While in practice, it was my privilege to be involved in the lives of thousands of patients and I can tell you right now that there is a similarity in the way healthy people think. There’s a reason they don’t get sick when everyone else does. They operate with a set of concepts that keeps them healthy. At the same time, people who always seem to be struggling, always facing some sort of major or minor health crisis also share their own, very different set of concepts. In short, healthy people think differently than unhealthy people. It’s not a mind over matter sort of thing, but a framework of ideas and beliefs about how to stay well. Where are you? A good place to find out is to think back to questions about how you responded the last time you got sick. Most people only ask questions about the best medicine to take and how to reduce their discomfort. If you want a better level of health, consider adding the following five questions:
Sure, the flu might be “going around” but that’s not why you got sick. The flu never gets 100% of the population. Don’t settle for just knowing you have the same virus or cold that your co-workers or family had, the real questions are “Why you?” and “Why now?” We know that not everyone gets sick at the same time, there are factors that make our systems more vulnerable. Things like lack of sleep, over-tiredness, and all the forms of stress in our lives are factors we can change. We can also learn to watch out for those to prevent them in the future.
2) “What changed in me?”
Was there something that happened to make you more tired or stressed? Internal changes like fatigue and anxiety will wear you down. You must bring attention to those and recognize that they produce a very real and unhealthy effect on you. Your body has a miraculous ability to adapt to what ever you do but we can all overdo. Learn to work with your body so you know when to push and when to back off.
3) “Were there any warning signs?”
Often, we can feel ourselves getting vulnerable before we get sick. That thing that’s been worrying you and keeping you up at night needs to be dealt with or your resistance will drop. That long drive that wore you out needs to be balanced with more rest to get you back on top.
Learn the things that make you more susceptible to getting sick. Respond to them quickly. Often you can head off the illness.
4) “What did I start doing differently?”
It seems more people get sick in winter than any other season. Cold weather is a stress if you’re not used to it. Stay aware of the challenges you are facing. Have demands on you increased? Any big change can have a big effect but even a small change that doesn’t go away can gradually wear you down. This is how many injuries occur. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affected people who were simply typing on their computers every day for long periods of time.
5) “What did I stop doing?”
We know what keeps us at our best. Things like exercise and eating well build our resistance. But when we get stressed, often those are the things we drop from our routine. It’s okay to miss a few days every now and then but a healthy lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. It’s not something we do every now and then but something we do as a way of life. Realizing when we are off-track and taking steps to get back on keeps us in the best condition all the time.
I hope this helps you think about how you’re taking care of yourself. I would love to hear your comments or if you want to share your favorite ways you’ve found to stay on the right track.