Health Happens

There’s talk around town of epidemics. We hear hushes of invasions and whispers of toxins. There’s rumors of plague, and tales recession and bulletins of dissolution. Calamity waits to strike at any moment.

And the life vest that can save us from all these terrors?

Well, Oprah retired, so I guess we’ve got to fend for ourselves.

Watch out people…you’ve got to focus on your HEALTH.

Finanical. Spiritual. Nutritional. Relational. Professional.

Eat this, Not that. Connect, Meditate, Get Away. Give, and Take. Balance your Budgets and Trim your wasitline. Sweat. Crunch, Zumba it up. Forgo Meat.  Ingest Chia. Take a hike. Go green. Cup up the plastic. Check your ratings. Do a criminal background check.

The message we are given over and over is that health isn’t a natural state. It is active. It is created and fueled by our actions. We have the power to make it happen.

What does it mean to be healthy?

My fundamental view of human nature is that we are inherently good and driven towards health and wholeness. In this age of scrutiny and easy access to information, it is difficult to discern what is “good” and what is not. A lot of information we access is down right inaccurate, some of it influenced by authorities who want our time or our dollar, and to be honest, information really isn’t inspirational.

I think a lot of us like health rules because it is one more way we can assert that we are  good. Good citizens, good eaters, good movers and shakers.

There are a few problems with this 1) rules change. We find out new stuff and prior beliefs are proved false (e.g. The egg was unhealthy 10 years ago, and now is deemed chocked full of awesome vitamins)  2) people TELL us what is healthy and it is really an external process and 3) these rules generally are how to decrease illness. NOT REALLY MAKE US HEALTHY

World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) definition of “health”

The most famous modern definition of health was created during a Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The Definition has not been amended since 1948.

Health is about life. I think health is just that: constantly growing and reaching and searching to be authentically HERE. Sometimes I think that health is eating a hamburger. I noshed on In and Out on the day I was conferred by PhD. It wasn’t anything I did, more so, it was something I grasped. Health sometimes is sleeping in. It is recognizing that soft warm chewy cookies, and screaming your head off.

I think we don’t CREATE health, I think we fight against illness. But Health? Perhaps health is already there. Perhaps it is not something we create, but something we find.

In this month of new resolutions and tons of bleak warnings, I am turning off the external shoulds and should nots and instead listening to what I desire. what I want more of. and what i want to engender, not just prevent.

How is health happening to you?

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5 thoughts on “Health Happens

  1. Very thought-provoking post, K! I tend to be skeptical about health guidelines because they generalize and don’t accord for people’s different, individual needs. But many people seem to want for them, to have some kind of orientation. Being more self-determined always means to have more resonsibility for yourself …

    I often think our whole health system is somehow flawed, because it’s centered around the concept of sickness. Sickness and health are often dichotomized, but I believe it’s a continuous dimension, and your current postition on this dimension differs across the levels you consider health at (different organ systems, psychological aspects, etc – you can have and aching spine and be healthy in other parts of the body etc), although they’re all interconnected in the end. Health is such a complex phenomenon!

    I like the WHO statement that health is more than the absence of disease. But I think we differ in what we have to do to be healthy, depending on our dispositions and what we have to learn. I think I have to learn how to rest, do good things for myself, and be in peace with myself.

  2. Great post. Yep, same definition of health, and we use it in textbooks, and it is good, but goes beyond this. I had someone ask for a healthy-ish suggestion on a food the other day. For me, something that is truly healthy is something that promotes health, whether that be physical, mental, spiritual. But that doesn’t mean that someone unhealthy necessarily is the opposite, meaning it causes disease. For me, disease has too many factors and it is never one thing. There is a bigger picture. Something we consider unhealthy, while it may not contribute directly to your health or ensure you are free from disease, it also isn’t going to mean eating it or doing it will lead to disease. It may, but it may not. We may say chocolate cake is unhealthy, but that really isn’t what is causing disease. Eating it all day every day may result in obesity, and that may result in disease. On the other hand, a healthy food provides specific nutrients that we know to keep us healthy. That one specific food may very well provide us with good health, but I am not so sure that one very specific food will cause any kind of disease. There is a lot more to health than meets the eye! I hate when people are narrow minded and try and boil it down to one things over the other. Really, it’s the whole picture. It’s how all those actions interact and exert a force on the others. That is what really matters.

  3. I think, in a way, you can create health by the way you live and the way you treat your body (i.e. consuming fruits and veggies vs. downing sodas and fries). I was diagnosed with a disorder that, actually, I shared in this post: http://www.theforeigndomestic.com/2011/11/me-after-marathon-with-flat-scotty.html
    I think a lot of the turnaround in my health had to do with making better lifestyle decisions like eating better, and reducing stress… Anyway, as usual, your post is very thought provoking!

  4. I agree with Kirsten – I totally think we can create health in our own way. But it’s important to balance things out with being mentally healthy as well and if your mental health calls for a burger than a burger it is!

    Great post – as always.

  5. I am taking the epidemic of self-destruction one day at a time, one small goal at a time. After all, I have to be prepared for the inevitable zombie plague, yes? 🙂

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