The magic fix
Something that has always interested me is the lack of balance and moderation in society. Everything has to be bigger, better and especially faster. This last one is also the territory of what I call ‘the magic fix’, which is the desire of people to have a quick and easy solution to their problems, especially when it comes to their health.
One of the most extreme examples is from an acquaintance of mine. He loved to party and used to use drugs and drink every week, if not more than once a week. It seemed to be never enough for him. Lately, a change happend in his life, which made him realize this was not the way to go. Therefore, he stopped doing drugs and he stopped drinking. In order to maintain this behavior, he also stopped going out, which isolated him from his friends.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think he could not have made a better decision in changing his lifestyle. However, he went from 200% to zero. I think this will be less sustainable for someone who is as impulsive as he is. This is of course the trouble with addiction; there is no in between anymore. Thus, he had no choice but to quit it all in order to stay off drugs. The magic fix here is quitting cold turkey without the help of professionals that provide him with support and a process to hold onto. A more careful, balanced approach is often more successful.
Supplements for happiness
To keep in the subject of drugs, I also see people to go to extremes to maintain this behavior. I mentioned one of the dangerous consequences of this in my article about The Happy Brain diet. Here I mentioned people taking 5-HTP pills to ingest serotonine to counter the negative balance created by for instance XTC, without knowing the dangers that can bring. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a glass of wine now and then. However, after a night of drinking, I also know to accept the consequences. Taking 5-HTP to counter these negative consequences is a way that make people feel like they can control their lives. It prohibits them from accepting that it is natural that there is always a downside to the upside of these consumables.
Another magic fix I recently heard about was a practice called Kambo. During Kambo, they use the toxins of green tree frog from the Amazons to draw out toxins in the body. Before a session, you should not drink or do drugs. Afterwards, you should live as clean as possible to recover. During the process, people have been known to throw up, get stomach aches and their heads can swell up. However, it is said to draw out toxins, help with mental and physical illnesses and give energy to people who receive it.
Now bear in mind, I have never tried Kambo and to be honest, I probably never will as well. Why? Because it sounds like a magic fix to me. By going through a horrific experience of vomiting because of toxic frog poison that is brought in through wounds made into your body, people believe that suddenly, their whole body will be healed.
This is probably based on the assumption they will not achieve happiness any other way. They seek out an extreme in order to get to the other side. A reason for this that I found, was that the other way of getting there is much harder. It’s much more unsure and therefore, much scarier. Working your ass off to maintain healthy relationship, achieve pride by working hard and really looking to yourself and how you are holding yourself back is scary. It takes long and you don’t always know what the right way is. So Kambo seems to take all those problems away. However, I don’t think life works that way: there is no quick and easy solution to happiness. Nor should there be.
Now, this all sounds a bit out there. Only a small majority looks for those magical solutions… right?
But how about the careless use of medicine? ADHD medication for busy children or to simply get a boost of energy, Ibuprofen for a little headache or multivitamins instead of a healthy diet. What is that all about? These are all symptoms of the same underlying problem; we won’t accept that sometimes, taking care of ourselves takes work and time. It is not solvable with a pill or two. Now don’t get me wrong, I take multivitamins once in a while, when my immune systems isn’t at its best. However, I don’t think they should be an excuse to stop eating healthy, which happens a lot.
And how about those extreme diets? Diets that prescribe the dieter to stop eating fats or carbohydrates, or that only prescribe fluid foods. Of course they will work in the short term, but that is not a sustainable or healthy way of losing weight. And even if you don’t care about your health, why would you put yourself through that if the weight loss is not sustainable? Why not chose the hard way and change your lifestyle; start exercising, start looking for healthy, easy recipes. That is why I came up with The Happy Brain diet, which is not really a diet, but more of an overview of foods that you should, in my opinion, strive towards eating regularly, that help the body function optimally. In the end, eating healthy is not that hard; it is all just about balance.
The next ‘normal’ magic fix in my opinion is a little more controversial. It is on the topic of absolute lifestyles, like zero-waste living or veganism. In saying this, I don’t mean to say that we, as a society, shouldn’t be more aware of the foods we eat or the amounts of useless waste we produce. I think it is very important to do that. However, I do not think that trying to convert people to these lifestyles will ever make enough of an impact, since it is not ‘easy’ behaviour.
Therefore, people will only adhere to it when they are extremely invested. And let’s be fair: most people aren’t. Instead of these extremes, I think it would be better to focus on the little steps people can take to eat less unsustainable foods or to use more reusable products. This way, if these small things become the next ‘normal’, we can make much more impact, since a lot more people are doing it. However, less waste or ‘flexitarian’ are less definable concepts, which makes us uneasy. What are the rules in a society where you should produce ‘less’? How much less and what are the first things to change? Therefore, people find it often easier to ‘go big or go home’, but is that really the way to a responsible society? I don’t think so.
But why is this so important to me? It all started when a Dutch comedian, Javier Guzman, told me in his show that around the time of that show, there were exactly as much people that were dying of hunger as there were people with obesity. Then he asked the question: “What do you want me to say about that? There is a balance in the kilo’s?” This struck me. How do we live in a world where there is only balance if you take the two most extreme ends of a spectrum? And if that is the case, how can we still be surprised that stress levels seem to rise, mental illness is such a big topic and diseases spread that can directly be linked to the effects of prosperity?
Don’t get me wrong: I love to sometimes seek out the edges of life and be a little stupid. I work too hard sometimes. Sometimes, I eat unhealthy. I drink too much sometimes. And some nights, I sleep too little. I could not live without a regular rush of energy and adrenalin that windsurfing gives me, even with some risks.
However, in general, I try to live a balanced life and to incorporate things in my life to make that easier. I have a lot of quick and easy healthy recipes. Also, I have an alarm so that I go to sleep early enough when I have to work the next morning. And to top it off, I accept the consequences when I do go out of line. It is like my dad always says: if you can drink like a big girl, you have to face the hangover like a big girl. If you are adult enough to do stupid things, you should also be adult enough to deal with the backlash later. That means no magic fix, like pills or powders, to up my serotonin or to cure the headaches. It means lots of water and waiting until my body has processed the alcohol.
Lots of love,
LisaHome » All posts »