How’s Your Health?

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How’s your health these days? By that, I don’t just mean, “What’s your blood pressure or cholesterol?” Of course, those numbers are very important, and I do mean for them to be included in the question. But I’m asking a question that is a lot fuller than that too. I’m asking about your emotional health, your mental health, and your physical health. 

If you’re like most people, when you see a question about your health, you think back to your last doctor’s visit. And if you’re like most people, your doctor told you to exercise more and eat a heart-healthier diet, especially if you’re in your 40s or older. I fully support any of the recommendations you received, but I want to challenge you further to think of “health” as more of an all-encompassing idea. It definitely includes your physical health, but it doesn’t stop there. 

We know that being sedentary is not good for our physical health. We know that smoking or eating lots of fried food isn’t either. Those are areas where we can improve our health through discipline and making different choices. But many people are much less knowledgeable about the things that take a toll on their mental or emotional health. Now that I bring it up, I bet you can think of some things that have a negative impact in those areas. 

Many people would identify endlessly scrolling on their preferred social media app as something that can leave them feeling annoyed, left out, worried, or angry. Those types of feelings each have their place and are appropriate in the right settings. For example, scrolling through social media and getting worried or upset because an acquaintance you met one time had an unpleasant experience at a grocery store is not the appropriate time or place to have that cascade of emotion. More and more people are coming to the realization that experiencing this mostly artificial wave of emotions is not something that is beneficial. Maybe you’ve started to notice this about yourself too. If this sounds like you, I’d encourage you to make some changes. 

Maybe you’ve noticed that you spend a lot of time dwelling on negative thoughts. Again, negative thoughts have their place, but it’s easy for them to get out of hand. Somebody might spend 20 minutes replaying a conversation and obsessing over something they said that they think was embarrassing. They might spiral and start worrying about that conversation endlessly, even if what they said was misinterpreted. There are many, many things that we can fixate on that can leave us feeling worried, guilty, estranged, or any number of negative feelings. If you recognize yourself as having gotten trapped in these kinds of “thought spirals,” I’d encourage you to make some changes. 

Obviously, change isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers and doing things a different way. If it were that easy, none of us would have any areas of weakness anymore! So, don’t expect immediate change. Also, remember, it won’t help to have the point of view, “That’s just the way I am,” because that is just setting ourselves up to stay in these unhealthy patterns. If you’re struggling to make a change, reach out for help. You have family and friends who are rooting for you and would love to help, if they’re able. If it’s something deeper, reach out to a counselor coach in your area. Don’t struggle alone!