When talking about health, it is often done as if it depends mainly on luck. It is therefore normal to ask for health as a wish, something that only providence can grant us, because it does not depend on us.

This is partly true; after all, there is no one who can be in a position to rule out all the diseases to which he is exposed throughout his life. However, like all half-truths, it can lead us to forget that things are more complex than they seem.

In many ways, we have control over many situations on which our health status is more or less vulnerable . And this is not something we can learn spontaneously over the years. Here we will see several examples of this.

How do we learn to take control of our health?

As scientific knowledge has advanced, a number of factors have emerged from which we can actively participate in the proper functioning of the body.

1. Cognitive stimulation

The reason for the brain’s existence is none other than to constantly adapt to everything new that the day-to-day life has in store for us. That is why one of its main characteristics is that it never stays the same, it is constantly transforming, responding to the stimuli of the environment and the strategies we adopt to interact with what surrounds us.

This capacity by which the brain changes in real time is known as brain plasticity, and takes place at both the micro and macro levels, i.e. at the scale of neural connections and relationships between cellular and molecular structures, and at the scale of the tissues of the nervous system, which become visible to the human eye.

If our brain is that which we associate with the “I”, that means that we are constantly and literally transforming ourselves, and this even allows us to be able to recover from a wide variety of brain injuries: when one part is damaged, another part takes over the functions of those neurons that have died.

That’s why cognitive stimulation, exposing us to situations that make us think and feel in complex ways , is a way to take the initiative and increase our degree of health and well-being; doing that helps us connect parts of our brain that previously did not interact much with each other and from that moment on you will have the ability to act as a “bridge” between regions of the nervous system that in certain situations need each other to function well.

2. Don’t trust everything to genetics

Having a genetic configuration that makes it easy for us to have good health is a very important factor, it all works considering that there are some diseases that are very easy to inherit. However, we should not assume that the genetic factor is something that affects us unilaterally and without us being able to do anything to avoid it: our actions, in many cases, can greatly influence our well-being , and in certain cases even completely annul most of the harmful aspects of a pathology. The trick is to intervene in the way genes are expressed.

In this sense it has been seen that certain very simple habits contribute to these latent diseases appearing in their less severe versions or even never manifesting themselves. Among these actions that protect our health we find, for example, the adoption of sleep hygiene habits: sleeping enough and at regular times, without interruptions.

Similarly, regular exercise helps many people restore the biochemical balance of the brain that has been altered by genetically influenced disorders such as depression. And there are many more activities and routines that allow us to get the most out of what our DNA gives us as individuals .

3. Assessing the importance of focus

Knowing how to manage the focus well is also fundamental to modulate the way in which everything that wears down our well-being affects us. This not only has to do with how we relate to the symptoms of diseases we already have; it also affects their development and their ability to become chronic.

Being able to not let certain sources of discomfort become the centre of our lives is liberating and makes it possible for us to gain an autonomy that we would not otherwise have. It also opens the door for healing to come sooner.

Coaching, wellness and neuroscience: biology of observer change

If you want to learn more about this topic, you may be interested in the online course Coaching, wellness and neuroscience: biology of observer change , organized by the European School of Coaching. This is a training programme conducted live, on 5 consecutive Fridays from 14 February to 13 March 2020, and lasts a total of 15 hours.

It discusses diverse but interconnected topics such as suggestion, the placebo effect and attention regulation, epigenetic influences and their implications for health, the relationship between the heart and stress, and much more. Because of its contents and the way it brings together topics to offer a degree of global knowledge about the major health issues, this course can be of interest both to individuals who want to enhance their well-being and to professionals in the health sector.

To learn more about the course Coaching, Wellness and Neuroscience: Biology of Observer Change, access the contact details of the European School of Coaching by clicking here.

Bibliographic references:

  • Garcia-Gimenez, J.L. (2012). Epigenetics. The grammar of the genetic code: Journal of Feelsynapsis, ISSN 2254-3651.
  • Geutjes, E.; Bajpe, P.; Bernards, R. (2012). Targeting the epigenome for treatment of cancer. Oncogene, 31(34): pp. 3827 – 3844.
  • Guiney, H.; Machado, L. (2013). Benefits of regular aerobic exercise for executive functioning in healthy populations. Psychon Bull Rev. 20(1): pp. 73 – 86.
  • Pascual-Leone, A.; Freitas, C.; Oberman, L.; Horvath, J.C.; Halko, M.; Eldaief, M.; et al. (2011). Characterizing brain cortical plasticity and network dynamics across the age-span in health and disease with TMS-EEG and TMS-fMRI. Brain Topography. 24 (3-4): pp. 302 – 315.