“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Hippocrates
The field of medicine has come a long way over the years. We can effectively treat illnesses that at one time were life-ending, and the lifespan of the human species has drastically increased due to the ability we have to preserve life. This is wonderful in many ways. I do feel, however, that many people in our United States culture forget that our bodies, by and large, are naturally designed to keep us well. Yes, it is an absolute truth that disease and sickness occur, and thank goodness we have developed the technology to help alleviate this. What I mean is that we often bombard our bodies with many things that stress our systems, and the average American leads a much more sedentary life than in the past. What then do we do to activate ourselves to promote health and wellbeing?
I am a believer in the mind-body connection. But, first and foremost I want to identify that talking of distinct “mind” and “body” elements is dualistic and artificial. There really is no distinction between them. Without one, we do not have the other. So, what is this “mind” we speak of? Recent literature identifies the mind as being located throughout the body, rather than strictly being contained in the head and brain areas. Our nervous system carries a great deal of data about our physical bodies in rapid succession, to communicate how we are doing from moment to moment. This electrical and chemical communication works to regulate energy in every interaction we have, from physical environment to relationship encounter. We get signals as a detection system of sorts to identify problematic situations and pleasantly experienced ones as well. When our detection systems become out of balance, this could be identified as a “symptom”. Just as our cars need a tune up from time to time, our bodies and minds also need tune ups. This may be physical, as in the case of weight management or particular systems in need of repair such as heart and lung. It could also be psychological, stemming from thought patterns or emotional regulation patters that become difficult to manage.
There is an old phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. What this means is that by taking care of ourselves prior to problems, we may have less of them, and when problems occur we can address them much better. If we can become more mindful of our bodies and mind on a daily basis, and remaining committed to the action of healthy choices, we can tap into the natural regulation systems of our bodies. Now, this is not to say we will never get sick if we do this. Even under the best conditions, as stated above, illness will still find us. My encouragement is to understand that we can manage this a bit better by healthy living.
May all people find balance in their lives!