This week I had a fairly severe allergy attack. Don’t worry, I am fine, but I really didn’t feel well for several days. And it got me thinking … about mortality and self-healing and how anyone manages to live beyond one hundred years.
In western culture, particularly since 1900, the predominant philosophy is: “take two aspirin” and call the doctor every time you get a cold. But in doing this, is it possible that we have all become weak and lost the ability to listen to our bodies?
I realize that any physician reading this is probably scoffing in disgust right now, but I think this is a valid question. In relying on the pharmaceutical industry to find drugs to “cure” us, have we neglected the most important cure-all of all – our own intuition?
Think about this on the most basic level. When we are tired our body tells us that we need sleep. When we are hungry and thirsty our body tells us that we need food and drink. When we don’t listen to our bodies our health suffers and eventually we get sick. It is that simple.
Now let’s take this one step further. There has been a lot of coverage in the press this week regarding scientific studies that have proven that laughter (or happiness) is good for your health. The inference here is that happy people are healthier, and you can improve your own health simply by doing what it takes to become happier. Imagine that?
Now look at this week’s illustration of “The Vinegar Eaters” which depicts Confucius, Buddha and Laozi the father of Taoism (the guy on the right) who was a contemporary of Confucius and lived in about 6 BCE. Of the three sages, he is the only one smiling after tasting the vinegar because even though it has a foul taste, it is as he expects it to be.
My point here is that people have been saying for centuries that it is possible to be happier simply by accepting your circumstances whatever they may be; and if they have now proven that I can be healthier simply by being happier, then I am all for it.
Yes there will always be some things that I would like to change, but there are also some things that cannot be changed – vinegar is always going to be vinegar. I am going to try to learn to appreciate the vinegar in my life, simply because it is a reminder of how lucky I am in other respects. I am going to stop wasting energy complaining about the vinegar, or trying to fix the vinegar, or stressing about the fact that vinegar is bitter.
Instead, I am going to spend all the time I have just freed up tossing tennis balls for my Yorkie “Sunny” who never fails to make me smile.
How about you?
To read more about The Vinegar Tasters click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar_tasters
To view an attribution for the Image click here: http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/207201
To read more about how happiness affects your health click here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/happiness-stress-heart-disease/