*Twenty-five percent of Americans under the age of eighteen have at least one chronic disease. A Mayo clinic study found that 70% of the total population is on at least one prescription drug. That’s a lot of sick people.
The odd reaction to that seems to be an acceptance that illness is normal because it’s common. There are a lot of memes popping up on social media that basically say “I know I have troubles. Accept my dysfunction.” I am here to beg you to please accept yourself, not your dysfunction. Dis-ease is a choice. If you are not sure what to do to change things, please read on.
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings are not “normal.”
- PMS is not a normal part of being female.
- Muscle aches, joint pains, memory loss, lack of concentration, and hearing loss are not normal signs of aging.
- Allergies, acne, eczema, and fatigue are not meaningless low level annoyances.
- Obesity is common. It is not normal or healthy.
- Waking up groggy, needing coffee to get your day started, and going through the day grumpy is not normal.
- If you must rigorously exercise to have focus, energy, and a good mood, your body is dis-eased.
- Insomnia is a sign of imbalance.
- Using alcohol to either wind down, numb out, or give you confidence is not normal.
All these things are signs that your body is not healthy. If you medicate the symptoms and accept them, your health will only continue to decline because medicine doesn’t eliminate the root cause in most cases (and in some cases it makes things worse). Medication only makes it easier for you to live (ill) with the symptoms. So, you go through life sick. A sick body is susceptible to further damage and disease.
The good news is, with most disease being due to lifestyle issues, health is a choice. That means, in most cases, you can be a lot better than you currently are simply by making different choices. What choices? Simply put, think of them as MEDDSS:
Stressful live events nearly double the risk of catching a cold. Women who experience severe emotional stress in the first trimester are 80% more likely to have a baby born with birth defects. Work related stress can double the risk of dying from heart disease. We can’t escape stress, but we can reduce both stress and the impact of stress through meditation. Meditation can help to reduce the physiological effects of stress and reset your nervous system.
Intense exercise actually revs up your tired adrenals to buy you energy that your body doesn’t have. Gentle, regular movement (like walking, swimming, tai chi, yoga, and qigong) keeps your joints supple, gives your brain a boost, increases energy, improves stamina, and helps to reduce the risk of many diseases. As with most things, moderation is the key.
Most Americans munch on a regular diet of poison. It’s not their fault, necessarily, because anyone who isn’t producing his own food is at the mercy of big agriculture. Most of what they serve up is full of antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and chemical preservatives or artificial colors. In fact, most of what is sold as food is actually food-like substances. It only resembles food, but has none of the nutritional value of real food.
If what you are eating doesn’t look close to the way it did when it was walking, crawling, flying, swimming or growing in the earth, don’t eat it. If it has a long shelf life, don’t eat it. Choose fresh alive food. “Let food be your medicine and medicine your food.” ~Hippocrates.
Unless you live in a bubble, you need to detox daily. Everything is polluted- the air, water, food supply, bath and body products, pharmaceuticals, clothes, the waterways, plastic containers, construction materials, electrical appliances… the list goes on and on. You can either work yourself up into a lather over it or you can limit your exposure and detox daily.
Type As often pride themselves on being able to “get by” on limited sleep, as if that is a sign of vigor. It’s not. That is a recipe for a quick trip to the grave. While there are always individual fluctuations from person to person, the average person needs eight hours of sleep. Sleep is when your brain goes into the rest and repair mode. This is necessary for physical rejuvenation, mental alertness, and emotional well-being. When you don’t get enough sleep, your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, obesity, cancer, and gastrointestinal disease also increases. Inability to sleep well is a sign that something is off.
When I say “spirituality,” I am talking about a connection to something outside of yourself. Spirituality can give your life meaning, help you to stay on an even emotional keel, can inspire you to pursue your dreams, and reduce the risk of disease. The inability to connect may be an indication that the body is not well as the mind and body are linked.
Obviously this is a simplification of what it takes to be well. A wellness “plan” can’t be crafted in an article, but this is a good place to start. If you are having trouble, start here. You can do this. Claim your health! Improving any one of these things should raise your baseline level of functioning so that you have the energy to work on other areas.
There are some conditions that require a little outside help (like emotional trauma, blows to the head, and just being so run down that you can’t help yourself). If I can help, let me know. It’s what I do.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (1996).