Jul 17

The Myth of Abandonment

Health Myths

For a while I couldn’t really understand why people get all frantic at the close of a year and the beginning of a new one. Resolutions (many soon forgotten and abandoned!) made; new hope kindled; joy, lightness and mirth abounding. It was all perplexing to me a particular time of the year would affect the generality of people so strongly. I thought to myself that there surely was no difference between 23rd of July and the 1st of January; they were just different days in the continuum called time. Until I came to understand the IDEA this season represents.

This season presents an opportunity to begin again. The beginning of a year is an acceptable watershed for many to “draw a line in the sand” and look with optimism to a dreamy rewarding future. It offers an opportunity like the phoenix to rise from the ashes of the past and take flight into realms of new possibilities. No wonder the season has such a powerful hold on people. Hope is a powerful force.

So permit me to say a very Happy New Year to you. May the unfolding of the year breathe life to your dreams, desires, and aspirations.

Health they say is wealth. I fully agree with them. And I think you also agree.  My mission in this segment is help you attain and maintain that wealth. Now before you start to think this column is all about malaria, typhoid and cancer et al (that’s what many people equate health to be: the absence of one disease or the other), please I want you to broaden your mind. Health is a “…dynamic state of physical, social, mental, and spiritual wellbeing and not just the absence of disease or infirmity”. So that you don’t have gonorrhoea or syphilis in spite of all your sexual escapades does not necessarily mean you are healthy. In fact those escapades may be a pointer to a deeper need and symptom of an addiction. The pursuit and attainment of a state of total health shall be our ever continuous dialogue on this page.

For starters, I hope you made a resolution about your health this year? If you did, bravo! You are literally one in a million! If not, well it is not yet too late. By the end of this write-up, I sincerely hope u would have made at least one.

Good health is not a product of chance or accident. It is usually the result of diligent and concerted efforts. It is a myth to think that you health status has little to do with you do as an individual. I have met quite a number of people who believe they would be healthy and live long simply because they believe it! That is just like a student believing he would pass an exam simply because he dreamt he passed and then goes on sleeping. That student may end up setting new standards in failure. You may say, “…well I don’t just believe it, my parents lived long, so I will also live long. It is in my genes.” I am trying not to laugh (in Chinese) at that line of thinking. Your genes are only half (some will argue that it is less than half) of the story. That the parents of a child are professors, doesn’t  translate to the child becoming a genius! By all means NO! If the child would not study and do the deeds that makes professors will not  be able to profess anything but maybe calamity. The converse of this scenario is also very true. Illiterate and uneducated parents can (and do) produce geniuses.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Your genetic make-up is very important. There is after all a genetic basis for diseases. The point is that it is only one part of the story. Environmental factors (in other words the things you do or are done to you) have been revealed to be greatly critical both in the development and prevention of major diseases that account for the largest portion of the burden of diseases worldwide. The major risk factors for chronic diseases (which account for 60% of all deaths worldwide) are an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. These risk factors have nothing to do with genes! They are tied to choices we make. If these risk factors were eliminated, at least 80% of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes would be prevented. So you see, your health is actually in your hands.

This year as you are setting your career goals, family goals, spiritual goals and all other goals you may have, it is important that you note that all this goals are premised on at least one assumption: you remaining healthy. It is critical for you to pause and reflect on this critical fact. You cannot achieve all you want if you are not healthy.

Don’t become the latest victim of this Myth of Abandonment. Invest in your health today. Plan for your future now.

Write me of your plan for your health this year.

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