Do you accept that health is simply the absence of disease or can we set the bar higher than that?
The origin of the word health comes from the old English word for being whole. So our forebears understood what we may have forgotten in our pursuit of technology driven solutions for wellbeing. There is no doubt that modern medicine can do wonders but there surely is more to wellbeing than whether your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugars are in the normal range.
A holistic perspective of health considers the body, mind and spirit; it views us as complex interconnected ecosystems where every part can tell us something about the whole.
We might instinctively understand the notion of interconnectedness when it comes to a plant in the garden. If the leaves turn brown we might check the soil pH, look at the fertiliser we’re using, whether we are over watering or whether there is too much exposure. Either way we understand the plant is telling us something is not right.
With our health we may miss the point that symptoms are similarly just signals from the body telling us there is something out of imbalance. A headache is not a random event but rather a message from the body that one or more organ systems are under stress. When we choose to take a pain killer to dull the symptoms we block the signal. We’re choosing to kill the messenger.
What if instead of killing the messenger we see it as a timely reminder that something needs to change in order for abundant health and happiness to be restored.
Sometimes we get so used to feeling less than optimal we stop noticing our body’s signals. Constant tiredness, recurring aches and pains or niggly sore throats can become our norm. We forget what it feels like to really thrive, to feel buoyant, strong and full of energy.
The good news however, is that if you’re not feeling great you don’t have to put up with it. Even if you’re health is poor now you would be surprised how quickly you can start feeling much better so long as you are prepared to listen to your body and act on what it’s telling you.