There is a lot of debate about how to think about health. Is it a right? A responsibility? A privilege?
Theoretically, you could argue in support of any of these characteristics of health. However, I’m going to skip the social commentary for a moment and assert something even more fundamental: health is a choice.
I’ve written about genetics and epigenetics at length (here and here). Suffice it to say, we are not pre-destined to a certain health status. Yes, some of us come into this world with the deck stacked more in our favor and others come into the world with the deck stacked less in our favor. Despite this, we can all CHOOSE health...in whatever form or function that may be for our own, unique mind, body and spirit.
I was listening to a video series by Dr. Kelly Brogan, functional medicine psychiatrist, and she made the point that you have to understand what’s possible first before you can inhabit that possibility. It’s a powerful message and one that absolutely applies here.
First, we have to understand that a different reality is possible. We have to recognize and see that others are choosing that different reality. And eventually, we will come to realize that we, too, can choose choose that different reality.
There are plenty of people out there inhabiting the reality of vibrant health. You see them all day, everyday - at work, on the street, in the grocery store. There are also plenty of people inhabiting the reality of poor health. You can observe them too and you know what that generally looks like (and I'm not talking about body size here - I'm talking about the pep in their step, the energy they give off, the genuine smile on their face). And, before you go back to thinking this isn't possible for you - I'll point out that many of the "vibrant health" people were previously part of the "poor health" club...until they chose a different path. I know this because many of these "poor health" clubbers have come through my office at one point or another.
In many cases, we have the same disordered relationship with love as we do with health. We believe that love “happens to us”. We “fall into” and “out of” love through no fault of our own. News flash: that’s not the way love works! Love is a choice - a consistent, daily and intentional choice. Each morning, we choose to engage in loving thoughts and behaviors towards our significant other. We choose to demonstrate love despite their crazy bed head and stank breath. We choose to demonstrate love despite their penchant for being late every...single...morning. We choose to demonstrate love despite their poor choice in music, TV shows, podcasts - really, anything culturally relevant. Despite popular belief, love is not something that happens to us. We are not inanimate objects or victims of our whims. We are thoughtful, intentional and powerful beings. We choose our reality. We choose to love...or we choose not to love. It is not a reaction - it is a conscious decision.
The same is true of health. Each day, we choose to engage in healthful thoughts and behaviors towards ourself. (That is also an act of love, by the way!) We choose to make a balanced and energizing breakfast. We choose to move our bodies in a nurturing way. We choose to surround ourselves with people who raise our vibration and our mood. Or we don’t. It’s really that simple.
So, let me ask you this: are you going to choose health today?