HEALTHY LIVING WITH CHRONIC DISEASE AND PAIN
THE FUNDAMENTALS: PART 4
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
Researchers at Ohio State University recently did a study on how people feel about their health. Despite a dramatic expansion of the medical industry- more health care workers, more spending on pharmaceuticals, specialists and treatments, the percentage of people who feel healthy declined from 39 percent to 28 percent from 1981-2007.
What are we to think of this? There are two obvious explanations, and both are valid. The expansion of medicine has created diseases we didn’t know existed 30 years ago and the rise in ones we did. The other: more medical intervention doesn’t improve health. In fact, this is exactly what Hui Zheng, assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State, and one of the authors of the study, said; “Access to more medicine and medical care doesn’t really improve our subjective health.”
Changing this negative trend will take a paradigm shift. This shift won’t come from without, but instead from within. It is this: you, and no one else, are responsible for yourself. On your quest for better health you will educate yourself, listen to your body, and consult a variety of health experts. Only then will you decide what actions to take.
Your body is yours to tend, and you have the biggest incentive of anyone to take good care of it because you have to live in your body 24/7. This is especially true when you live in a body with chronic disease and pain. It isn’t an easy job in a world tainted with chemicals, misinformation, stress, and a health care system highly skewed toward to use of pharmaceuticals, but it is a necessary one. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you blame yourself when you don’t feel healthy. Instead, it means you feel empowered because you realize that you always have a choice. You, and only you, decide how to help yourself every day to live your best life.
Putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your life will be one of the best decisions you ever make. It will increase your options, keep you moving forward, and jump-start your health.