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What healthy actually means…

I’m going to present you with two people.  Once I describe them, categorize them as healthy or unhealthy.  No need to think too deeply here, just your gut reaction.  Ready?  The first, Preston, “eats clean”, loves to exercise, and is disease free.  The second, Alyssa, has stage 3 cancer as is in the midst of round 2 of chemotherapy treatments.  Which one is healthy?  Which one is unhealthy?

Simply by presenting you the exercise, I’m sure you know something is up.  And, my sleuthing friend, you are right.  What I’m pushing against is our concept of healthy.  Society at large operates under a very narrow definition of health that tunnel visions in on the physical.  The experts know better.  The World Health Organization defines “healthy” as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  

If you are like me, without any further probing you would have slapped a label of “healthy” on Preston and a label of “unhealthy” on Alyssa.  Yet, what if I were then to tell you that Preston has a very dedicated exercise regimen?  So dedicated, in fact, he has to turn down meeting up for coffee or walks with friends to get in his runs and gym time.  His diet is adjusted to the macro, leaving little room for visiting friends whose pantries house processed meals and sugary snacks.  He has to turn down a lot of socializing, yet wonders why he feels like he doesn’t know anyone at church, though he’s been there for 3 years.  Last week, he tore a ligament and has been told to rest, but thinks the doctors are way too cautious.  He could probably get at least a few miles in. 

Alyssa, on the other hand, has a full heart, a network of family and friends who support her with prayer and meals and rides to treatment.  She has a faith that is tested, yet strong.

Now it’s not so clear, right?  We would be wise to look at our own health with a broader perspective.  The physical, the social, and the mental.  Which of these aspects need expanding?  What is one small thing you could do today to tend to that aspect?

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