Thursday, September 1, 2011

What is health? Pt. II

In my opinion, good health is mostly the result of genetics and luck. Would be great if we had more control over it, wouldn't it?

Think about it: there are many humans around the world who do not have access to all the things we in the U.S. believe create good health, such as clean water, high-quality food, decent shelter, highly educated doctors and sophisticated medicines. Still, even in what seems like extreme conditions to coddled Americans, people thrive. Here in the U.S., with access to anything we need to create good health, many of us suffer from a million different conditions.

Also consider: there are a whole lot of folks doing everything "wrong" (according to the experts) yet they are fit as a fiddle. So what does that say about all our efforts to be healthy? Hmmm. I love interviews with venerable people. Inevitably they are asked how they lived so long. Everyone has a different answer. Some say they prayed every day, or did good work, or took leisure time. Some say they drank whiskey and smoked cigars every day for decades - that's one of my favorite explanations. Really? Whiskey and cigars lead to long life? Wow. Some say they are too damn stubborn to get sick and die. Of course I love that one, too.

If you aren't the healthiest person, please don't blame yourself. No one knows why you aren't healthy, not really. We try to understand but the human condition is way too complicated for even the most brilliant medical minds. If you are healthy, stop right this second and give thanks for your good luck. (Excuse me while I do the latter.)


There are so many books out there describing EXACTLY what you should do in order to be healthy. Bless your heart, Dr. Weill, but really, eight weeks to optimal health? C'mon. If it was that simple, no one would be sick, right? I hope it was an editor who created the title of that book. Surely Dr. Weill is not such a simplistic thinker.

Following is a list of eight things I believe contribute to good health, beyond the genetics and good luck, that is. (I chose eight as a tribute to the good work of Dr. Weill.) Just as with every list, every article, website, blog and book on the subject, take it with a grain of salt, please!


1. Get enough sleep. I'm going to write a whole post about sleep, not today but soon.
2. Drink water, even when you don't think you're thirsty. WATER, not other liquids. (Don't drink too much, though. Drinking too much water is really hard on your kidneys.)
3. Take care of your teeth. You wouldn't believe how many health problems can be traced back to bad teeth and gums.
4. Cultivate your sense of humor.
5. Don't spend your time sitting. Get up and move around.
6. Eat actual food, not processed, packaged, or fast food.
7. Learn something new every day.
8. Breathe. Take some deep breaths right now. Feels good, eh?

Happy Thursday to all. May we be happy, peaceful, healthy and filled with love. May it be so.

(Here's the first post in this series about health.)


The Bug said...

These are excellent reminders, but I'm not getting enough of #1 lately, so when I tried #8 I almost drifted off at my desk :)

Reya Mellicker said...

You should be given more time to heal. I can't believe the way they think it's good to go STRAIGHT back to work. Sorry you aren't sleeping, Dana!

The Bug said...

Oh I think my doctor would have been fine with me staying out longer. We couldn't afford it, plus I was really tired of my own company (Mike started teaching last week). Really only the first two days were hard - & my boss has been letting me leave early.

I wonder if the sleeping has to do with the vicodin. I think I'm alternately wired & drowsy when I take it. I don't think I'll be on it much longer.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ease off that stuff, please? It is powerful medicine.

Reya Mellicker said...

I meant, don't go off it cold turkey.