Back around 2010, I decided to write and publish a book about the effect of exercise on mental health. It’s an area of interest that I had had since I was a teenager, and I was passionate about the potential for exercise to positively impact the mind, because I had lived it, seen it, and studied it. I did research for many years leading up to the book, informally for 10 and formally for 5, and published “Movement & Meaning: Building Mental Strength and Managing Stress through Exercise” in August of 2015, two years ago. Since that time, I’ve also published a book about work, called “Healthy Work: Putting the Good Back into Work”, which applies holistic health principles to the work place.
When I started blogging and writing about health, I had no idea where this journey would take me. I always had an intuitive feeling that health was more than just a numbers game, numbers as in bodyweight, bodyfat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and so on. Little did I know, until I started digging deeper and deeper into the relationship between mental, physical, and spiritual health, how completely connected those things are. True Health, I came to learn, just like it’s original root word from Greek, means healing or wholeness.
We do not live in a healthy culture. This affects our health as individuals because if we do not live in a culture that promotes health, with which we can identify and live in harmony with, we will likely latch on to all sorts of pathologies and addictions. For the relatively poor and disadvantaged, this seems to happen in an almost automatic fashion as our culture continues to polarize and disintegrate around us, exacerbating even further the cultural divide between rich and poor, stable and unstable, and haves and have nots. An unhealthy and hollowed out culture is particularly cruel and self-perpetuating to the less fortunate.
I came to see more clearly with every book I read, every experience I had, and with every research article I analyzed, that without a clear path of a life with positive limits set before us, which we can successfully follow, we often substitute authentic, meaningful, and positive, life-affirming decisions with self-destruction. Culture should push us towards health but now it does the opposite, our culture promotes unhealthiness, even death. One thing I kept encountering frequently in my years of research on mental health again and again was addiction, anxiety, depression, neuroticism, and narcissism. These are the pathologies of our age and they show up as excess, compulsion, self-destruction, and a sense of meaninglessness.
As I wrote about in Movement & Meaning, clearly the best way to deal with stress is to become a stronger individual, inside and out. The problem is that our culture promotes just the opposite- disorder, weakness, instant gratification, hedonism, jealousy, immaturity, and entitlement. Instead of developing individual agency – the ability to act, which is one of the defining characteristics of a healthy individual, we are doing the opposite, becoming more and more dependent and unformed into healthy, mature adults. What I slowly came to realize in the years after writing this first book is that despite all the American talk of “individual freedom”, we are not becoming stronger, freer, and healthier individuals at all. Rather, we are becoming less free, for a variety of reasons. That’s when I decided that I had to write a book about Freedom.
Freedom sounds good on paper. We all want to be free, but no one seems to know how to get there or even what it means. Freedom was not an easy topic to write about, but again, I learned a lot in the process. Studying freedom leads from one subject to another- from psychology to biology. From biology to evolution. From evolution to history. From history to theology. From theology to philosophy, and then back to psychology and on to culture, politics, and law, and on and on.
There really is only one subject. All knowledge and truth are related in some way. The bottom line is this: because of the situation we find ourselves in, freedom doesn’t happen automatically, and it doesn’t happen without effort. But it can be found. Freedom takes desire, work, and ironically, it requires structure, something we are severely lacking. Paradoxically, there is no freedom without rules and the healthy individual wants healthy rules and the unhealthy individual doesn’t.
I wrote this book to help you find freedom. I want you to live healthy and live free, every day.
I learned as much writing this book as I’ve ever learned in a two-year period of my life. I was on this journey too. If you take this journey, and read this book, I guarantee you, you’ll see a clear path to freedom.
The name of this book will be called “Life 3.0: Living Healthy & Living Free (TM).” This is the exciting part. In the book, I created some time frames to grasp what’s happening and why we’re becoming less free:
The pre-modern age was Life 1.0: The Communal Age
The modern age, the age we’re in now, is Life 2.0: The Age of the Individual Age
Where we must go, to be healthy and free, is “Life 3.0: Living Healthy & Living Free (TM)”.
What is so exciting is that this book and philosophy will lay out a specific plan for you, drawing on the best of both previous ages, learning from the past and looking optimistically to the future. Inside the book will be a plethora of teachings on health and a clear path you can take with identifiable steps to freedom and health.
Life 3.0 will be exciting, fulfilling, and adventurous, for those who choose to embrace it, despite what is happening in the culture. Look for this book sometime early in 2018! Life 3.0: Living Healthy & Living Free
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