Be healthy is a priority

Friday, September 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WHAT is the difference between urgent and important?

Stop! Don't answer so quickly. This is one of those deep philosophical questions that deserve a little brain articulation.

Urgent. How do you define it? Things that have to be done in a hurry, right? And how do you define important? Things that are vital to life, business, happiness, right?

Now, what I am going to say next is one of the great truths of the modern age but fail to take action on it. Most people allow our lives to be ruled by urgency to such a degree we cannot accomplish many things that are more important to us.

To illustrate my point, let me tell you a personal story. When I was a pre-med student in Idaho, I suffered terribly from the stress caused by my studies. Final exams were a living hell for me because it seemed there was so much required I couldn't possibly get it all done. I suffered from gastritis, and didn't exercise or even eat well.

On top of that, I was working part-time to finance my studies and this cut into my already dwindling time.

One day, everything just came to a head. I was sitting in a chemistry class taking notes as fast as I could and wracking my brain to try and figure out how to study for the upcoming test. Suddenly, I just couldn't take it any more. I got up and walked out. I jumped into my car and drove up into the saw tooth mountains. After a couple days of de-stressing in the peaceful wilderness, my head cleared. I sat down with a pen and paper.

It was obvious to me that I was not going to be happy living my life from one urgency to another, trying to put out one fire at the same time that three more sprang up around me.

I started writing what I really wanted in life, and you know what on the top of the list? I wanted to be healthy! It was a priority. I also wanted to read for enjoyment, spend time writing, get good grades and get into a good medical or chiropractic school.

These were my priorities, and I decided to commit to them.

When I returned to school the following Monday, I had written out a different kind of life. Each day, I studied a certain amount, but I also took one-and-a half to two hours to exercise, and each night before I went to bed I read a little. Surprisingly, my grades did not drop as I had expected. They actually improved, as did my health and outlook on life in general.

As a doctor, I see this same scenario in so many of my patients. If you ask them about their health, they will say it is a priority. However, in practice they are too busy with urgent things to care for it. "I need to start exercising, they say, or I should get checked out by a chiropractor".

But they don't because something else always comes up. Eventually they do something about it, and you know why? Because it becomes urgent! In fact, it becomes a crisis.

They have a heart attack, or a slipped disk, or any number of medical emergencies. Suddenly they find it necessary to put time, energy and money into trying to get back on their feet again. This is one way to live life, in fact, it is the most common way, but is it the best?

When it comes to taking care of your health, waiting till something goes drastically wrong is a good way to age miserably and die young! Would you consider driving your car for several years without having the engine serviced, the wheels balanced, and in fact waiting till it blows up on the highway before you did any maintenance? Of course not.

But that's how the great majority of people treat their bodies. They take little thought of what they eat or consistent exercise until finally things start to break down.

The sad thing is we can always buy another car. But unless the techniques for cloning improve drastically in the next few years, we are pretty much stuck with the body we are born with.

If you haven't done this, and believe me I know most of you haven't, take some time right now and write out your priorities. A nice neat number is 10. Health should be one of these. If it is not, make it so! I assure you, without good health, most of the other aspects of life become a lot less enjoyable. Now after writing these out, set out a list of actions you can perform to fulfill these priorities.

If you haven't thought much about strategies to maintain and improve your health, you might consider adopting some of mine.

Get a chiropractor. In numerous studies worldwide, the benefits of chiropractic care in improving health and preventing disease have been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to improve immunity, decrease pain in the neck, back and leg, and prevent fatigue. And when a regular `maintenance check-up' is part of our health regime, it goes a long way to ensure continued wellbeing.

Eat a healthy diet. Substitute salad for one meal a day. Take vitamin B, C, and E and 3 tablespoons of Omega three fatty acids (these are usually fish oil like salmon oil, but if you are a vegetarian, flaxseed oil will work) with breakfast and dinner and cut back on fried food to once a week.

Exercise at least 3 times a week. As you set priorities for life, you will find that the number of urgencies arising doesn't seem to change much. But you will ensure that you get to do the things in life which are most important.

Feeling more in control of your destiny will almost certainly promote a feeling of greater wellbeing and peace. This in and of itself is a healthy change.

Don't get caught in the tyranny of the urgent. Make time for the most important thing in life-your HEALTH!

Copyright 2000 BUSINESS TIMES all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.