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Dr. James Rouse on Self-Care vs. Health Care

Fall 2014 | Sep11
Dr. James Rouse on Self-Care vs. Health Care

 

All too often in life, we live event to event. We look forward to the vacation, to the weekend, to losing 10 pounds. But when we practice self-care, we also find happiness in the interstitial spaces between those events.

The more we look outside of ourselves—I call it living outside-in—the more we blame government or technology or society for our unhealthiness and the more we feel oppressed. The more we say, “I can’t ride my bike to work until someone builds a bike lane for me”—just like we look to health care and managed care to be the solution to our health problems—the more we’ll be mismanaged and disappointed.

Living inside-out means deciding to be the catalyst, the dissenter, the one who’s going to be uncomfortable first. Leaning into what is uncomfortable is a great source of inspiration and happiness.

When someone courageously steps into that place of self-care—they go to bed earlier, they get up in the morning to work out, they make eye contact with their spouse, they hug their kids a little longer before school, and they do all these things with more presence—it really is a form of social activism.

You’re alive to the degree that you serve. When you serve yourself well and remember you have tiny wellness windows all day long, your ability to be a beneficial presence on the planet will go up exponentially. 

I gave up watching the news 27 years ago. It’s one of my ways of controlling the playing field. I realized maybe that wasn’t my best source of nourishment at night.

I once had a mentor who said: ‘If you ever find yourself in a dark room and you feel like your light is being dimmed, you have the choice and the responsibility to excuse yourself from that room immediately.’

Choose something else. Because you can.

I’m fascinated by the field of epigenetics—how your environment, the people you’re exposed to and how you spend your time effects your genes express themselves. They’re starting to understand how your telomeres—these little shock absorbers on your DNA—are susceptible to who you hang out with. Hanging out with cool people can improve and regulate your vitality. People your life well.

 

Doctor James Rouse, N.D., is a naturopath with more than 20 years of experience inspiring others through public speaking, personal coaching and eight books, including his most recent: Think Eat Move Thrive: The Practice for an Awesome Life. He is the founder of and resident expert for Optimum Wellness. Get to know more about Dr. James at drjamesrouse.com.

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