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I believe health is a balanced operation of the different functions of the body, the different functions of the mind, and functions of the individual in society. In the body, we have to balance the priority and energy we put into eating and digestion, into healing and repair, into defense, into respiration, into reproduction, into locomotion and exploration and sensation. In the mind, we have to balance how we organize attention, motivation, different emotional impulses, and our cognitive skills in categorization, predicting and planning. In society, we have different roles regarding our family and our community, our work. We have to balance needs for love, respect, self-esteem, being productive, and contributing to a greater whole.

Our bodies, our minds, our selves all naturally seek a balance and compensate automatically when imbalance occurs. Starting with our native genetics, we develop different body habits, mental habits, and social habits to attain our needs, yet we may also find that some of these habits hinder attaining other goals. - How our body balances the storage of food as fat for managing stress with the need to expend energy to manage our hectic lives. - How our emotions balance keeping us safe from danger with the need to explore and work in situations where we do not have enough information to know what might happen. - How our needs for intimacy with a partner or family member balance with needs for independence and self-determination.

Because we learn our habits, I believe that each individual must also work to unlearn their habits when they become counterproductive or even destructive. Although others can serve the role of introducing new ideas, new behaviors, or new patterns, a new habit requires continued work and new growth. Furthermore, the work and growth needs to be sustainable. Many successful interventions, whether dietary, surgical, or behavioral, eventually fail if a new habit and a new pattern is not created.

Sustaining new patterns can be difficult, especially in older people, because there are many interconnected patterns in place that may reinforce the old pattern. To create truly successful change, all the connected patterns must make changes: behavioral habits, social habits, even reflexes trained deep into the body and brain.

Health is not constant growth and change. Health is a balance between growth, adaptation, and learning on one hand, and rest, consolidation, and mastery on the other. We need both sides of this balance so we can grow and find new things, as well as remember and build upon the old.