Hitting The High Gear
Looking to get to that next level of health and wellness. Time to shift the gears.
I like analogies... maybe too much. I think that the use of a good analogy can certainly explain things far better for your average Joe than a well written essay. When I came across a quote the other day it got me thinking right away of how it applies not only to my life, but also how it applies to my patients. Here is the quote:
Life is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
-Charles M. Schulz, 'Peanuts' Cartoonist
I do believe this quote could mean so many things to different people. What it says to me is that there is always a higher potential that many of us fail to reach. In life this is easy to see with either advancement in the workplace, personal growth or any facet of life. The way that I read into it is in the potential in health itself. Many of us look at health as an all or nothing; either we are healthy or sick. While that is certainly one philosophy in health, I feel it is shortsighted and does not take into account all areas of health and wellness, particularly the ability to heighten your health.
When I speak to patients about their health and wellness I often have people agree that health is important, and when asked if they are as healthy as they could be I get a blank stare. Health is all encompassing; diet, exercise, mental health, spiritual health, physical health, etc. Being proficient in one area is great... but if you're a person with a great workout regime that eats 6 fast food meals a week... are you as healthy as you could be? Probably not. The same is true for your physical health and wellness, the continuum (pictured below) is a good way to visualize how our health is a constantly moving target.
Health and Wellness Continuum
Let's look at it this way. If this was a stagnant chart we could spend a week or month eating extra healthy, working out 3-5 times a week, keeping spiritual grounded (not necessarily religion based) or meditating, and doing everything to help build better health and once we achieve a "level" of health we would simply stay there. This isn't how it works though, is it? We must constantly strive to keep our health in check.
So when I saw the quote referring to most of using less gears than we have available it really hit home in what I try to accomplish with every person I meet. There is no denying that the majority of people I meet in the office for the first time are in a state of reduced health. As we discuss their case we often find areas that would strongly improve their overall well-being. In other words, "gears they aren't using".
Each time I adjust a patient, their nervous system gets a 'boost', therefore, upping their "gears". Each time a patient takes heed of advice on healthy eating, their nervous system improves. Each time a patient proactively works towards better health they move up the well-being scale.
Time to change some 10 speed bikes into Ferrari's!