You hear it all the time: ”The key to health is…”
…a good night’s sleep
…a positive mindset
I get it. We want things to be simple. As a result, we gravitate to oversimplifications (or to nonsensical, over-priced, Goop-derived foolishness.)
But there is no key.
Health is like a big janitor’s key ring with all sorts of keys on it. All of them are important at some point or another. Some are used often while others occasionally, but they are ALL important.
If you want a healthy brain carried around in a fit body that lasts, having a big janitor’s key ring of actions you are doing well is your best bet.
You can’t exercise like a madman and eat whatever you want.
You can’t “eat healthy” (whatever that may mean this week) and skip exercise and sleep.
You can’t skip sleep and make up for it by having a positive mindset.
You can’t “think yourself thin” by having a positive mindset and eating poorly.
There is no key to health any more than there is a single letter of the alphabet that is the most important or a certain tire on your car that is the most important.
Do the best you can as often as you can with various categories of health behaviors. If you do, you’ll be healthy enough in mind and body. If you don’t, you’ll be frustrated and shocked when you don’t get the positive health outcome you would like.
There is no key – there are keys.
Health is never as complex as frustrated people say it is, yet it is never quite as simple as we would like it to be. Just do your best as often as you can. And get better at doing your best by staying curious and learning more, exploring more, and discovering new ways to enjoy the experience of life.