Sunday, August 12, 2007

Self-care is Your Passport to a Healthy Mind and Healthy Body

"The problem is not
that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that
having problems is a problem. "
Theodore Rubin

"We must embrace
pain and burn it as fuel for our journey."
Miyazawa Kenji

I see many patients who want pills for weight loss, conflicts they are having at work, home and with their relationships. To these patients the elixir they purchase at the pharmacy is the panacea for all their woes. They perceive the solution for these daily problems to be outside themselves and find allies in their physicians who are ready to give them the most recent pill to dissolve their fat, to solve their workplace crisis, to reset the tepid temperature in their marriage and to give them the applause they never got after their last job performance evaluation. Yet in spite of the pills, the fat does not go away without exercise and mindful eating, the marriage still stays cold. Similarly, the atmosphere in the workplace remains harmful.

You cannot solve these myriad problems with the pill alone. The solution comes mainly from within you. Self-care is your armor for defeating these negative feelings that cripple and sap your energy and prevent you to cope and heal. The following are some of the self-care characteristics that can help you soar like an eagle even when the going gets tough:

  • Develop your self-confidence so that you can stand shoulder to shoulder with your friends without you feeling inferior. There will always be people who are better than you are. However, you should also remember that you might have talents that others do not have. Know them as your strengths and emphasize them. Those special talents will give you confidence, boost your self-esteem and give you wings to fly.

  • Do not be rigid like the branches of the large oak tree that break during the storm. The branches are not flexible and try to stay rigid, defying the storm, which ultimately overcomes the stubbornness of the branches and rip them into pieces. The tall grass, learning from their ancestors, sway in the direction of the wind. They quickly regain their original posture when the storms abate because they go with the flow. While waiting for the storm to abate, they lose none of their characteristics. Flexibility in all your transactions is therefore a virtue that will keep you in the game and give you strength to cope.

  • Continue reading and learning new things, sometimes not related to your profession or your job. This is a source of self-confidence. It also improves the way you look at the world. With self-confidence, your esteem and motivation go up. It is thus easier for you to go with the flow and bounce back when your situation changes.

  • Maintain your social links. Studies show that in time of stress, social support is beneficial.

  • If you have religion in your life, pursue it with all your heart as it is a source of equanimity and peace of mind and gives you a meaning for your existence. However, religion in itself will not help. Religion without spirituality is more harmful. The spirituality gives you the peace of mind and keeps you healthy."
"I'm convinced that we can write and live our own scripts more
than most people will acknowledge. I also know the price that must be paid. It's
a real struggle to do it. It requires visualization and affirmation. It involves
living a life of integrity, starting with making and keeping promises, until the
whole human personality the senses, the thinking, the feeling, and the intuition
are ultimately integrated and harmonized"
Steven Covey

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