The Anatomy of a Habit (part 1)

Smoking  

Before we can get into some strategies and tricks to change our habits, we need to first understand what a habit is.

 

By design, habits are a good thing. We have two parts of the brain, the conscious and subconscious, working independently toward the same goal… to serve the host.  We all like to believe that our conscious mind runs the show. If we do something, then it’s because we chose to… right?  Not really, about 45% of our daily actions are a result of habit.

 

All Habits are Good!

First, it’s important to know that ALL habits are good. “What? You are an idiot. So you’re saying that habits like smoking are good?” Yep

 

A habit is usually born out of a conscious decision to take action. Maybe our smoker thought it would make him look cool in high school.

 

Over time, that action is handed over to the subconscious to handle in a more automated fashion, freeing up the conscious mind to do what it does best… think. Isn’t it great that we...

Skin: Take Control of Premature Aging

aging skin
Let’s get right to the nitty gritty. There are several very well documented causes of premature aging and good science beyond what we all can do to stop, or even reverse those effects. You’ll notice that a lot of these overlap. I’m not going into detail, but tobacco use and excess alcohol can both be major contributors to premature aging of the skin.  

Too Much Sun

A little sun is great and allows our bodies to produce much needed Vitamin D. Over time, too much sun exposure can lead to premature aging in several ways. The primary way is by damaging collagen (firmness) and elastin (elasticity). It does this by increasing an enzyme responsible for degrading collagen called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). If that’s not enough, it can increase inflammation, damage DNA, damage keratinocytes, and increase oxidative stress by decreasing antioxidant levels in the skin.

 

Too Much Sugar

Ok, so you already knew about the sun, but have you ever heard of glycation? Diets high in sugar can cause problems that...

Stress and Cancer

Other studies have shown a connection between stress and cancer, thereby making stress a risk factor for cancer. This new study first analyzed samples from 300 breast-cancer patients. They found a direct association between the activation of a stress gene called ATF3 in certain immune cells, with the spread of cancer cells.

 

Next, they tested mice that were either normal or could not express the ATF3 gene. The cancer in the normal mice metastasized to the lungs much faster and to a greater degree. The ATF3 gene creates an ATF3 protein used to signal other genes to turn on or off. Using the mice data, researchers were able to find an ATF3 gene “signature”, which may be used to help predict cancer mortality risks.

 

There are several ways to turn on the ATF3 gene in addition to chronic stress… some others are; high fat diets, UV damage, radiation, chemo, and even stress signals from the cancer cells themselves.

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