Somewhere along the line, we have lost the connection to our bodies. We rely on doctors to tell us how we feel and what’s wrong, rather than trusting our own intuition and insight into our own body. I was raised, as were many people in my age group, to believe that doctors know everything and they should never be questioned. It is a challenging mindset to change. It is however necessary, if you want to become proactive in your own healthcare.
So how do you become proactive in your own health and health care? Here are a few steps to get you started.
- Become a student of your own body. Observe how your body feels and reacts to various foods, supplements, prescriptions, etc.
- Keep a health journal. Note what you eat, and where you go. Over time you will learn to see patterns. For example, you may note that whenever you are in the detergent aisle you come home with a headache, or whenever you eat pasta and spaghetti sauce, you notice that you have body aches. You may notice that certain prescriptions cause migraines or constipation. Keeping a journal will give you great insight into your health.
- Trust Yourself. No one knows your body better than you do. If you react to a supplement or protocol, make note of it in your health journal and be sure to tell your healthcare practitioner. They may tell you that their other patients are fine with this protocol or supplement. Gently, but firmly remind them that you are an individual, and what bothers one person may not bother another. If a protocol or supplement is making you sick, than it needs to be eliminated or cut down to a tolerable level for you.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor. It is your body, your time and your money. You are paying for the consultation. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. Ask for something to be explained in “layman’s terms”. If you receive a concerning diagnosis, ask for other possibilities of illness and optional treatments. Ask for a second or even third opinion from other doctors.
- Educate yourself. After receiving a diagnosis, go home and do your research. Educate yourself on whatever the topic is. When possible talk to others in the same situation and ask them to share their successes and failures. Ask the doctor for references of patients they have treated, so you can learn about their experiences.
- Change your lifestyle. Is your lifestyle hindering or promoting your health? This can be difficult one for many people. If you want to change your life, you will no doubt have to make some changes to your diet, exercise or lifestyle. Be honest with yourself.
- Be honest about your health. Keeping a health journal can help you keep track of any potential problems and successes. Be as specific as you can be about your symptoms.
- Know when to get help. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you are well versed in nutrition, you may not need help in that area. If not, perhaps you need to seek the advice of a nutritionist, or do some additional research in that area.
- Be patient. If you are dealing with a chronic illness, remember you didn’t get this way overnight and it will take time to get better. Be patient with the protocol you are given. Depending on your health or illness, you may have to start with minimal doses of supplements or prescriptions.
- Don’t be pressured. When dealing with a health condition, take the time you need to do your own research and consult with other practitioners. Unless it is an immediate life threatening condition many decisions can wait.
No one knows your body better than you do. You are an expert on how you feel and how you react to things. Don’t second guess yourself, if something isn’t right you know it.. Trusting yourself is a challenging thing, keeping a health journal may simply verify what you already know to be true.
In truth, we are all responsible for own health. Granted there are factors beyond our control, but many are not. Some of us are genetically predisposed to illness, some are not.. We all make choices that influence our health for better or worse. At some point, we decide to take control of our health and make positive changes part of our daily life. Be encouraged, your persistence and commitment will yield positive change in your overall health.
Remember your body is a temple, but only if you treat it that way.