There is a lot of discussion out there, in the news, on social media, amongst groups, and even in doctor’s offices, about how we can control our health. Which is true – but to a certain extent. The discussion usually circles around all the things we MUST do and MUST not do in order to prevent/cure/manage disease and symptoms of un-wellness. Not only are we told to eat right, drink water, exercise, meditate, be happy, be grateful, but we are also told we have the power within. That we can think ourselves well.
Here’s what I know.
I know that sometimes we are doing our best. And that is okay.
I know that sometimes we do things that may not be best for our physical health but our best for our emotional and mental health at that moment. And that is okay.
I know that sometimes it is not our fault.
We are led to believe that somehow we can control every piece of our journey. This leads to two problems. The first being we feel guilty and stressed if we don’t always make the “right” choices. We feel somehow we have failed ourselves, or, worse, perhaps we have failed our providers. How is this result leading to greater health? It is not. It causes further despair and exacerbation of symptoms and leads us to avoid our providers.
The second problem is that there are many things that happen that are just not in our control. Sometimes it is our genetics and that is not something we can change. There are many examples. In neurology, there are a spectrum of syndromes of which are purely genetic and cannot be changed despite all the yoga, meditation, and dense nutrition we undertake. We did not fail ourselves. Our genome, whether nuclear or mitochondrial, have been passed on to us with a change in code that results in aberrant function which can lead to symptoms difficult to control.
We are also assaulted by the toxins in our food, air, water, and soil – a scourge of modern day living. We have to work, pay bills, feed our families, care for ourselves and others, and try to engage socially.
From my vantage point, there is too much suffering. I worry the desperation of people to improve and heal leads them to seeking the advice of many and then feeling as if they are just not doing enough and should, nay, MUST, do more.
Don’t get me wrong. I too preach healthy life. I am passionate about plant-based foods, herbal and supplemental support, exercise, morning light, sleep hygiene, and brain health. I recommend and offer guidance for these changes in lifestyle because as a physician it is my job to educate my patients that these changes in your daily life can make you feel better whatever your health challenge or obstacle may be. Sometimes it is a cure for what ails you but most often it is a way to ameliorate the burden of our bodies.
What our best is can change at any time throughout our life’s journey. And that is okay.