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Introduction to Behavior

  • Main Ideas

    Learning Objective

    Understand the aspects of Behavior, the choices we make and why.

    Behavioral Objective

    Exchange negative habits for healthier ones.

    Key Thought

    Many of our invisible barriers are built from what we assume to be normal.

  • Main Ideas

    Learning Objective

    Understand the aspects of Behavior, the choices we make and why.

    Behavioral Objective

    Exchange negative habits for healthier ones.

    Key Thought

    Many of our invisible barriers are built from what we assume to be normal.


I think the most appropriate and fun way to start this Wellness course off is to go over some of the peculiar behavioral issues that humans exhibit including Dr. Jamie Wright, the human writing this course.

It's important to understand the behavioral aspects because you're going to face barriers that seem invisible in terms of why you are not able to change or why you change for a while and then you can't seem to sustain it. Understanding that you're not abnormal and that you're human just like everybody else. Who is out there trying to change can give you more hope and the ability to persist, through the phases of change that we all must go through and experience.

So I hope this is informative to you and gives you some insight as you attempt to progress your health and well-being.

Changing Behavior

The catalyst for change is often either extreme pain or an extreme desire, an overwhelming pain or overwhelming desire. The foot in your back or a big golden carrot out in front of you, something you desire and that you're going to go after having despite all obstacles, and I think we've all experienced both of those.

Certainly human behavior for most people would favor extreme pain or painful issues as the primary driver of change, but it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, what I'd like to do, regardless of whether you're in an extreme pain situation or you see an overwhelmingly wonderful opportunity in front of you to optimize your health and then benefit from the achievements that Optimal Health will bring you, start off this course with some ideas as to what you get out of the change and really think and dwell on those benefits and what the life that you have been living says. If you have 50% less pain, 80% less pain, 20% more energy, 50% energy like you had when you were in your 20s. That's where I want your mindset and your thinking to be as you begin and move throughout this course.

What do you get when things are better? When you've made the changes? When you've done the work to make things better.

My Why

My wife started out in my mid-30s when I was an OBGYN physician and had four small children and I found myself in this situation with a sick wife. My wife had become suddenly and not maybe not so suddenly, but it seemed to tip over quite suddenly. But I found myself with an ill wife, and 4 small children. I was very fatigued, tired, and burned out from my work as an OBGYN.

We weren't finding any good answers after about a year and a half of working with my wife, from a traditional Health perspective, and using other very good doctors. No one seemed to really understand what was going on with her. In some sense, we were just getting bad medicine. And we ask the question, why? What's really going on here? What assumptions were we making about life and her health and our overall health that were incorrect and were holding us back from going down a new path?

My background is originally as an OBGYN. I was board certified. And during this time of seeking better answers to my wife's health. I did a number of educational changes, including a fellowship in anti-aging and regenerative medicine and an amount of on a Master's degree in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine, which was a great but not necessary foundation to make the changes that we needed to make to see how improvements.

One of the things that I think is really important is to understand that I'm not necessarily correct here. This is my view. My experience, my opinions, and there are many paths to the same destination. But I think the one thing that I would say that I stand on that is correct, is that if you are going to achieve greater health and well-being, it is going to be because you achieved it. You set out to understand yourself, your health, and the holistic aspect of your life in greater depth and detail and you made the changes. There's no pill potion, magic serum, doctor, lab test that's going to likely answer all the questions that you have and provide you with the information that you need, and at the end of the day, even if it did reveal something tremendous, you still have to do the work to make the progress.

So be encouraged. You can do this.

Do we make decisions that are in our best interest?

I think we all recognize that there is a big element of personal resonsibility. Most of us appear to "know" that we are contributing to our health problems... so, why are we not able to change? This appears to be very much an age-old dilemma!

Humans have done peculiar things for a long time, probably forever we've been in existence and there's a Bible verse that translates in, "Instead, I do what I hate. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." - Romans 7:15

Dr. Wright's Cinnamon Roll

So, I am the metabolic expert right... you'd think that, if anyone would be likely to make optimal decisions and exert his will over a temptation, it would be someone like me... there is no more knowledge that I could have that would convince me that there is a certain way to eat and live.

I was in a coffee shop one day, years ago, when I was really beginning to try to understand what was going on with human behavior. It was really in an effort to try to help my patients make changes that they were struggling to make to solve many of the complex, chronic conditions that I was addressing at the time. I was sitting in a coffee shop, doing some writing and I looked over and saw a fellow coffee shop goer eating this beautiful cinnamon roll and it was interesting what happened. I had this level of awareness about what my brain was doing and my brain sought and my brain wanted it. In fact, my brain gave me signals to suggest that I actually needed it.

I saw a stranger eating a cinnamon roll... And my brain said, "you want that..."; "you need that..."; "you are GOING TO HAVE THAT..."

Now, this just happened in a flash. You all know what I mean right... this is more of a nearly invisible round of conscious and unconscious (emotional) communication going on that leads almost instantly to the decision that you are going to get the cinnamon roll, even when there is a part of your conscious brain telling you that you should not.

Should've, could've, would've... none of that matters, does it?

So, what did I do? Maybe the real question is "What shapes our choices?"

"Why did I do it?"

Subliminal Influences

So, what did I do? Well, I honestly can't remember, but I probably got a cinnamon roll and ate it. But what does the cinnamon roll story tell us? It tells us a lot about our consumer marketplace. This kind of world that we live in that we think is normal, but really isn't. This world where much of our economy relies on consumers, us individuals buying things. And this problem is really everywhere, and even the experts like myself who"know better" are challenged by it and the consumer marketplace provides us plenty of products and opportunities that allow us to do things that we really don't want. Buy things that we really don't want or buy things that we really want from a carnal standpoint, but we really don't need.

And there's big health consequences, financial consequences, relationship consequences, and I'd say, even spiritual consequences of this type of behavior.

The wellness world is kind of the opposite and I think this is one of the biggest challenges of making headway in the wellness place because we're trying to sell people or tell people things they really need. But in many ways, they don't want, most of us want to feel vibrant energy every day, have great relationships and have plenty of money. Now, this lack of or an absence of money worries but we still somehow believe that we can live the way that most of us live in this culture and get some different results.

So what we're going to talk about is going to challenge many of the ways that you currently live, as certainly it did me. It wasn't until I realized that I could not have what I really wanted, which is a healthy wife, family energy, and just frankly to get the disease out of our life once and for all, wasn't until I realized that I had to change things in a deeper way.

Many of the day-to-day behaviors and assumptions, how we shop at the grocery store, and that's driven by how we think about what's normal.

fresh avocado sliced into halves fresh avocado sliced into halves

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The Activities section contains easy and fun, personal activities that enhance learning and encourage participation and discussion. Activities help to turn the knowledge acquired from the Read, Watch and Quiz sections into personal actions that over time become sustainable, healthier lifestyle behaviors.

Course Outline

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