Are You Really Healthy?

Monday, December 20, 2010

How do you define what health is? I mean, if some young child asked you the question, how would you answer?  Are people healthy if they do not feel sick? Consider, Joe (I'm making this up but you'll be able to identify).  He has felt in reasonably good health his whole life (of 65 years).  He hasn't had his health checked or been to a doctor in over 10 years. But this year, his wife Margaret convinced him to go.  After all, they are in retirement now, "So let's go in for a tune up," she said.  The doctor said she was fine, but Joe over the last 10 years had developed elevated blood sugars and hypertension.  His cholesterol also looked high and there was a problem with his colon.  Shortly thereafter Joe is rolled into surgery to have a cancer removed from part of his colon.  He never really recovers and 3 months later Joe dies from problems that could have been prevented had he been more proactive about his health.  Now, I ask you, was Joe really healthy?  After all, he felt fine...

What about Chris?  Chris is a triathlete.  He is totally dedicated to his sport and runs, bikes and swims miles every week.  His handsome face and winning smile are matched only by his lean and tan physique.  His latest checkup showed excellent heart health and he is in every way physically healthy.  Unfortunately, his commitment to his training has been so total that he has often had to miss his children's school events, and his wife finally became so fed up with his lack of attention that she left him.  Is Chris healthy?

Or how about Linda?  Her husband has Parkinson's and in the last several years her physical health seems to have taken a down turn, as arthritis pain has flared up and she has had a couple of operations, including a hip replacement. Nevertheless, she always has a smile for you and an encouraging word.  She never seems to have a bad thing to say about anybody.  Rather than being slowed down by her operation and aches and pains, she seems to being doing more than ever.  She's a volunteer for several community groups and a regular helper at her church.  Is Linda healthy?

I hope my little stories are helping you to reaffirm that we, as humans, are truly fearfully and wonderfully made.  Health is not simply a physical commodity, it is much broader than that.  Here is what the World Health Organization (WHO) had to say about it in their 1998 constitution:  A dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Since it is dynamic, health is subject to change, and that should bring great hope.  Since it includes every part of us, and not just the physical, it means your health is more than what you eat and whether or not you exercise (though that's included). It also includes your mental state.  Are you optimistic and positive this holiday season, or down in the dumps and depressed?  Are you able to see the good in people and bring it out, or are you always cynical and negative?  Remember, people are dynamic—subject to change.  The cynical one who is just trying to be realistic is in big trouble—because we cannot know how things really are.  People's personal decisions can change them!  A real loser can sometimes become a winner, just by what you say to (and about) him and how you treat him!  The quality of time you spend with family, with friends, or with God are perhaps the greatest measure of your personal well-being and health.  And how skilled you are at handling those relationships positively will effect the satisfaction of your heart this holiday season more than anything else.

I want you to think today about the quality and satisfaction of your life. What do you like, what do you wish could be different?  As you think about the physical, mental, and relational areas of your life, are you really healthy, or are there areas that need work? 

There is no better time to think about these things than the beginning of a New Year. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. We here at the Bradley Wellness Center would consider it an honor to partner with you in helping you with those changes.  Contact us at 706-278-WELL (9355) to start a healthier lifestyle today!

Submitted by: Thomas Morrison, Fitness Coordinator, Bradley Wellness Center