the foundation for a healthy, happy life
Copyright… Kathie Strmota, LoveLight Co-Creative HealthCare
Traditionally, the average person has always had some basic cultural knowledge of home remedies. In many cases, there was no doctor or other medical support available, and people just had to do the best with what they had. So they passed on their knowledge to each other and to their children.
These days, most of us have easy access to all kinds of medical interventions and, as a consequence, a lot of people haven’t learnt much more about self-care than how to apply a bandaid.
In most countries, the national health systems are insufficient to support the size of their population. If more of us were able to deal with ‘the little things’ ourselves, it would leave our doctors and hospital emergency departments more time and funds to deal with ‘the big things’.
Aside from taking some pressure off the health system, there are a number of other important reasons for engaging more consciously with your own health care.
Knowledge is Power
I believe that everyone should make an effort to gain a basic understanding of how their body functions and what it needs to maintain a basic state of health.
Having a general understanding of your own physiology gives you the power to make informed choices in relation to maintaining your health and preventing illness patterns.
Many people feel powerless to affect their weight, or to change how they feel when they wake up in the morning, or to avoid those vague aches and pains.
This is because they have no idea why these situations exist. They don’t have an understanding of what is happening in their bodies, and so can’t even begin to imagine what is causing the problem or how they might change it.
When you have some knowledge of your system, you can at least understand how your lifestyle choices affect your health. This gives you the power to make more appropriate choices.
When it comes to dealing with serious illness and making decisions about surgery or pharmaceutical treatments, you can better understand the explanations and advice you are being given, and more easily make the choices which are appropriate to you, personally.
So often, people are drawn into treatments or surgical procedures which may not really be the best option for their individual situation or preferences. This occurs because they don’t have enough of an understanding to weigh the benefits and risks associated with each of the options presented to them, so they just follow the ‘recommended route’.
The more you understand about your own body, the less fear you will feel about choosing directions which may not be the ‘standard option’, but which may actually be best for you at that time.
Knowledge is power because it reduces fear.
We only fear the unknown. Once we ‘know’ something, we see it for what it is, and we have the power to address it appropriately.
Now, I’m not suggesting you enrol for seven years at medical school!
You can gain a very good overall understanding of basic anatomy and physiology simply by reading one book, such as a teen-years school text book or a book aimed at the general public. All you need is a familiarity with the various systems which operate within the body, what functions they perform and what their health requirements are.
Obviously, if you have a particular condition, you may want to learn more about the specific body areas and systems related to it.
The aim is to be able to understand what your health professional is telling you, rather than just having a mental blank and hearing ‘blah, blah, blah’.
When you hear the word ‘liver’, your mind should take you to the right side of your upper abdomen. When you hear the word ‘inflammation’ you should have a picture of redness and irritation, and maybe even go so far as to connect it with immune activity.
Self-Responsibility releases you from being a Victim
When you take responsibility for your own health and the care of your body, it reflects a shift in your energy. You are saying that you will not be a victim … to the situation, to others who have more knowledge, to the health system, to life in general.
The decision to gain a better understanding of your body’s function and needs, so that you can take care of yourself, is a situation of empowerment.
The decision to take responsibility for your own health, rather than laying that responsibility in the hands of another, is a situation of empowerment.
On the other hand, being a victim and putting your health in the hands of others, or blaming others for your problems, is a situation of powerlessness.
Taking responsibility for your own health does not mean you have to know everything and do it all yourself, and never go to a doctor or naturopath. It simply means that you deal with what you feel confident to, and seek help for the rest.
These people are available to help you identify a problem, inform you about the nature of the situation, and discuss your options for treatment. But you should still recognise that you are the one who makes the final choices about your treatment directions.
Often, those choices will be in line with what your doctor or naturopath recommends because they will inevitably be able to suggest positive and useful options you haven’t yet considered.
However, sometimes, after receiving professional advice, you may feel that a different approach will suit you better, and you have the right to expect your health practitioner to support you in your choices. Equally, they have the right to disagree with your approach if they truly believe that it may actually worsen your condition. In fact, they have an obligation to share their concerns with you.
But, at the end of the day, the final choice is still yours.
You need to clearly understand this and take responsibility for your decision.
You may choose to follow your health practitioner’s advice, and things don’t go as you hoped. Or you may choose to take a different direction, and things don’t go as you hoped.
Either way, a self-reliant person will recognise the final decision was theirs, and take responsibility for that, while a ‘victim’ will tend to try and lay blame outside themselves, saying their therapist should have known more, or should have convinced them to follow the recommended treatment.
This applies equally to your life choices in general.
If you choose to do things which are bad for your health, stand up and ‘own’ those choices. Don’t be the smoker who gets cancer and then tries to blame the cigarette company. Don’t be the person who eats junk food every day and then says “I don’t know why I feel so tired all the time. Life is so hard.”
Recognise that you create your health with every choice you make and take responsibility for the direction it takes.
This attitude will spread out into your life in general, and you will find that you can start to drive your life where you want it to go.
You will cease to be a victim to the whims of the world. You will no longer blame the universe, the government, the next door neighbour, or the situation, and feel powerless to change things.
Instead, you will be able to take charge, and make changes to have things in life the way you want them.
Another very important reason to take responsibility for yourself is that it strengthens your immune function. This is an important system whose activity is involved in every illness and injury.
Our attitudes create energy patterns within our bodies which, in turn, influence the way our body systems function. When we have a ‘take charge’ attitude, this filters down to the immune system, which also operates in an efficient ‘take charge’ way. When we have a victim attitude, the immune system also operates more weakly. It loses energy and can’t clear the body effectively. ‘Invaders’ can take hold more easily and wastes are not cleared from tissues, allowing disease to spread more easily.
[Learn more about the effect of attitudes & perceptions on immune system health.]
Self-Care reflects Self-Worth
The body is a temple.
We have all heard this phrase, but how many of us act as if we really believe our body is a temple?
At a guess, I would say that most of us treat our bodies with a basic level of respect most of the time.
We feed it well so we can maintain a healthy weight. We take a relaxing bath or have a massage to ease sore muscles. We brush our teeth to avoid having to face the cost of dentures and root canals. Our attitude of care toward our bodies is motivated by the desire to avoid pain or discomfort.
There is also a percentage of the population who seem to have no respect for their bodies at all, not even just to avoid pain or discomfort. They disregard their nutritional needs, and make life choices which destroy their body’s tissues and drain vitality from their lives. But how often do we truly see ourselves and our bodies as ‘holy’, as a being to be revered and utterly loved and adored?
The way we treat our body is a reflection of our degree of self-esteem. Our physical being incorporates the physical body as well as the ego, or material mind (the ‘me’ in this life). How we treat ourselves indicates the level of ‘worth’ we place on ourselves.
If you hold something as precious and valuable, you store it carefully and safely, you protect it from damage, and you look after it so that it stays in mint condition.
Review what priority the health of your body and inner being has in your life.
Do you take in substances which harm your body?
Do you allow yourself to be treated with disrespect by other people?
How much do you truly care about yourself?
What are you worth?
Do you hold yourself in high esteem?
The more you develop an attitude of self-care and respect for yourself, the more you learn to value yourself.
As your level of self-esteem grows, you naturally demand respect from those around you.
You become more clear about what you will and won’t accept in life and, of course, your overall health and happiness improve as a result.