Constants vs. Variables
Just as I’m landing in Las Vegas so excited to get of the plane and onto my next flight to Toronto, where I’ll be the best man at my friend’s wedding, my stomach drops….
Growing up and being such a type A person, organized, making calculated decisions, I was upset when I realized what I had done…
I forgot my passport…and the wedding was the NEXT DAY…in a different country!!
Sometimes life hits us with circumstances which we have no control over, even when we are in someway at fault for those circumstances (HA!). These situations are better known as variables. What has occurred, can’t be undone. Most people react to these situations with intense anxiety and stress, also known as Fight or Flight response for those of you who remember from our health talks, which is exactly how I reacted when I got to the next gate in the Las Vegas airport and they wouldn’t let me board the plane to Toronto without my passport. Some of us might relate to this situation and you can only imagine the mix of emotions I was experiencing, not excluding stupidity and sorrow.
Now, what is done is done, but what we do have control over is how we react to these situations. This control that we possess is otherwise known as a constant. Obviously I couldn’t just make my passport appear in my hand in Las Vegas all the way from my room in California, but I was able to evaluate my resources and see what my options were in order to get my passport and still get to the wedding on time. In life, we have more control over how we react to circumstances than we realize. If you get a flat tire on the way to work, you can either yell and scream (that will really help!) explain to your boss why you missed half the day, or you can collect yourself and realize that you have a jack, tire iron and a spare tire in the trunk of your car; within 30 – 45 minutes you’ll be on your way and miss hardly any work.
When it comes to constants and variables, one of the prominent areas in our lives that this permeates is our health. Most of us how been instilled with the idea at a young age that our genes determine our destiny in regards to our health (myself included). While this might be true to some extent, the emerging field of epigenetics is showing that our genes alone do not dictate how our health, or lack thereof, is expressed. Epigenetics literally means “above the genes.” In essence, our environment, and how we adapt to it, plays a MUCH MUCH bigger role in our health than just our genes alone. For example, one might have the gene associated with breast cancer. Our previous thought process would have been that everyone with that gene will develop breast cancer, however we know this not to be true. Our environment in regards to our diet, exercise and many other facets are play as a much bigger determinant as to whether the breast cancer gene will be “expressed”, so to speak. The variable in this instance, would be the fact that one has the gene for breast cancer. It is a situation where you have no control over being born with that gene; it is the matter (literally the material!) which you were born with! What is constant, however, is your ability to make conscious decisions in regards to proper diet, exercise, mental health exercises and so many other things that play a MAJOR role in regards to whether unfavorable genes ever get the chance to be expressed. This is just one of many examples I could have used.
At the end of the day, having access to quality information allows individuals and families to take ownership and make quality decisions in regards to their health and not feel that they have to live in a fear mentality of one day living out an inevitable outcome.
This is one constant that we have consistent control over!