The Over-care of Health

Nothing is more fatal to Health, than an over Care of it. ~ Benjamin Franklin

For whatever reason, many human beings tend toward obsessive-cumpulsive behavior. For example, being in the health care industry I find that I must take great care not to become imbalanced in my perspective about my own health, for fanaticism eventually consumes and destroys its possessor.

Many in my industry lead imbalanced lives, weighted at the center by an obsession with physical health. Rather than striking a balance, they become exercise junkies, diet aficionados and supplement addicts. As with an improperly balanced exercise regimen, certain muscles grow while others atrophy and strangely and they become blind to their own disfiguration.

To someone who is looking to achieve greater health, such a picture can be perplexing if not off-putting. Tragically, many a person who would make great strides toward wellness was stopped dead in his tracks by the fear of becoming even more imbalanced than he already is, given the all-too-frequent example of a health nut gone wrong.

The mother of a good childhood friend of mine was a well-intentioned health junkie. Breakfast for my friend consisted of equal parts food and pills. Vitamins, minerals, herbs and remedies of all types were stuffed down his throat and I remember taking note of his increasing distaste for anything related to “health.”

My company’s clients – doctors of all stripes – are in the business of helping their patients achieve their health and wellness goals. Each one of them works tirelessly to help other people discover a balanced approach to health and I have heard over and over again that one of the central keys to helping their patients lies in the ability to outline a course of action that meets the patient where they are.

Every patient that comes in is not ready to move gracefully with an aggressive treatment plan. There are those who respond favorably to a more vigorous approach, but most seem more likely to stick around for the long haul if the process is a gradual, albeit with notable milestones that confirm that progress is being made.

One of the downsides I’ve observed of taking the aggressive approach – even if the patient is ready for it – is that it tends to strengthen the conviction that an imbalanced, fanatical health regime works in the long run. In all things, balance. Now there may be the need in an acute situation for a strong approach, but generally speaking, with the chronic conditions that dominate today’s medical landscape, the gradual approach is more meritous.

The gradual approach begins with the establishment of a firm foundation. Most disease is the product of a faulty foundation. It is exacerbated by other elements, such as environmental toxins, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc., but without a foundation no amount of renovation above ground will be sustainable. If you’ve seen the show, “This Old House,” you known what I mean about the importance of having a solid foundation in place before you undertake anything else.

No matter how you approach your health, be sure that you do not become obsessive about it. What some call health, if obtained by incessant worry about food, supplements or exercise, can be more of a prison than a chronic disease. Take care, take control, but don’t obsess.

The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind. ~ G.K. Chesterton

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13 Responses to The Over-care of Health

  1. Isabelle Kearney says:

    Great perspective about the road to health in a balanced way. This relates to every other aspect of our lives as well.

  2. Colin says:

    I agree with Isabelle’s comment. This applies to the healthcare industry, but it also applies to every other field of endeavor. Unless you are some sort of competitive athlete, the times are few when a fanatical approach toward something is more helpful to a person as a whole than a gradual process. I guess that is my point. People should be able to be balanced as a whole man or woman, but I’ve found that most people are unable to mature enough to see that happen.

  3. Lara says:

    Bravo! A great message to hear and share. Thank you.

  4. Brad says:

    love that last quote!
    too often we obsess about one area of life while neglecting the others and with it “balance” goes out the window. thanks for the thought provoking post

  5. Lydia says:

    My grandmother used to say “Enough is as good as a feast”;
    it seems this applies to just about everything!
    Love your blog, it always makes me think.

  6. Lady Leo says:

    In the wonderful Heart Math book they examine what they call “overcare”. They explain it as “The result of care taken to an inefficient extreme that crosses the line into anxiety and worry. Overcare is one of the greatest inhibitors of personal and organizational resilience. It’s become so natural that people often don’t know they’re experiencing it, because it presents itself as care. As individuals learn to identify and plug the leaks in their own personal system caused by overcare, they stop draining energy and effectiveness, personally and organizationally.”
    This subject is so fundamental to a happy life and I agree it pertains to all aspects of our lives. If we want to be healthy in our bodies and minds, balance will always be an indicator. If we want to raise healthy children then teaching and demonstrating balance is essential.
    Thank you for looking at this subject. Understanding worry has made such a difference in my own life.

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  8. Mitch says:

    “…fanaticism eventually consumes and destroys its possessor.” So true, not just about health but about anything. Great points to be applied to health and beyond – thanks for the post!

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