Why we need to focus on wellness, not sickness
Australia needs to focus on wellness, rather than sickness.
Who says so?
Our government does, so do more and more medical practitioners, and even health funds are speaking out, saying this is what Australians need.
Does this mean developing a new model of healthcare? Well, it might already be taking shape - growing out of the advances being made in new fields of medical research, such as the spirituality-mind-body connection, epigenetics and neuroscience.
But what should the final product look like, if we are developing a new model of healthcare?
What does "being well" actually look like?
Here is a short list of attributes which receive support from some of the cutting-edge research occurring.
1. You smile within and without
You've learned that a smile comes from within … a trigger rather than a responsive action.
There's now evidence that smiling can lift your mood and change your view of the world, including the way you perceive other people's emotions, like anger and fear.
Indeed, one inspired writer even points to a spiritual law in place that lifting your thoughts can uplift your own and others' lives: "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (Mary Baker Eddy).
So your smile might actually change the way your friends see the world, too.
2. Your age doesn't seem relevant
The fountain of youth is real and it's in your head! Remember Dr Ellen Langer's 1981 experiment on the power of your mind to stop-or even reverse-the effects of ageing?
Since then, a great deal of research has documented and confirmed that people don't thrive when they're stuck in environments which remind them about their age and where there are no expectations of them anymore.
Here's some good advice: surround yourself with people who don't limit themselves based on age.
Hide the mirrors and challenge yourself to do things you think you can't. You might even want to join a growing number of people who refuse to even record their age based on a recognition of their ongoing spiritual nature.
3. Your life is in balance
You make time for deep dives into nature, find something to look forward to, commit conscious acts of kindness, infuse positivity into your surroundings, exercise and have fun.
Not because you should, but because it brings you joy! Research has found that spending money on activities such as concerts, dinners and community events makes us happier than buying things.
It also shows we need to use our signature strength to do good for others. Your strength may be open-mindedness or love of learning or prudence. Or all of the above, and more.
These are qualities derived from the Divine and we can know that we each have them in abundance.
4. You tend not to focus on your body
You realise health is as much a condition of mind as it is of body. You've eased off on the constant calorie counting, reduced the self-conscious weighing of yourself or tallying hours spent on exercise for health reasons rather than for the joy of it. Why?
Because you are convinced it doesn't really lead to better health. Could it be that you're listening to that inner voice that knows your real substance is spiritual and eternal and outweighs this world?
The Choosing Wisely campaign alerts us to the fact we don't need the majority of the medical tests and scans that we're currently having. Informed Aussies know that an MRI could even make their pain worse, and so they're more thoughtful about whether or not they want to be tested for cancer.
Have you ever experienced how if you turn away from the body with such absorbed interest as to forget it, your body experiences less pain, and sometimes none at all? Think fire-walkers!
5. Your spirituality shines through
Your belief in a higher power promotes excellence and kindness in your career and in life. Research is finding that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better.
Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety, but may slow down the ageing process. Maybe you've learned that it's not so much "redesigning your brain" that adds to wellbeing, as understanding you are made in the likeness of the divine Mind actively expressing that.
Many will note the contribution of medical research this week. However, people are rightly sizing-up the messages that are coming to them about health and deciding what is of value and what should be disregarded.
What do you think should be embraced in order to live a life of being well?
My own spiritual practice of Christian Science has helped me so much, including as a spokesperson in media and government relations in Australia,
I'm curious to see how the elements involved are being recognised and implemented in society.
For instance, science is increasingly exploring the impact consciousness has on medical outcomes