showed videos to thousands of people proving over and over again how inescapable this apparatus was, most people would still require personally experiencing these results before truly believing this outcome. This

“NEED TO EXPERIENCE”

continues to be a primary CAUSE of growing rates of diseases and conditions we face today.  Academic knowledge and historical evidence is not enough to overcome the TRUTH that these life threatening chronic conditions we face (ex. type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, etc…) will become maladies destroying people’s lives. Truth and factual evidence is not enough to persuade most people of the dangers they face living these unhealthy lifestyles until the “dreaded diagnosis” is personally experienced by the individual.

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  • Smoking causes cancer

  • A diet of processed foods, fast foods and foods high in sugar cause diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, etc…

  • Unchanneled stress weakens immune function causing disease. This weakened immune system allows opportunistic bacteria and viruses to thrive resulting in various types of diseases.

  • Sedentary living causes the musculoskeletal system to weaken. It reduces flexibility and function (ex. arthritis) associated with advancing degeneration and frequent inflammatory pain.

These bullet points are facts of life. They are reproducible experiences that have destroyed many lives over multiple generations. People today don’t even dispute the dangerous outcomes these destructive behaviors cause.

SO WHY ARE WE WITNESSING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE FOLLOWING THESE DESTRUCTIVE PATHS THAT REDUCE HEALTH, FUNCTION AND QUALITY OF LIVING?

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It is my opinion the EMOTIONAL brain overrides the RATIONAL brain. The EMOTIONAL brain requires the NEED OF EXPERIENCE before any significant alteration of unhealthy behavior is even considered. This is because the EMOTIONAL brain considers an alteration of unhealthy behavior a SACRIFICE. It doesn’t consider longer term benefits like, improved function and/or quality of life. It focuses on short term deprivation and impositions that quality improvements may temporarily seem to cause.

If my hypothesis is correct, this would explain why the RATIONAL brain’s expansion in knowledge hasn’t positively impacted the rates of disease or quality of living as we age. Instead, we use the RATIONAL brain to reinforce negative messages including:

  • “I’ve failed with each attempt so it doesn’t make sense to try anymore”.

  • “I can’t change my genetic makeup, so I may as well enjoy whatever I can”.

  • “Even the “experts” disagree with each other, so it likely comes down to luck”.

This, however, is NOT the way the RATIONAL brain works. In reality, this is how the EMOTIONAL brain attempts to control rational thinking! The EMOTIONAL brain is typically looking to satisfy its interests at nearly any cost. It therefore, alters the RATIONAL brain’s LOGICAL methodical approach and substitutes its own reasoning to reinforce behavior that supports emotional WANTS over rational NEEDS.

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WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO OVERCOME THE EMOTIONAL BRAIN?

It takes a willingness to shift our thinking from the “NEED TO EXPERIENCE” to the NEED TO PREVENT. It takes a willingness to understand this requires a PROACTIVE approach to HEALTH rather than a REACTIVE response to DISEASE. It takes a willingness to accept and believe that qualitative life (achieved at least partially through healthier living) offers greater opportunity and value LONG TERM than the

“NEED TO EXPERIENCE”

type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity or any other chronic disease our EMOTIONAL brain “helps” us achieve.

When we become capable of LEARNING from other people’s outcomes (and their “NEED TO EXPERIENCE tangible unhealthy complications), we become capable of making better lifestyle choices for ourselves. Our EMOTIONAL brain no longer acts as “first responder”. Our thought process shifts from EMOTIONAL to RATIONAL brain function resulting in better options for achieving BOTH short and long term results.

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DO YOU RELY ON THE EMOTIONAL OR RATIONAL BRAIN TO CONTROL YOUR DECISION MAKING WHEN IT COMES TO LIFESTYLE CHOICES? HAS IT HELPED YOU ACHIEVE THE HEALTH OUTCOME YOU DESIRE? 

 

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26 comments

  1. Instead, we use the RATIONAL brain to reinforce negative messages including:

    “I’ve failed with each attempt so it doesn’t make sense to try anymore”.

    This is a powerful and telling observation and applies to more than just health! Thanks for sharing! I am so happy every time I come to your blog and see how much it has grown as a natural outcome of the work you put into your posts! Peace and Blessings! Shona

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you as always for sharing your comments. I think people are becoming more receptive to my blog site because it offers “common sense” information in a usable format. Since my site does not generate any personal financial gains, people are more inclined, to accept this information is truly offered for their benefit. Having a trustworthy reference site for information can be empowering to the individual. I want people to live their lives the way THEY WANT TO LIVE. Hopefully, most will choose a healthy path filled with purpose, passion and opportunities far exceeding their current beliefs.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dr. Jonathan why do you hope most will choose a healthy path filled with…? Why does that matter to you? I am wondering where your drive to do this is coming from and why? Sincerely, Shona

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What a GREAT question!!
          I became a physician out of PURPOSE. I never focused on money and/or possessions because my philosophical foundation was built on strong ethics and morals. My mission was to SERVE people using my professional skills. It was my belief if I remained focused on doing my job as well as I possibly could, I would develop a reputation of honesty and integrity. I used these principles to build a practice. I didn’t need statistics showing (a) patient visit averages, (b) dollar’s charged per patient visit, (c) new monthly patients, etc…

          From a business sense, I did it all “wrong”. I was (intentionally) a low volume practice that (predominantly) did NOT participate in managed health care. This meant I had to offer real tangible VALUE in the services I offered my patients. I had to convince them that reaching into their pockets was a dollar well spent (knowing their “network” doctors would only collect a small co-payment).

          When it comes to people parting with dollars for health costs, most do not do so willingly. I made sure my patients began to understand I wasn’t simply a chiropractic physician, but a physician that included all aspects of life into treatment plans. I worked diligently to help my patients REALISTICALLY achieve PATIENT goals (not simply my goals for them). Their willingness to ACTIVELY participate was crucial if teaming up with me was to produce results. They knew I would hold them accountable as I expected them to hold me.

          My practice NEVER focused on PAIN (pain relief, a common theme in chiropractic offices). My practice was about BALANCING all the various components necessary to improve one’s quality of HEALTH and LIFE. This (in my opinion) is what made me DIFFERENT; what created the VALUE patients needed and wanted. Naturally, if pain was an issue, resolving the CAUSES rather than simply the SYMPTOMS was a component of the treatment plan designed. My patients understood that pain (or lack thereof) however, did NOT DETERMINE one’s level of health. Common sense would dictate a BALANCED lifestyle achieving HOMEOSTASIS would be less sick, less painful, more able to function in a manner as one chooses to function and more capable of pursuing life’s goals with less physical and mental resistance.

          I was taught by my father when I was very young, “any task you take on, do it to the best of your ability or don’t bother doing it at all”.

          I have approached my life using my father’s advice. It has helped me discover purpose and passion. It beautifully supported my ethics and morals adding enormous meaning to my life.

          This (long winded response) should help clarify why people’s lives “matter” to me. Everywhere I look, there’s people. Why not help them become the best they can be if I am destined to be surrounded by them? This is my small imprint I make while I’m alive on this planet. I hope it inspires others to consider following a similar destiny. I say similar and NOT the same, because I hope that each person finds THEIR own unique manner to achieve a purposeful beneficial goal in helping others.

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  2. Excellent blog! You can also substitute the destructive behaviors of eating habits and unnecessary stress with addiction to alcohol, tobacco and drugs, illegal and prescription.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely!

      Like

  3. “Need to experience.” — Exactly! People can be bombarded with information about why certain foods are bad, why they should eat healthy, etc.. but it doesn’t fully register until something happens or they are diagnosed with a problem or disease. Your picture of the guy in front of the train, “I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it,” sums it up perfectly. This post is a great eye-opener and hopefully will help people realize that they have a choice and they have a chance to change their lives by taking action before something happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This message must be seen over and over again until it “hits” the consumer on the right day at the right time. People resist change; it takes constant messaging to overcome self denial and the belief that medicating oneself to “GOOD HEALTH” is possible. One can medicate oneself to some level of STABILITY, but one can NEVER medicate to achieving GOOD HEALTH!

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  4. Doc, great one as usual. I really don’t need to experience all those debilitating diseases both of body and mind – the little I already deal with is enough. Hence, I have made huge and often painful/difficult choices in my life for both myself and my sons. Don’t need no doctor who maybe even has his own ‘hidden diseases’, to tell me about what I’ll risk if I try…(sadly some may not even know)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you addressed a conference of OPEN MINDED doctors, they would be become clinicians as a result. There is much wisdom in your words that often goes unheard because physician egos tend to impair their”hearing”. What makes this so unfortunate, is the patient winds up suffering the consequences. Close minded physicians tend to self impose treatment options limiting patient choices to medications offering poor LONG TERM outcomes.

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  5. Love, love, LOVE this post! Emotional thinking is why so many of us are in the predicament we are in…I have always given the same advice to my friends…follow your heart as it will never change, but your mind will always steer you wrong….of-course that is on love, however its the same for me….if I follow what I know is true about eating, logic, etc…I am fine, but let my mind try to get into the internal conversation and I am totally derailed. thank you Jonathan for always putting it out there for us all and in a way that is totally understandable to all of us.!!! Hope the sun is shining in your neighborhood….xkat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to see you understand this approach to life. So many place a wall denying this reality in fear of recognizing the TRUTH behind its content.

      As people learn these messages are intended to be shared compassionately rather than DIRECTED antagonistically at them, they will likely lower some of their defenses in order to hear and CONSIDER the TRUTH behind these words.

      This is an important step in the PROCESS of LONG TERM healthier outcomes.

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      1. I agree….its so much easier just to be fearful and put out excuses than face the facts and own up to it….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a result of a generation that turns to damage control for a quick fix to everything. If we are willing, it doesn’t have to get to that point and thank goodness we have people like you to remind us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all need these messages reinforced on a regular basis. We face so many distractions that can consume our thoughts and existence if we let them. Stepping back and recognizing each of us has the ability to be the driver rather than simply the passenger in life provides the strength that’s sometimes needed to remain on goal. It is FALSE to believe being the passenger is easier. It is NEVER easier to have one’s life dictated. This does not mean it is easy to direct one’s own life; it means it is more fulfilling and meaningful to do so when one establishes PURPOSE and PASSION in life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree more

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I never thought of it this way – the idea that people don’t believe something will happen to them until they experience it makes a lot of sense. I had just never thought of it before you pointed it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The belief is basically, the disease (ex. cancer) will happen to someone else. Few people in this world look at their lifestyles and think to themselves, “I have EARNED this horrible diagnosis by denying essential lifestyle habits.” Instead, more often, they exclaim, “why me”!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh yes, the emotional and rational brain power. The thinking of the now, short term and not the long term…that brain enters so many sphere’s of our lives, all which need a choice to be made. It’s sad to see people suffer, especially in situations where the situation could have been avoided, or could not be so severe …. and so often, then realization kicks in.
    Brilliant post as always Jonathan, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you. So many people have lived life using an emotional brain entirely out of BALANCE. It’s no wonder the outcomes have produced such poor results.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “It’s not denial. I’m just very selective about the reality I accept.” Giggles. I’m often amazed at how many of the wonderful posts you write, subscribe to some of the very same things I witness spiritually. Hugs & blessings to you for the affirmation and the examination of conscious!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you completely. Spirituality plays an important part in my life as a person and played an important role when I was a practicing physician. I believe doctors willing to incorporate spirituality into clinical practice offer patients more than science will ever be able to by itself. We know so little as doctors; it seems naive to exclude a factor capable of opening possibilities hidden to the tangible world.

      Thank you so much for sharing your comment with all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It is funny, isn’t it? We can walk around in denial and sometimes only health consequences may open our eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We tend to deny reality unless one of our 5 senses confirms it. Usually it must be an unpleasant or outright painful experience to alter behavior. It’s sad to think that PLEASURE creates the same positive end result without having to experience ANY of the PAIN! It’s called being PROACTIVE; a concept many refuse to accept.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I relied on my emotional brain for a really long time but in the recent months I’ve tried trusting my rational brain and let me tell you, I feel better than ever. I quit smoking, I eat significantly less junk food and I try to consume as little sugar as possible. The emotional brain still knocks on the door frequently to tell me I WANT that bag of chips or pack of gummy bears but that’s okay. That way I’m training my rational brain to resist the emotional cravings and to take into consideration the benefits of NOT doing that bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have learned a lot about yourself and your ability to CONTROL/DECIDE choices in life. The more you discover about yourself and your REAL needs in life, the better the choices become. I’m betting on you!!

      Liked by 1 person

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