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What is Health and where do I find it?

When is someone truly healthy? An estimated 8.6 million people have diabetes but do not know it, many of whom feel healthy. Meanwhile, others do not feel well and are struggling despite medical evaluations without answers to explain their symptoms. Obtaining true health can feel elusive but it is possible when we understand where to find it.

Let’s start with a few examples of what health is NOT:

  1. Health is NOT the absence of disease, sickness, or pain. Medical diagnostic evaluations continue to improve, finding disease sooner than was previously possible. Suddenly discovering an unknown disease does not make someone unhealthy.

  2. Health is NOT having a longer life. Modern medicine has the capacity to keep a body alive for a long time, even without a fully functioning brain. Most would hope to have many years of life but would not choose to deal with many of the ailments that affect a large percentage of our elderly population. More years of life does not define health.

  3. Health is NOT purchased. Many cures require money. Financial means often improve quality of life; however, great wealth does not make someone immune to mental health struggles, accidents, or disease. 

  4. Health is NOT merely appearance. Many desire to improve their physical appearance, pursuing multiple cosmetic procedures. The never-ending obsession with improving our appearance doesn’t lead to greater happiness, health, or peace.

  5. Health is NOT measured. Health isn’t suddenly discovered after reaching a preset BMI or weight. Obsessing over a specific blood test or blood pressure often leads to anxiety without significantly improved health.

While our journey to improved health likely includes many of these examples, an over-focus on any one of them will distract us from where real health is found. True health is an equilibrium with oneself and one’s social, emotional, mental, and physical environment. 

Health is not the years in a life but the life in the years. Health is living each day today and leaving tomorrow’s worries to come when they come. Health is finding strength in your capabilities, not discouragement in your shortcomings. Health has no finish line, arrival point or end destination. Therefore, choosing health is a daily practice that brings the fullest life we can obtain with wherever we are and whatever we are dealing with on the path of life.

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