- Mental Health
Worrying Less about Your Health May Make You Healthier
Confused and Gullible about Health
At one time or another in our life many of us have tried to improve our health, or even cure a minor condition by resorting to nutritional supplements and diets. What looked as an honest warning about harmful effects of pharmaceuticals - not an advertisement in a blooming industry - was a clear message about our being "poisoned" by medical establishment including the Big Pharma.
Every book on nutrition included the ancient slogan: "Let food be your medicine, and medicine your food". Now, many years after educating myself with all that information, I honestly still don't know how much of that was a fact, and how much a sheer exaggeration aiming at selling a lot of vitamins and similar stuff.
My own intellectual preference splitting away towards mind-body medicine left me reluctant to believe how "we are what we eat". Especially after hearing of those so called "health nuts" dying before their time - despite living by the book.
It's a kind of a shame that there is no unique and reliable approach to our health, the one that we could follow being sure that we are not harming ourselves or just making our urine yellow by pecking on vitamins. After all, it's about our health, not about producers of some items in our household who have a right to compete on the market, each advertising their stuff as better.
And it's even a bigger shame that we have become so damn sensitive about our health, rushing to the doctor at the first sneeze, and falling for the advertisement of both camps - medical and alternative - that our health is "fragile, unstable, sensitive, and delicate, so the only way for us to survive is to use their services and products".
Real Health Boost - or a "Snake Oil"
As I am witnessing all kinds of some very learned experts fighting over our "real" nutritional needs, I remember myself being a part of that struggle, while testing on myself every possible pill and diet of their contradicting stories.
I remember treating my supplements cabinet as a shrine, at times spending an hour or so in chatting with the clerk of a health food store, who seemed to be well knowledgeable about the stuff that he was selling.
Actually, I would frequent a few of those stores, although not without increasingly becoming somewhat suspicious about none of those clerks really looking particularly fit or healthy. More and more I was under an impression as if I was expecting a bald man to advise me how to regrow thinning hair.
Not that I had either so much of a hair or health concerns at the time, but I simply wanted to maximize my overall psycho-physical functioning, with my lively interest into the field of "unused human potential".
Reading about Health for Different Reasons
For every book that I have read about nutrition, biochemistry, and diets, I must have read some twenty books dealing with something that I called "mental diet" at the time. The mystery of mind and human potential was haunting me ever since my grade school, and later on every step of my studious, even if amateurish and humble path.
Now, not that every single of those hundreds of books provided a "nourishment" in my mental diet, many of them leaving an effect of an apple pie, which gives us a momentary boost of energy, only to make us crave for something more nutritious.
During the course of that intense reading and observing, I couldn't help but notice the wide variety in available literature about health, which was suggesting a big demand and interest of the reading public.
Since I was not ready to believe that each of those readers were my kind of a book worm with a passion for learning about human nature, it dawned on me that they were trying to fix a health issue which didn't seem to require medical attention. I was facing a mass of softies - that new breed shaking in their pants over their presumably "fragile health".
So much Easier to Peck on Pills
As for my own reading taste, it was more and more solidifying around a new wave of understanding the human nature which I found so much more "nutritious for my mental diet". It was all based on this mind-body connection, placing the responsibility for our health right on our lap.
I liked it a lot, as it was resonating well with my own general convictions about the power of mind. And somehow I was getting closer to understanding why all that band of softies out there succumbed to the propaganda about their fragile health and their life depending on regular visits to doctors and using of this or that nutritional supplement.
They either didn't realize how much their dominating daily thoughts, emotions, and attitudes were affecting their health, or they knew it, but out of sheer mental laziness to work on changing it resorted to the easier solution of pecking on pills of all sorts. Finding some traces of that laziness in myself as well, I could understand why they preferred to continue placing their health in hands of some outside authorities.
The only problem, as I saw it , was that the medical and nutritional establishment was feeding them with information about their being sensitive to just about everything, from the environment to the type of pillow they slept on. They really turned into a breed of softies, and I could clearly see who was doing the "breeding".
Diet in the Head - Not on the Plate
Some of you may wonder why I got so sold on the idea of mind having such an enormous effect on body that it made me give up my supplements and simply stick to the golden rule of moderation in foods.
Well, it may have a lot to do with my general conviction about the power of mind which got stronger after a decent study of the phenomenon of hypnotism. When I realized that a hypnotized dude will get drunk from a glass of water if told by hypnotist that it was whiskey - I threw my hands in the air and shouted "Eureka!"
I didn't need another proof, but I got many, even by observing myself and my state of health and fitness after following a certain self-designed mental regimen. However, one story in particular brought me down to my "religious knees" about the power of mind over body.
Learning from the Lady with Two Personalities
It was a story from medical records about this woman suffering from multiple personalities, and the shocking part of it is about the fact that one of her personalities was terribly allergic to all citrus fruits, while another could eat all she wanted of it without getting a slightest allergic reaction.
Well, for a "nut" of my kind that was revolutionary, and if I had a talent for poetry I would be tempted to tell the story in verses! If two of her mindsets caused by split personality could result with physiology shifting itself in a heartbeat to another model of functioning, then I didn't ever need yet another proof about what mind could do to the body. I gladly put all my "studious eggs in that one basket", not questioning anymore.
Now, to insert a little disclaimer here, of course, this is not to make any less significant what medicine can do to save our ass, and neither to make hamburgers our regular meal - but I am talking here about the preventive aspect of health, and also about ability of body to maintain itself with a sound stress management and positive attitudinal advantages. Something that could remove that softie-syndrome from us, while making us strong in this new conviction that we have the power to keep ourselves well.
Are We really that Sensitive?
From my modest estimate, one big mass of folks between the Rio Grande and Alaska seem to live something like a medical soap opera. It truly amazes me how much time, effort, and money is being spent on health issues.
People being majorly pissed off about the medical insurance and cost of medical treatments, while there is nowhere a sign of an informational tsunami about our inherently strong and self-maintaining bodies and the life-saving strategies of using mind to keep us well.
At this time in history when we don't have to slay any dragons anymore, run away from cruel invaders - at least on this continent, sleep with a donkey and goat in the same room, and with all civil rights, and great hygienic conditions, not to mention high tech - what the hell more do we want to lead a happy and healthy life? What, other than propaganda from the medical establishment is really making such softies out of most of us?
So there we go staring at our dinner plate and wondering : are we getting a right proportion of macro-nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats - and vitamins, mineral, enzymes, and probiotics? And our water had better be filtered, or ionized, or alkaline! God forbid that you ever touch a fruit that's not organic and in season! And let's everyone gather in front of pharmacies rejoicing and celebrating the flu season with a flu shot! It's free, you know, so why not take something that's free!
Poor us, we are so helpless against all those microscopic pathogens navigating around our mouth and just waiting for us to yawn. And what about all pollutants, and acid rain, and radioactive pollution from our electronic appliances and gadgets!
Are we sleeping or right, orthopedic mattresses, with a right pillow fully supporting our neck? How about that new moisturizing soap on the market, and fluoride-free toothpaste to save our brains from dementia?
Can you see where I am going with all this? We are driving ourselves nuts obsessing over our health and so predisposing ourselves for all kinds of ailments, as we are bombarding our immune system with these and other negativities.
Isn't That a Pity
These days I am looking at my friends of the last forty-plus years and wondering why aging had to change mentality. We used to be a happy bunch, laughing, joking, playing guitars and singing along, talking about kids and sex and movies.
Now we turned into some experts about nutrition, diagnoses, medications, as if hardly waiting to get together to share about new developments in our health report. And if you don't at least suffer from constipation, you don't belong to this bunch.
Well, I don't, and at times I feel like an intruder there, feeling self-conscious while putting my shoes on before leaving, without having to take a deep breath first. But what the heck, we are friends, and our individual differences, more pronounced as they are than before, can't change our hearts about each other. But, I must admit, at times I just feel sad that the softie-syndrome had to get them too.