Take Charge of Your Own Health

It turns out, being a good patient may not be enough. Kelly Turner, who works with people who heal from cancer when the medical experts have said there is nothing more to be done, has made some interesting observations in her book Radical Remission. She outlines a key takeaway in mindbodygreen.com — making the shift from compliance to self-empowerment when it comes to our health.

While the way patients took control differed, the common element was going from simply listening to providers and doing what they said to taking small, positive steps toward our own health. She cites the example of a Japanese kidney cancer patient sent home to die when all medical treatments had failed. Over time, he changed everything about his life – diet, stress levels, even his spiritual practices. In three years, the cancer was gone. While the exact cause of his remission can’t be proved, studies point to greater longevity for those who put themselves in control of their health. Here are some ways she suggests we can start:

Get Informed. Check the facts out for yourself. Kelly recommends PubMed.gov as a great index of medical journal articles and the latest in research.

Be Active. Just move. Sitting at our desks for hours on end is not healthy. As little as 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

Veg Out. No, we don’t mean lie on the couch. Cut the sugar and embrace the natural sweetness of vegetables.

Stress Less. Stress is hard on our body, triggering a “fight-or-flight” body state which suppresses our immune systems. Actively working on managing our stress can actually increase our immune system’s ability to protect us.

Laugh More. It turns out those cat videos may be providing an important health benefit. Give in to your silly side at least once a day and allow yourself to have a really good laugh.

Find Support. The shift from passive compliance to taking action is not easy for many. Perhaps the most important takeaway is not to go it alone. Join a group, take a course, or find a coach to help. Want to know more?

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