How do we promote the greatest degree of health for the largest number of people?
Development of skills that promote holistic wellness is essential in the pursuit of improving health as this allows for the integration and application of the best available information from pertinent fields. These skills, including mindset training, meditation, sleep science, and nutrition provide the foundation for all of us to pursue high performance in our chosen areas of life.
Though any individual may have an element of untrained skill in one or more of these areas, it is more likely the case that we all can benefit from further training and development of these skills. Such training can be reactive or proactive. It is reactive when we begin the work of training these skills in response to a significant stressor that may have occurred. It is proactive when we begin this work as soon as possible and in advance of any stressor.
Though reactive development of these skills is better than not developing the skills at all, a proactive approach has many advantages. The holistic skills we are developing are complimentary in nature and serve to promote wellness and facilitate high performance in any area of life. As such, having access to these skills as early as possible allows us to benefit sooner in the pursuit of our life goals. Moreover, by their very nature we would like to have developed strong holistic skills so that they are ready to be of use at times of greatest need. Since such times frequently become apparent on short notice or are entirely unpredictable, it is beneficial to begin developing these skills as early as possible so that they are ready for use when needed. The current COVID-19 pandemic serves as an excellent example. We are all under increased stress in responding to this situation and having developed these holistic skills in advance would allow for their use during the pandemic.
It is also worth considering the time and hard work that is required in order to develop each and every one of these skills. This includes the development of new, positive habits which takes time and can be challenging. This work only becomes more difficult if it is attempted to be done under times of increased stress. In order for new habits to become established, many repetitions are needed which also requires time, making the proactive approach to development of these skills preferred.
The proactive development of these skills provides us with two important benefits: we can reap the rewards of these abilities sooner and we can strengthen our habits and skills so that when the inevitable challenges of life arise, we are better prepared and able to work with them.
The analogy between development of these holistic skills and physical training can be helpful as each skill requires practice in order to become proficient. In the context of physical training, when exercise becomes sporadic or is discontinued, muscle atrophy and loss of the benefits of prior training occurs. This is also the case with development of the holistic skills of high performance. While we strengthen our capacity for these skills through regular practice and application of the skills, we also tend to lose our ability to access these skills if we don’t continue their development.
In the treatment of disease, there are various tiers or levels of prevention. Primary prevention relates to steps taken to prevent healthy people from developing the disease. Secondary prevention refers to interventions to identify existing disease at an early stage of the disease, at which time treatment may theoretically be more effective and less invasive. The same paradigm can be applied to the development of high performance holistic skills. Developing these skills as early as possible in advance of significant stressors is analogous to primary prevention. This allows for application of these skills to enhance wellness and pursue high performance, while decreasing chances for negative health outcomes, such as burnout. Reactive development of these skills is analogous to secondary prevention. While still important, it is preferable to be in a situation of primary prevention.
At Darin Davidson, MD Consulting the goal is to help develop these holistic skills and integrate them within the healthcare system for patients with Orthopaedic conditions and healthcare professionals in order to improve the health and wellness of everyone. By enhancing our health and wellness, we are better able to pursue our goals in life!