Success is Health
Estimated Lesson Time: 6 minutes
It was not until recently that I realized firsthand what a crucial part health played in success. I started having debilitating head pains almost daily. When this pain started, I would just have to isolate myself and put up with the pain for anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. This excruciatingly painful phenomenon that lasted six long weeks was diagnosed by neurologists to be cluster headaches. To my own surprise, I was not depressed or even down during this time. My eyes were opened by a new appreciation of life and health. During those six weeks, when I was not experiencing the pain, I started to experience appreciation and gratitude like never before.
Health is not just the absence of disease or illness; it is the presence of vitality. It is the lifelong process of prevention and commitment to wellness. If you really thought about it, you could think of something that is physically bothering you right now. Very often, minor discomforts are blocked by our reticular activating system in our brain, which filters out all that is not important to us at any given moment. This ability of our minds to block discomfort is the same ability that prevents us from appreciating all the times we do not feel discomfort. This causes us to take our health for granted.
At the time of the headaches, I came to a realization: there are times when we cannot control what happens to us health-wise—it just happens. There are also so many ways we can take control of our health and live a healthy lifestyle. So why not do whatever is in our power to live the healthiest lifestyle possible? Then, when fate (God, destiny, chance—call it what you will, just do not call it bad luck!) comes knocking on our door, our bodies, minds and spirits will be better equipped to manage or solve any health problem that comes our way.
Several years ago my cousin, who was seriously involved in bodybuilding at the time, was in a fatal car crash that instantly killed the driver and two other passengers in the car. My cousin, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat, walked away with a minor concussion and some scratches. The doctors told us that because he was in such great physical shape, he is alive today.
Health does play a crucial part in success. The absence of our health allows us to experience appreciation and gratitude on a whole new level. The presence of health allows us to live a more productive, pain-free life enabling us to get more enjoyment out of life. Being healthy is feeling good about yourself, knowing that you are taking care of your most valuable asset—yourself.
Unless you are living in a bubble somewhere, there will be times when you have to deal with illness. Here are some suggestions to keep you on the road to success at times of illness.
- Just because your body is ill, it does not mean your mind or spirit have to be ill as well. It is all about maintaining your positive mental attitude.
- If your illness is temporary, see it as temporary. Setbacks in life are common and expected. Keep your sight on your life’s goals and do your best not to allow temporary illness take you off course.
- Focus your attention on anything but your illness. Be active if possible, practice mind control and focus on empowering and positive feelings.
- Do something about your illness and work on future prevention. Is this something you could have prevented? If so, how? Make changes in your life if necessary to avoid illness and learn from each experience.
Remember that health is not just the absence of illness, it is the presence of vitality. Here are some suggestions to help you reach and maintain your ideal level of health while enjoying life to the fullest.
- Eat well. “Let your food be your medicine,” said Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Many believe that the foods we eat have a significant effect on both our short-term and long-term health. We literally are what we eat. If we put garbage in, we get garbage out. Eating well does not mean eating diet foods; in fact, I wouldn’t touch a frozen “diet food” dinner if you paid me. Eating well begins with learning about foods that have positive effects on your body and mind. Bookstores are loaded with books on this topic.
- Exercise more. Both your body and mind need activity to grow stronger. Maintain physical and mental fitness programs that keep you in your best shape.
- Lose excess weight. If you are like most Americans, you probably can lose a few pounds. As you lose fat, your body becomes a more efficient “fat burning” machine. Conversely, as you pack on the pounds, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lose the weight.
- Make healthier choices. Eating well does not have to happen overnight. In fact, I began the process in my early twenties when I chose to no longer eat red meat. Since then, I have made dozens of healthier choices such as drinking water rather than diet soda, using olive oil in place of butter, snacking on nuts rather than candy, and other relatively painless dietary changes.
- Don’t neglect checkups. See your doctor(s) on a regular basis. Many health problems are insignificant when taken care of early enough. Do not let your fear of doctors or the sharp needles they stick into you, keep you from health.
Most people’s definition of success includes some level of health. It is very difficult to enjoy anything, including success, if your mind is continuously focused on your illnesses, pain, heartburn, lethargy, and/or the extra 20 pounds of fat you are carrying around with you. You have full control over many aspects of your health, so take control of what you can today and live with vitality.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)