Recognizing and Acknowledging the Foundations of our Well-Being
The fast tempo of our contemporary life brings us into circumstances charged with tension, at times accompanied by an unreasoning drive to simply acquire more and to achieve. In such circumstances we frequently lose sight of our genuine bodily and mental needs. Often habits and social pressures compel us to adopt practices at odds with our genuine needs. Our everyday lives require each of us to make decisions continually–some apparently minor and seemingly nonessential, which in fact decisively influence life and health. In the enlightened exercise of our power of choice, that powerful navigational instrument in the pursuit of our daily goals, we have the privilege of reaping remarkable benefits for our genuine well-being. The old adage “every man is the master of his destiny” is found to be true!
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
The post World-War II era has brought enormous advances in the development of medical technology, which has turned out to be directed toward the treatment of grievous diseases rather than their prevention.
Many erroneously hold to the opinion that quality and length of life are based directly on inherited factors. In fact, health is based on the following two determinants:
- What we put into our bodies
- What we do with our bodies
A simple concept which embraces both of these determinants is lifestyle.
It’s reassuring to know that although we may be powerless to change our genetic heritage for better health, we can accomplish the same goal through a proper choice of lifestyle. Correct choice of lifestyle can therefore neutralize or prevent those disease processes to which we are genetically predisposed or otherwise especially susceptible.
Therefore we can affirm with certainty that health is not dependent on the chance conditions of our lives, but rather on our making correct choices dependent on our individual responsibility for taking charge of the development of our life and health.
The concept that the rampant diseases of western lifestyle are essentially caused by that lifestyle itself is considered by the majority of health scientists as the most important discovery of the 20th century in the field of medicine.
The majority of modern studies into the causes of death in western societies have come to the conclusion that these causes are preventable. Two of the leading causes of death in advanced societies, including Estonia, are the cardio-vascular diseases, including stroke, and cancers. For many, the first indication of drastic problems in store is a heart attack. For some, the first indications of cardio-vascular disease are pain upon physical exertion. And one-third of hearth attacks end in death.
The Eight Laws of Health
In order to acquire and enjoy the freedom which good health offers, we need to be aware of, and accept that lifestyle which is in harmony with the unchanging laws of our being. These laws are the foundation upon which the health of society depends. They are surprisingly simple:
NUTRITION – PROPER DIET
THE USE OF WATER
AND PEACE IN ONE’S HEART
All this may appear to us as elementary matter in which we participate unconsciously in any case; however the condition of health of society, and the grim reaper of disease working in it testify the opposite: we need a reaffirmation of basic truths for the sake of our brighter future.
The implementation of these laws involves both preventative as well as restorative actions. On the other hand, reckless disregard of these laws leads to the loss of freedom which good health affords.
The cause of every disease must be understood. Unhealthy conditions must be changed, and bad habits corrected. Indeed the implementation of these principles requires a certain amount of care and effort. Consequently some may arrive at the false notion that such requirements are too narrow and restrictive. Nevertheless, we need to consider that an astronaut wishing to land his space ship on the moon can only attain his objective by following the laws of physics applying to his flight. It is certain that he would not regard these physical laws as restrictions, since it is due to their correct application that he arrives at his destination.
Simple, but effective!
Some may argue that such laws and means are too simple and general to be effective. However, their beauty is just in their simplicity, universal accessibility, and their availability for use to all people regardless of ability, age, or social position.
Dr. William Castelli of the Farmingham Cardiovascular Center asserts that: “The greatest challenge and heaviest assignment of modern medicine is to teach and to motivate patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle”.
Dr. Breslow, dean of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health carried out a classic study on 7000 citizens of California. For nine years Dr. Breslow studied the relationship of their atherence to the following 7 healthy habits in relation to their death rate.
The healthy habits were:
- Eating a healthy breakfast
- Abstinence from alcaholic beverages
- Abstinence from smoking
- Abstinence from regular snacking
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining an ideal body weight
- Sufficient rest and sleep
The result of the study revealed that the practice of all seven of these healthy habits added eleven extra years to one’s life.
The violation of even one of these healthy habits brought a significant drop in life expectancy.
For example, the study revealed that:
- skipping a healthy breakfast resulted in a decrease of life expectancy of 4.5 years;
- And habitual smoking decreased life expectancy by 8 years.