Variety Is Truly The Spice of Life!!!

Variety Is Truly The Spice of Life!!!

 

By Jon –

From time to time we all find ourselves in some kind of rut. This is being stuck in a situation where you find yourself unhappy and seemingly unable to change. This applies to everything from your nutrition, your physical state, your mental state, and your personal relationships. It can happen any time and feel overwhelming.

Part of our philosophy at RCG is centered on the application of variety, in order to overcome our challenges and to enhance your life. We need variety in our life. It enhances our experiences; it stimulates our creativity and keeps our brain active and our body from stagnating.

Allow me to connect the dots how variety impacts all areas of our life.

Nutrition is where is all starts. Our body requires proper fuel to operate at our optimal levels. You may think you are eating healthy, but if you are not varying the foods you put into your body, then you are leaving out massive nutrients that your body desperately needs to function properly. We all have a tendency to stick with our go-to foods. This becomes habit over time and our body will build up a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals. By exploring new foods (a variety of cruciferous vegetables, protein both animal and plant based sources, whole grains and fruits) you are keeping your body working hard and keeping organs active, as they have to process these different varieties of foods. This is a good thing! This takes creativity and some courage to try new things. The next step is what do you do with your properly fueled body?  Put it to good use.

Variety is just as critical in your workouts as it is in your nutrition. If you are properly fueled but your workouts a lack variety, you are much more prone to repetitive stress injuries, under or over development of certain muscle groups, poor motivation and all around boredom. This is not the way to make physical fitness a lifestyle! Working out should be fun. For that to happen, you need variety. Get off the treadmill and jump over walls, do some yoga, trail run, throw around some weights, jump into a foam pit, overcome your fear of heights, climb a rope, swim or just challenge someone to a bear crawl race. Keeping it fresh is the best way to keep your muscles off balance and your mind interested. It also recruits all the small stabilizer muscles that often shut down with the same old weight or running workout. Trying new sports and activities and sucking at them ensures that you are always learning (which should be a continuous life goal for all of us) but also keeps you mentally engaged.

Ok, we’ve hit nutrition and the physical state, now lets talk about the mental state. Obviously I am not a Psychologist and I don’t claim to be an expert but I do know that it is incredibly important to our mental state to have a variety of outlets to challenge and stimulate our brains.  Human beings need to maintain active mental stimuli coming from a variety of sources, books, music, writing, painting, and the arts in general.

From the start of life till the end, mental activity is an important aspect of life. The protective, emotional, physical, psychological and neurological effects of stimulating the mind are widespread. Mental activity or neurological stimulation can be described as anything that stimulates, activates or enriches the mind. Stimulation can be provided internally from thought or externally from the environment. Education, occupation, social and leisure activities are all important contributors to mental stimulation.

Mental activity increases the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. It also acts as a signal, which promotes the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDGF). BDGF is a protective chemical, which induces growth and survival of neurons. The importance of BDGF has been determined through knockout studies. Knockout studies are studies carried out on animals, usually rats, where a certain physiologically important element such as a chemical, receptor or enzyme are “knocked out” of the animal through genetic manipulation. These studies have enabled scientists to determine the impact that not having a certain substance has on the animal. In this case, they have discovered that without BDGF, learning and attention is impaired because the transmission between neurons (known as synaptic plasticity) is reduced. Synaptic plasticity has been found to be increased after as little as a few weeks of mental stimulation.

Mental activity is clearly emerging as a safe and effective strategy for delaying cognitive decline and impairment. Cognition refers to thinking. Cognitive decline, therefore, is the process of decline in normal thinking patterns and speed. Cognitive decline is an aging process associated with dementia.

Dementia incidence is significantly associated with mental stimulation; the greater the mental stimulation, the lower the risk of developing dementia. There is a 46% lower risk of developing dementia in individuals who utilize high mental activity levels compared to individuals who would be considered to use a low amount of mental activity.

The data suggests the risk for dementia appears to be substantially modifiable even during older age. Mental stimulation or cognition “training” has been shown to be beneficial in providing a protective and persistent neurological effect when used for as little as 3 months in late life (over 60 years of age).

Depression is a common effect of lack of mental activity. The effects of mental stimulation have a flow-on effect. Activation of the mind increases physiological responses in the brain by inducing the flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients. Without activating these mechanisms neurons will eventually begin to shrink, as will the brain. These neurological effects impact on to the psychological effects such as boredom and depression. All this information indicates that making time each day to activate our brains in a variety of ways is critical to maintain mental wellness.

I have talked about how variety helps us maintain our body and mind, so now let’s talk about our interactions with others. Humans crave connection. We seek it in our personal relationships, our need for community, and our need for service to others. Our relationships can get stalled and even stagnate. This is where variety is so important. I am not saying to jump from relationship to relationship! What I am suggesting is to surround yourself with a variety of relationships through clubs, lecture groups, fitness programs, book clubs, travel etc. This takes work. Maintaining one relationship can be difficult at times, let alone many, however the enrichment you get from learning from others and constantly experiencing new things and people is the backbone of life. This also applies to your work relationships. By taking the time to not only understand your job, but also to understand others jobs and the challenges you all face will help you work together in becoming a cohesive unit. If you only think about the job you perform, you are limiting your potential and the potential of the entire organization. Reach out and strive to gain an understanding of all that happens in your company. It builds stronger bonds, greater knowledge for the team and increases exponentially the opportunity for success.

 

I don’t know who first coined the phrase “Variety is the Spice of Life”, but here at Rogue Consulting Group we couldn’t agree more. You can experience how we inject variety into everything we do from our nutrition programs, our Battle Ready Fitness programs, and definitely in our team building and leadership consulting business. Come and see for yourself. Contact us at team@rogueconsultinggroup.com or visit our website at www.rogueconsultinggroup.com.

Cheers and have a great week!!

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