The following blog, by my Florida colleague Bob Clark, was first published as Choosing Health
Research shows that stress is a leading cause of serious health problems. When confronted with stress and the health problems it may cause, do we have any choice in the matter?
The Mayo Clinic’s website, in an article titled, Stress management, tells us that,“Over time, high levels of stress lead to serious health problems.”, but then adds a hopeful note, “You don’t have to let stress control your life.“
Over 100 years ago, pioneering American physician/philosopher/psychologist William James, brother of Henry James and godson of Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, ”The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
The freedom to choose is a universally cherished human right. And the freedom to choose what and how we think may just be a big part of the answer to our current health care dilemma. If it’s true that serious…and seriously costly…health care problems are caused by unmanaged stress, and that stress can be managed inexpensively by making the right choices about our thinking and behavior, why don’t we hear more about this?
Below are some choices offered by the Mayo Clinic’s article, all aimed at managing stress and thus improving health.
*Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
*Practicing relaxation techniques
*Fostering healthy friendships
*Having a sense of humor
*Seeking professional counseling when needed
“The payoff of managing stress is peace of mind and — perhaps — a longer, healthier life.”
Interesting that none of these choices involve expensive drugs or medical interventions offered by large corporations or government programs. Just simple choices. Choose a healthy thought and follow it with a healthy behavior.