Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Getting Down To The Nitty-Gritty Of It

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." -World Health Organization

Why do you want to become healthier? Why do you stay healthy? And how is genuine health even possible when you consider how much of the human population is struggling with chronic diseases? If you pay attention to the news, there's always some outbreak of a new virus, or another drug recall, or a story about the US's overwhelming statistics regarding obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and much more. A healthy population seems to be too daunting a task to even manage. I mean, where do you start??

Health Starts with YOU
No one can be healthy for you. Exercise, nutrition, sleep, relationships, spiritual needs... these must all be experienced and cultivated for yourself, by yourself. That is not to say that there aren't any external factors when you make changes to your Health. You may be motivated by friends, family, coworkers, circumstances, but ultimately you are the one that will reap the immediate benefits of making smarter choices. And if you are aware of how much you are influenced by others, perhaps you taking your health under your control will lead others to follow your model. Brag about your health! Take pride in it! Talk about it with enthusiasm, because others will see just how easy it is to make lasting changes. How often have you tried something that worked for someone close to you because of how ecstatic they were when they talked about it? Would you take the advice of someone that talks about a new eating plan or exercise routine or an alternative form of health care like a chiropractic adjustment or an acupuncture session with joy and excitement? Most likely!

Health Must Become a Public Priority
Public opinion must be shifted towards the methods that will sustain a natural lifestyle. A healthy body is one that fights disease, resulting in "symptoms". Symptoms are the expression of a system that is attempting to alert Master Control that there's a problem. If those alerts are ignored by us as individuals or masked with drugs prescribed by doctors, then how can you react to them and make the appropriate changes? How is that health care?

After a while, one would assume that there wouldn't be any new topics to mention when it comes to healthy, preventative, natural living. There are certainly times where it feels like we're hitting a wall when it comes to how many people we can reach when every 5th ad on TV or in a magazine or on the radio is for a drug or a quick-fix approach to problems that have been decades in the making, and therefore can't really be efficiently addressed by these superficial solutions. The medical community has an enormous platform from which they can preach their excellence... whether it's valid or not.

But consider a few things:
  1. Chiropractic is 100+ years old. Acupuncture is 3,000 years old. There’s evidence that reflexology was used in ancient Egypt. And yet they have  never been recalled. How many different drugs and joint replacements (hip, knee) can you name that have been recalled in that time? How about within the last month?
  2. Within the last generation, the consumption of processed food products with high-fructose corn syrup and gluten added has skyrocketed... as well as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, Autism, arthritis, migraines, depression, and fibromyalgia.
  3. Within the last generation, physical education courses in schools across the country have had their funding slashed, not to mention the limited opportunities school-aged kids have to engage in sports and competitive programs, resulting in sabotaging our following generation.
  4. Rather than treat simple problems with simple solutions like consistent massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, proper nutrition, and regular exercise, drug and insurance companies are more likely to fund costly prescription drugs and surgeries. They are companies and are therefore profit motivated.

Making the Shift
There's a popular misconception that because it's been chemically altered or "enhanced", it's somehow better for us. Foods should have unnatural products as part of their ingredient list. It's alright if it's everywhere and in everything I consume, isn't it? It's safe to drown our tissues in drugs because our doctor prescribed it, and they're smart-- they went to medical school, after all. This costly and dangerous surgery that my surgeon recommends and my insurance company will pay for... kinda... is the only way I can relieve the pain and symptoms I've been feeling. It's mainstream, so it must be safe.

Mainstream is popular by its very definition. But that doesn't mean it's right. Humans are socially conscious beings, capable of making gigantic changes to their views and attitudes. It takes more than the occasional visit to a health foods store, but even though the task may seem daunting, it is not insurmountable.

Start by making your health your first priority. That can be the biggest obstacle. It's easy to procrastinate, hoping that things will stay "good" if they're ignored. But most life-threatening diseases and less-dramatic-yet-equally-exhausting-illnesses are easily preventable with regular maintenance. If it seems selfish to you to be putting your needs first, then that's your first step: identify why. Why shouldn't you take care of yourself? What is more important than your unique body? Who is expecting you to sacrifice your well being for theirs?

Stymied as to how to change? Use social networking. Your friends and family (if they're supportive) will eagerly give you the encouragement you need to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. Plus, there are an abundance of online resources to help you achieve your goals.

Once you're confident that you've worked alternative treatments, regular sleep, good nutrition, and consistent exercise into your new lifestyle and are seeing results, brag about it. No. Seriously. Brag about it... to as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. Brag about how much better you're feeling, how little you need to rely on damaging drugs and surgeries, and how much better life has become now that you're free of the burden of poor health. Talk about what's working for you and why it's so effective. One reason shows like "The Biggest Loser" are so popular is because you witness the process and can come to the realization that true health isn't as challenging as you might have once thought. Your journey to Wellness can be just as helpful to those around you and can serve as motivation for their own transformation. 

Don't keep your good health to yourself! 

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