At a recent social gathering, several people were talking about the current health care crisis. They went on and on about the increased costs, longer wait times and reduced quality of care.
Finally. knowing my professional background, one of them asked me my opinion on their discussion. Never shying away from an opportunity to offer my spin on the topic, I shared the following suggestion:
"The solution to our current health care crisis has nothing to do with Senators, Congressman or health care bills. It has everything to do with you. By choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, you play a direct part in the solution; my avoiding your personal responsibility to take care of yourself, you become a part of the problem."
On the surface, the increases in heart disease, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol would make it appear that good health is an aberration rather than the natural order of things. But analyze the situation more closely and you'll find that healthy days far out number sick ones. Your body wants to be healthy IF you don't interfere by subjecting it to unhealthy habits. But how do you really achieve good physical and mental health that goes well beyond just the absence of being sick?
Beyond Just Crisis Management
Long term good health comes from taking care of yourself long before a crisis develops. Waiting to do something only after the crisis has arrived is commonly called the "band-aid" approach to feeling good. Sickness is really just the final stages of many missed opportunities to take care of yourself. Lack of quality sleep, no regular exercise program, poor food choices and a high-stress lifestyle can all deplete your reserves and create an opportunity to illness.
Sickness is many times the body's only way of telling you that something is very wrong with your lifestyle. In some situations, a simple illness may actually be beneficial forcing you to rest and recharge. Your body can only take so much stress and strain and then something has to give.
Taking Responsibility for Yourself
Personally, I would rather choose my rest periods somewhere on a warm and sunny beach than sitting in doctor's office or hospital. What about you? The best way to take back responsibility for your health is to throw away the "band-aid" approach and introduce some prevention. By not relying upon short term fixes for long-term problems, you feel better and are able to enjoy life more. It's your body; it's your health, demand the very best for yourself.
For 2012, choose better lifestyle habits that keep chronic illness at bay while allowing you to feel and look your best.
Yes, You Choose Your Lifestyle
It was once a popular belief that we had little control over our health. However, research continues to confirm that your health and well-being is about 75 percent nurture (your lifestyle) and about 25% nature (your genes). That means that you have the power to live a long and healthy life based on the lifestyle decisions you make today. Here are four important lifestyle choices you can make every day. They will help you take more responsibility for your health while you feel and look your beat.
Step 1: Stay Active
Participating in fun physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce stress and fill your body and mind with vitality. Having fun with your physical activity is more important than the type of exercise you try. You'll increase the chance of participating for a long time if you make your physical activity more social. Invite your family or friends along to exercise, Frisbee in the park or for a nice walk or other activity adventure.
Step 2: Get a Good Night's Sleep
Sleep has always and will always be important to your good health. Although experts agree you need sleep, most disagree on how much. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. To improve your sleep quality, take the necessary time at night to relax before bedtime. No watching television right before bed. Taking a nap is another good way to increase rest time.
Step 3: Make Time for Yourself
You will want to make time for your various healing activities. If your first reaction is to say "I don't have enough time to take care of myself" then you have a huge challenge to overcome. It is hard to be a good parent, run a business or be a productive employee without internal and external strength. Time for yourself and doing the things you love all help to refill your tank. You're going to need support so call on your spouse, friends and family to give you the needed time.
Step 4: Choose Healthier Foods
The old saying is "garbage in garbage out." Clearly this applies to food. There are truly no really bad foods but lots of poor food choices and combinations. You can still eat all the foods you love or even crave if you balance them with fruit, vegetables and a good lean protein source. It really is that simple. The more balanced your eating approach the less chance of food cravings and vitamin deficiencies.