Wellness Paradigm

Wellness Paradigm| Changing the default mode for how we think about health

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is a common saying. You might have even used this logic in your life. This saying perfectly describes our wellness model in many ways. In this model, symptoms are everything.  Injury or chronic illness are indications that action is needed. If a person doesn’t have symptoms they feel they’re ‘good to go’.

I’ve had that feeling of being ‘good to go’ many times. If I don’t have symptoms that something is wrong, I’ll just keep going day to day without paying much attention to my body. That’s the wellness model I’ve grown up in, so that’s my default mode!

An example of this default mode is getting a sore throat. If I’m busy or stressed for an extended period, I might end up getting symptoms of a cold, like a sore throat. It’s a sign for me that my immune system is weak and I need to rest and take extra care of myself.

Without that symptom I don’t take extra time out to rest. The symptom is a ‘red flag’ that something is wrong. It’s a useful indicator, like a ‘check engine’ light on a car dashboard. When the light is on, the car needs service. That’s our current model of healthcare, too.

Is that model really working? Does it work to wait for injury or illness before paying close attention to the body? In my opinion, it doesn’t work that well. If I change the way I think about healthcare I can see that if I take better care of myself I don’t need to wait for those cold symptoms to appear.

By taking better care of my immune system I can avoid illness symptoms like a sore throat. This is also true for the joints and muscles of the body. I don’t want to wait until I have back pain before doing corrective exercises for my spine. I’d rather do simple exercises to keep my spine moving correctly, and avoid the pain altogether.

I grew up in the old model, where you pretty much just go along until something breaks, then you try to fix it. I’ve become pretty good at reading the little messages my body sends me. But learning how to proactively take care of the body takes some work. It’s like learning a new language. One thing I’ve been learning is how to take time out to rest. Another thing that’s been helpful is the prehab classes at Live Harder. A third thing I’ve been doing is rethinking my food budget.

The average American  allocates 2.6% of their spending to food, and 6.2% (twice as much) to healthcare. I’ve been wondering… if I prioritize healthy food, could I avoid some of those health care expenses all together? It’s something to think about!

In our current model, the standard is to wait for something to go wrong before changing things up or getting help. But what if we didn’t wait for symptoms? Yes, pain, injury or illness can be an awesome indication that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. I’m interested in the idea that it is possible to proactively pursue well-being. How? Taking time out, corrective prehab exercises, and higher quality food are three ways I’ve been exploring.

What about you? Do you wait for symptoms to appear before you think about your wellness? Do you do things to proactively take care of your body? Share your ideas and discoveries with me I’d love to hear them.

Bonnie WiegandComment