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Burn-out! The 4 lives to live

The burn-out I am experiencing presently is the reason I cannot serve a Bisi- original today. Physical exhaustion from writing books and columns! But this alert is good. With the current pace of life all over the world, burn out afflicts many people – rich man, poor man, CEO, sweeper, Governor, minister, all. Here, health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses revelations of another expert in a book. 

A man (and a woman too) has four lives to live, the experts say. They are: physical life, spiritual life, work life, relationship life. Lack of balance of all four could lead to a burn-out.

Burn-out is becoming a more common problem around the world. How can you avoid it or recover from it if you’ve already hit the proverbial wall? Dr. Joseph Maroon, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, has written a book from his own struggles with burnout, setbacks and depression after he’d become a world-class neurosurgeon before the age of 40.

He said: “Soon after becoming chief of neurosurgery at a major university hospital, I [cracked]. My father died, my wife and children left me, I had to quit my profession as a neurosurgeon due to the overwhelming stress … all within one week … The next week, I [was] helping my mother run a rather dilapidated truck stop left to her by my father in Wheeling, West Virginia, living on a farm.

One day I was doing brain surgery and [the next] literally filling up 18-wheelers and flipping hamburgers in a rundown truck stop. It was a great fall. It was kind of like an Icarian metaphor of flying too near the sun. I got scorched and I plummeted into the sea — a sea of depression.”

Recognizing Burnout

Maroon went through all of the symptoms of burnout, which are now reported in 50 percent of physicians: emotional and physical exhaustion, loss of perspective, depression and a lack of connection to his work. In “Square One,” Maroon describes how after he’d reached rock bottom, he rediscovered a book he’d received years before as a high school prize. Written by William H. Danforth, the thin book, “I Dare You,” became a real turning point:

“What Danforth emphasized was that balance is the most important thing to attain, to live life as a whole person,” Maroon says. “To attain balance, you have to really take into consideration, what are your priorities, what you do, speak and interact with on daily basis.

Balance requires you prioritize the social side or family, the spiritual side and the physical side, including diet in equal terms as your work side. Danforth depicts this concept as a square with four equal sides.”

Square One: Regaining Balance

Danforth emphasizes that you have not one but four lives to live, and these four entities make up the sides of a square: Physical life, Spiritual life, Work life, Relationship life.

When Maroon analyzed how much time he spent on each of these, he realized the problem: There was no family, spirituality or physical sides to his existence because he had become consumed by his work.

Resilience Is Developed Through Adversity

Many biological and physical stressors — including exercise, fasting and thermogenesis — activate genes that produce very positive metabolic factors. Maroon’s book, “Square One,” discusses the concept of epigenetics and the metabolic factors that are activated by each side of the square.   

Keeping the four sides of the square in balance is key — the physical, work, spiritual and social sides of life. The most important aspects of this is mindful awareness of all four sides and the ability to handle adversity and stress.

How to Regain Balance and Recover From Burnout

So, how do you prevent or recover from burnout? There is sound evidence that the best ways are through exercise, a healthy diet that optimizes mitochondrial function and limits inflammation, mindfulness, and stress reduction.

“You need exercise. You need a degree of meditation and spirituality. You need to avoid the environmental toxins … If you look at people who live to be centenarians, more than any place else, where are they? Okinawa, Sardinia, Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California.

They all have in common a healthy diet and physical work. They work hard, which is their physical activity. They live in areas generally with fewer environmental toxins. They control stress with, usually, a very strong family unit, spirituality, religion or meditation.

All those things are mindfulness. All reduce stress, the excess cortisol, and try to keep our bodies in balance … I personally returned to the principles of Christianity — helping and reaching out to others. I think that’s a key portion. We give but little when we give up our possessions. It’s when we give up ourselves that we truly give. It’s getting out of yourself. It’s not me, me, me all the time. It’s [about] reaching out to others,” advised Maroon.

Avoiding Toxins-be careful with cell phones

In addition to these approaches to address burnout, I must also address the need to avoid toxins such as alcohol, contaminated water, air pollution and food pesticides.

While not covered in Maroon’s book, one of the most dangerous toxins out there most people are not aware of is microwave radiation from cell phones, cell phone towers and Wi-Fi routers. While it would be virtually impossible to eliminate these things at this point, it’s important to use them wisely and to guard against excessive exposure.

The primary concern with cellphone use is not related specifically to brain tumors. In fact, that idea can even be counterproductive as most people don’t know cellphone users who have brain cancer.

The real danger lies in damage from the reactive nitrogen species peroxynitrite that these microwaves generate in your body. Increased peroxynitrite from cellphone exposure will damage your mitochondria, thereby increasing your risk of all cancers — not just brain cancer — as well as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

You can have the best diet, the best exercise, the best meditation and spiritual practice, and the best sleeping habits. Yet, if you’re consistently exposing your body to excessive levels of this radiation that you cannot see, hear or feel (unless you’re electrosensitive), you’re going to incur mitochondrial damage and will invariably die prematurely as a result of this exposure. This becomes quite clear when you study the literature, and there’s no way around it. You simply have to take precautions to limit unnecessary exposure.


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