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The Offense and Defense of Health

In the last three years we have heard it all, or so we are told, about how to take care of ourselves. Unlike what many of us learned in basic biology though the guidance has been confusing, frustrating and incomplete. We have been forced to live in fear, isolation and quarantine because the air around us could make us sick. That’s an incredibly fearful thought that many it seems wanted us to believe was a real threat to our survival. As a result, we virtually supported schooling our children, worked at home and lived thoroughly in our houses. The outcome though wasn’t a safer air quality, return to normal or even a healthier world, but rather the crumbling of our society. Quite honestly, it has been scary, worrisome and disturbing much more than the air could ever be.

I think most disturbing to me in all of this is the lack of conversation about prevention. Viruses and bacteria illness have existed well before mankind. Germs are real every day fact of life. A whole conversation that includes all elements of what prevention means to our health, mental well-being and community social structure is necessary to mitigate the risks of what these things can do to our short and long term health status. At the core of any illness, viral or bacterial, is our ability to prevent it from being in our body, mind and heart. What has happened the last three years has infected us all physically, mentally and spiritually. It has touched all of us individually and in families, communities and the world at large. We have become a sick world well beyond a viral respiratory infection. It has spurred even more reactionary mandates, separation and discord among us too. We have not become healthier or better.

The best defense is a good offense. I am not a football fan but this saying offers us the solid truth applicable to many situations in life, including a football game. In this case, it also directly applies to our health status. To have health you must create an environment where health can thrive. You must create the state where health is a natural every day occurrence operating optimally. The defense of our health occurs when there are threats against it and we have not done such a great job on the offense. We lost the ball, were left exposed, had openings in our offense. Defense became necessary as a result. That is a very elementary description but effective in realizing our approach to what has occurred the last three years has not been on the offense side of the playbook.

In all of the discussions over health in our world the last three years, the offense preventative measures were limited to pharmaceutical defensive discussions. Things such as diet, healthy lifestyles, exercise, mental and spiritual health were bylines if mentioned at all. When we bring in defensive teams it is our human nature to also feel fear, worry, concern and negative stress. In any defense situation, whether stress in our job, conflict at home, traffic commute and so on. Our body has a negative response to stress as it works to find that balance or return away from that feeling. In our body that translates into a weakened immunity, which leads to the risk of exposure to illness and disease and symptoms of ill health. We step out of our homeostasis state of living as we were built to thrive and grow and instead focus on defending our gaps. Prevention is about creating an environment in our body where there are minimal to no gaps. That is what health represents.

There is a place for science in all of this of course. However, our first response to any health need starts with us individually. Our own health choices made every day on what to eat, how to move our body, what we listen to and watch, how we respond and manage stress, when we rest and more are the foundation of our health overall. When we don’t take care of ourselves in some way every day our immunity systems weaken and the physician and pharmacist stand ready to supply their professional support and financial bill to help with that. Minimizing the need for external support by building up our health is our best offense for long term health.

It starts with our own recognition of our body being more than a physical container for our cells, muscles, bones and organs. It is the acknowledgement that we are so much more. We are a whole being of spirit and mind as well as our physical being. These three compone