People told us, “It’s just part of aging.” For a while we believed that. After what we’ve learned and experienced in the past few years, though, we strongly disagree.
We have been sharing our life as a couple for the past 30 years. During that time we have dealt with several serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, gut dysbiosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD, Lyme Disease, hyperparathyroidism, candida overgrowth, food sensitivities, pre-diabetes, depression, grief and stress. We sought help from many doctors. We also followed many treatment protocols without ever finding the fullness of health we wanted.
Since we began working with Dr. Hopkins 2 years ago, our health has made a 180 degree turn. She has been a wonderful source of looking broadly at body systems and needs, assessing basic nutritional and microbiotic balances, checking for any infections, toxins or disease. She has also suggested numerous sources of information about different ways to understand and treat our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We have devoured many books and articles. What we have learned has changed how we think about our health and our bodies. It has transformed our health and our lives.
Here are just a few of the things we have learned that changed our lives:
What we believe determines our health. Focus on wellness rather than illness.
We learned that what you believe and pay attention to creates your physical reality. We no longer think of ourselves as aging and sick. Instead of focusing on things that are not working well in our bodies, we choose to focus on the incredible self-regulating and self-healing abilities that our bodies have. We listen to what we tell ourselves and change negative expectations to positive reality.
Our bodies know how to be healthy.
The human body is magnificently designed to maintain health and balance. It takes in and metabolizes nourishment, produces and circulates its own essential substances while eliminating any excess, and detects and expels toxins and foreign bodies. Even our DNA blueprints can be switched on or off by our own master system.
Healthy living and prevention are most essential.
To prevent illness and create optimal health, we eat balanced, natural, nutritional foods. We provide support to supplement what our bodies do not produce on their own. Additionally, we avoid eating foods that create or increase imbalance in our digestive system. We reduce or eliminate known toxins in our home and work. Also, we get the rest and exercise that keeps our body’s health programing running. We make choices that reduce stress in our lives in big and little ways.
Pay attention to the whole person: body, mind, emotions and spirit.
We make use of various holistic, integrative, natural practices. Such practices include meditation, tai chi, Psych K, chiropractors, massage, or healing touch to stay balanced and support health. Additionally, we listen to the messages our bodies give us and respond with self-care. We practice gratitude.
It is our job to educate ourselves and make informed choices in our lives.
We have read many books and articles to learn more about how our systems affect each other and what science has discovered about how our brains and bodies work. We ask questions of our health care practitioners. Furthermore, we consider many options and trust the wisdom of our bodies in our decisions.
We know there are times (acute or life-threatening situations) when medicine, surgery or other medical treatments may be necessary. However, we choose not to make those things our only recourse, even though they may seem alluring as a quick fix. Symptoms generally have more systemic causes. Health and well-being is a long-term commitment.
One final thing we have learned about creating a healthy life is to lighten up about it. Our health is about what we do 90% of the time. We must be aware of and make the choices that keep us healthy. While we do that, we also remember to breathe the fresh air, play in the dirt, celebrate with friends, laugh at ourselves, watch the sunset, sing and dance and generally enjoy the many delightful experiences that come our way in this lifetime.
Bonnie Dahlhauser and Teri Lewis, Maplewood, MN