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  • Writer's pictureNick Allen

Welcome to Zone 7

We all want to maximize happiness and minimize suffering, both in our own lives and in our communities. We make decisions through this common lens, but the strategies employed are varying. There is no right answer. For the math nerds out there, think of it like an integral. You want to maximize the area under the “contentment” curve, representing your net happiness over your lifetime (Figure 1).

This can be accomplished in many ways, whether it be by maintaining a moderate level of happiness for decades, or by alternating between extreme euphoria and deep depression. Some prioritize fulfillment each day, while others delay gratification with hopes that it will compound. In reality, there tend to be elements of all these cases. The majority of people will experience highs and lows, all the while trying to strike the perfect balance of living in the moment and setting themselves up for future contentment.

The two of us think often about how we can solve this seemingly unsolvable problem, not only in our own lives but in our society as a whole (see what a community integral would look like in Figure 2). This has been a key driving force behind the creation of Zone 7, through which we believe we can best develop and share all of our thinking on this subject. As one might expect, this implies a vast range of topics that we intend to span. However, we understand that we can’t be experts on everything, so the bulk of our work will be on what we consider high-yield subjects.

Though we are biased due to our backgrounds in health, we find this field immensely impactful at an individual and community level. Beyond the obvious benefits of physical and mental well-being, health and healthcare are intimately tied to the economic well-being of our society and each person within it. For example, a great deal of the wage stagnation we’ve experienced in recent decades can be attributed to rising healthcare costs for employers. Those without employer-based coverage don’t fare much better — estimates suggest that poor health or medical costs are a factor in around 500,000 individual bankruptcies every year in the United States.

While we’ll certainly explore policy and large-scale issues, the primary goal of Zone 7 is to help individuals and families make decisions that will allow them to improve performance, delay chronic disease, lower healthcare costs, and ultimately find contentment in their own lives. These goals are all within reach if we prioritize prevention and address the social determinants of health.

Readers can expect deep dives into the biology behind our health, evidence-based strategies for wellness, and — quite frankly — discussions of anything interesting we come across during our investigations. One thing is certain: our ideas will evolve as science progresses. The perspectives posted here are simply our best efforts to synthesize what we’re learning from today’s experts and their research. The search for answers is never-ending, but it is a journey that we truly enjoy. We hope that you’ll follow along, because any struggle is better when shared with others.


All content and information provided on or through this website is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute a professional service of any kind. This includes, but is not limited to, the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional healthcare services. The use of any information contained on or accessed through this website is at the user’s own risk. The material on this site or accessible through this site is not intended to be a substitute for any form of professional advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any health-related decisions or taking any health-related actions. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they have, and should seek the assistance of their healthcare professionals for any such conditions.


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