Yesterday I spent the morning with 400 women at a "Women's Wellness Day" sponsored by South County Hospital in beautiful Narragansett, RI. I was asked to kick off the day with a discussion about how self-care fuels health and wellness
During my speech, I talked about the need for women to own their power (their voice, their truth, and their buying power), by dealing with the real issues of what it takes to create long-lasting health and wellness. Rather than waiting for illness to occur and then treating it, or relying solely on something or someone else to take care of us once we get sick, we need to transform the way we think about health and healing.
Most of us are familiar with the common prescription for good health. We're told to:
Get regular checkups
While these things certainly will improve your health, the truth is that, for most people, they're difficult to do consistently. Why? Because we still follow a limited model of healthcare that makes compliance and consistency a pipedream for many. It's a model that fails to consider the most important factors of all - what's going on in our lives.
Based on my experience as a coach, I've learned that there's a direct correlation between the quality of a person's life and their physical health. For example, I've seen a client whose home was so filled with clutter that she wouldn't allow anyone to visit. Eventually her loneliness (and nonstop self-loathing) turned into a full-blown depression that needed ongoing treatment. Or, I worked with a man who felt such enormous pressure to provide for his family under the strain of tough economic times and an impending bankruptcy, that he wound up with hypertension and heart disease. And certainly, in my own life, I had my share of illnesses that were directly related to things like not speaking up in relationships, being conflict phobic, or ignoring my creative needs.
When we talk about healthcare reform, we really need to be talking about "life reform." We need to empower people to tell the truth and deal with what isn't working in their lives. We need to create places where people can get the ongoing support they need to make positive changes. And we need to track the benefits so that those in the business of healthcare - doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, etc., finally understand that the greatest financial rewards come from dealing with the source of the problem not the symptoms.
The amazing thing is that the solution is ridiculously cheap. Our Life Makeover Groups, for example, have literally saved lives (and healthcare dollars) over the last ten years by providing self-directed, ongoing support groups for people who were ready and willing to make positive changes. They're free and available to anyone in the world who wants to join or start a group.
"Life reform" begins with you and your willingness to take back your power. In some ways, it's the marriage of healthcare and coaching. It's taking the pulse of the current state of your health - blood pressure, cholesterol level, weight, or the existence of aches and pains, for example, and then measuring them again six or twelve months after you've gotten the support (and accountability) you need to make the life changes that matter. It can be quite surprising (and motivating) to see what happens. I've heard hundreds of success stories over the years - the woman whose fibromyalgia goes away when she finally gets help around the house and eliminates the chronic state of resentment that landed in her body; or the man who loses fifty pounds when he finally sells the business that's been keeping him up at night because it's been losing money for years. From what I've seen, people who take charge of their lives and make healthy changes, spend far less on doctor and hospital visits.
This is the message I delivered yesterday and today I share it with you. In light of the ongoing health reform debate here in the states, I'd say it's time to adopt a new "prescription for health" - one that will truly make a difference. And it begins with you...
Take Action Challenge
This week I invite you to engage in your own "life reform" by measuring the current state of your health. You might do things like check your weight, get your cholesterol level checked, or your blood pressure, and keep track of the results. Then, get a buddy, a Life Makeover Group, or a partner, and begin making the life changes you know you need to make. Give yourself a few months to do the work and then recheck your stats to see how you've improved. It's bound to put a smile on your face and keep money in your pocket!
If you're in the Boston area, you might want to spend the day with me and Dr. Chris Northrup where we'll be talking about this new way of looking at healthcare and what you can do to begin making changes in your life now. You can learn more here.