Why three is the magic number when it comes to flourishing in life

Olympian Louis Smith

Naomi Murray

We often begin a new year with good intentions. As human beings we are a work in progress and there is always room for improvement, and yet before January is out 64% of New Year resolutions will be abandoned.

There is a reason for this, so don’t be disheartened. Often resolutions are based on others expectations, or there is too much pressure – or we may just have unrealistic goals.

As Einstein said: “We cannot solve a problem on the level of consciousness that created it.” We need to be realistic in our goals. And as we begin another year which may prove challenging, as Viktor Frankl stated in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “When we are are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

If we can become stoical in spirit and healthier in body, we are in better stead for life when unexpected challenges occur.

The three ‘A’ stars to embrace in 2022

Autophagy: the path to renewal – the name Autophagy is derived from the Greek meaning ‘eating of self’. As frightening as it sounds this is a natural regeneration process that occurs when we have a clear ‘window’ between meals. In the space in between the body begins repairing at a cellular level. Scientific studies show this to be a healthy way to lose weight and prolong life. It is advised that for two or three days a week all of your dietary food intake for a day should be within an 8 to 10 hour window. So you could have breakfast at 10am, and refrain from eating beyond 8pm.

During this time of fasting the body recycles damaged cells and will sometimes destroy those that no longer serve a purpose. New cells are formed, metabolism is maintained, cardiovascular health improves and this process is protective against neurogenerative diseases.

Adaptogens: are a category of herbs that help the human body adapt. They support metabolism and increase resistance to physical, biological, emotional and environmental stressors. These are remarkable herbs and knowledge around them dates back thousands of years. Like all herbs they are multi-modal, not just one trick ponies at all.

Let’s look at just one adaptogenic herb, Holy Basil (Tulsi). In Ayurvedic medicine it is revered as an ‘herb for all reasons’ – it acts as an anti-depressant, is anti-viral and anti-bacterial, a carminative (soothes the digestive tract), expectorant (helps remove excess mucus from the lungs) and is an immune balancer.

Adaptogens include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, Ginseng, Liquorice and Reishi mushroom. There is an adaptogen to suit everyone and they can make a huge difference to emotional and physical health.

Awe: the route to happiness through reverential respect mixed with wonder. We think of awe as an emotion saved for those extra special moments and yet every day we can be in awe of the world around us, of daily encounters; the night sky, the exquisite fungi sprouting on the fallen tree, the sound of the Robin singing in the trees.

To be present, to stop, pause and look closely we encounter an emotion that has been shown to lower biomarkers linked to depression, cardiovascular and auto-immune diseases. A child-like wonder really is good for your health. It is time to look up and around.

You don’t have to count calories or take part in gruelling workouts to set foot on a fresh path of wellbeing. Perhaps it’s time to ease in to the new year in a gentler way that can still produce profound positive effects.


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