When you are a kid, you don't think about germs, eating right or what can even make your tummy hurt. You just live your life, and when you got sick you were taken care of by your parents--or grandparents. No real worries. The older you get as an adult, the more you begin to think about your health. You DO begin to wonder what causes your tummy to hurt, what germs can do to you and even the big concerns of bad illness or chronic issues. I think for some of us, these worries started when we got ill at college for the first time or possibly when we became parents. It gets even more amplified when someone we care about gets ill--especially if they are related! So, what are some of the best ways to fight your health fears? Here are a few that have helped me:
Know Your Family History - One thing that can help you fight anxiety about the unknown illnesses you may or may not get is to know your family health history. It's not a given that if great Aunt Bertha had the "sugars" you will get them too, but, if diabetes does run in your family, then learning as much as you can about what to watch for, how to prevent or even how to deal with such an illness will help you to be more prepared and (hopefully) help ease your stress about it. Not only knowing the health history of family members, but maybe how they lived their lives as well. For instance, maybe the illness they had was environmental related (emphysema from a work situation) so even if they were your relative, chances are if you don't have that job, you won't have that issue. No matter what, knowledge is power, so knowing your family health history is a good thing.
Know Your Body - It is also good to pay attention to your body and what works for you and what doesn't. Learn what keeps you up at night, or bothers your stomach or gives you gas. Pay attention to how much you weigh (I'm talking learn your normal weight fluctuations), what your skin reacts to and what makes your heart race. Anything you know when you are healthy, you will know if it changes when you aren't. Sometimes learning your body takes a while. Some women have a head start if they have been pregnant, because you learn to keep track of all sorts of things the doctor wants you to and then, it sort of sticks with you when you are a mom! Others learn once they have a chronic illness. If you can, try to learn this as soon as you can. Chances are if you know what your "normal(s)" are, you will not be worried every time something little happens to your body.
Do Your Part - Another way to ease health concerns is to take care of yourself! Get wellness checks at least once a year. If you are on a medication, go to the doctor for regular check-ups and take your medication as prescribed! Eat healthy foods and do healthy things. Get plenty of rest and learn how to control stress in your life. If you are busy doing your part, you will at least have the satisfaction that you are doing your best to keep healthy and that is the best deterrent of fear.
Have Faith - After you have learned your family history, gotten to know your body and are doing your best to live a healthy lifestyle, the last thing you can do to ease any lingering health fears is to have faith. Believe the best. Don't spend your life worrying about getting the big "C" and waste your good health thinking about if (or when) you will have bad health! A positive lifestyle helps not only with mental health, but physical health as well. Trust you are living your best life and when things happen that you can't control, those are the things we give up in faith. Faith that we can get through whatever trial we are facing. Faith that we can let go of things we need to and hold on to others that matter. Faith that something greater is at work than just what we think is happening. Faith that whatever trial we are facing, something good can come from it either for our or someone else's benefit.
Our bodies are constantly changing in one way or another. Take the best care of your body as you can and your soul will have a great vessel for years to come to do what it needs to accomplish during your lifetime. Fear will just add stress and make you ill anyway, so let it go.
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush, Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker