As I continue to live into my new season of life – retirement/author, writer & speaker – I need to remind myself to “step outside the box” – I no longer have to work within someone else’s 9 to 5:00, Monday thru Friday time frame. I am having to continually remind myself to be more flexible with myself – write when my creative juices are flowing at their best, play when the sun is shining – even if it is the middle of the week! I have long-standing habits to break, and boxes to step out of.
When we think about the foods we eat and how it affects our health, the tendency is to think about how those foods affect our physical health – and more specifically either our weight, or our cadio-vascular health – and that’s all the further we think. This is another long-standing box we have been put into – a medical box in this case. But this box only works if we want to manage disease, not restore the body back to good health. There isn’t a box for this – at least not a rigid one. The foods we eat affect way more than just our physical health.
The same goes for when we think about our “mental” health, we have another, separate box to categorize things like mood disorders – depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADD/ADHD etc. and how to manage these so-called diseases – primarily with counseling and/or medications. But foods – good or bad – have an extreme impact on our mental/emotional health.
These thought patterns truly are the medical way of thinking, not a wholistic, natural, health way. If we really want to address our health wholistically, we need to keep reminding ourselves that our body functions as a whole – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual – not in separate boxes – i.e. the physical box or the mental/emotional box, etc.
Let me show you what happens when we look at our health as a whole person, and not just as a symptom:
A young woman I know has experienced a lot of emotional stresses in her young life over the past few years – her estranged husband and she were in the process of reconciling their marriage, when he died in a horrible car accident. She relocated multiple times after that; changed careers and became a law enforcement officer; remarried; inherited step-children; and most recently was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a supposed investment advisor. That’s a LOT of stress! Emotionally, mentally, and financially. But her focus has been on her physical health – her hormones being out of balance in particular, not to mention fatigue. Unfortunately, she has been falling into what I call the “linear” way of thinking: symptom here, take this magic pill, problem should be gone, right? Wrong.
Now to her credit she sought out an integrative practitioner (who sometimes has one foot in the medical philosophy model, and one in the wholistic – you usually can’t fulfill both, but that’s discussion for another blog), and that practitioner prescribed her some pharmaceutical meds as well as natural supplements to address her symptoms (the symptom box). Which worked, for a while – which is usually the case.
Her mother, who is a close friend, called me and asked if I could run a cortisol test on her. But as it turns out, the daughter didn’t really know what kind of test she needed, nor was she accurate in what she was asking for (this is what happens when one tries to doctor themselves). Fortunately, I was able to view her dilemma objectively, and wholistically and suggest that she pull in the reins, and reassess the situation, before spending hundreds of dollars on testing.
First of all, her finances are extremely tight right now, naturally – she just lost thousands of dollars. Second of all, she didn’t need to run a cortisol test (which is the stress hormone), it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know she has been chronically stressed for multiple years, and her cortisol is most likely depleted – it would take more than a natural magic pill or two to correct this. As a friend and advocate, I suggested she take a deep breath, step outside of the “linear box” (and the panic box for that matter), and assess things more practically, and freely, and go back to the basics – and assess her life and her health wholistically – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The first thing she needs to do is get to the root – address the mental and emotional stressors. She also needs to look at the basics of the physical part of the health pie: rest/sleep, water, exercise, good nutrition minus the toxic foods, and good nerve supply. (to understand these parts more fully read my book “Are You Being Deceived About True Wellness” (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C8RFBX87/). The first 3 hardly cost one red dime — eliminating toxic foods doesn’t cost anything – her greatest investment (with a valuable ROI) would be in eating real food, and if possible, seek out chiropractic care for some good nerve supply.
This is thinking and living outside the box, wholistically. When she follows these steps, it will have a positive effect on her mental/emotional health as well as her physical, and most likely will cost her far less. And the bonus is, she will be restoring her body back to good health, using natural approaches, and not merely managing disease inside the “medical box.” Stepping outside the box is true FREEDOM.