The grip of popular media is powerful. Commercials tell you what you should do, wear, eat, look like, smell like, enjoy, think – about everything. Meanwhile, our “science-based” culture emphasizes means/averages for everything. How’s your blood pressure? Is it “normal?”
What about your cholesterol, blood sugar, temperature, physiognomy, physiology, anatomy, mood, temperament, etc.?
Are you eating the RDA of your vitamins? 5 fruits and veggies a day?
While these measures can be useful guides, they can also divert us from what I believe is the most important business of life – to constantly be becoming who you are.
You are a unique organism on this planet. While you may share the characteristics of your fellow human beings, there are probably many ways in which you are significantly different from them. Here are a few possible areas of divergence:
- Your bone structure
- Your muscular composition
- Your response to stress
- Your predisposition for different diseases
- Your natural energy level
- Your temperament
- Your preferred bedtime – your unique Circadian and other rhythms
These are just a few, very basic, areas where you might be very different from everyone you know.
That being said, I think it’s important to be who you are. Be as much who you are as you can be. Explore all of the things that really grab you. Do the activities that you find most interesting. Read the books and see the movies that appeal to you the most. Forget what the “critics” say. They’re just trying to convince you to like what they like, or to buy what they sell.
And don’t think twice about it.
If you’re engaging in an exercise program, do the exercise that speaks to you the most. Yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, weightlifting…whatever appeals to you. I will give you the easiest tool for getting back in touch with your body through exercise – track your heart rate.
I use the Timex Ironman Triathlon (and no, they aren’t paying me for saying that). It’s a great wristwatch, and comes with a heart rate strap. And for the quality and features, it’s CHEAP!
Figure out your target heart rate zone, and exercise in 1-minute heart rate intervals. One minute of work in your target zone, followed by one minute of rest. Go through four or six times. Or, go steady-state for a certain amount of time. Switch it up. Have fun. Learn to tell by the way you feel where your heart rate is registering.
Another great thing you can do with your heart rate is tell whether or not you should take another day off from your workout. If you take your resting heart rate every morning when you wake up (preferably before you rise), and figure out what your own personal “normal” is, you’ll know that you should take a day off when your resting heart rate is 5 beats above or below that number.
If you need proof of your inherent uniqueness, read the book Biochemical Individuality, by Roger Williams.