What does it mean to you? We see health as a noun, but I want you to see being healthy as a verb, as something you choose to do every day. Health undoubtedly begins at the cellular level but what about inner health? Something that has been on my mind since I came home this Easter is where does that begin?
Health today has been diluted down to almost eradicate the non-physical or pharmaceutically dependent aspects. Hardly do you hear dialogue about the importance of redefining what being a healthy person is. If you don’t have the emotional and mental stamina to follow through with your ideas and natural abilities, are you healthy? If your happiness revolves around arbitrary things like instagram followers, are you healthy? Medicine today has a surgical, pharmaceutical niche, I would like to expand that while I’m still a student — to focus on health in its entirety; which includes internal stability. I am talking about your inner health. What better day to do that than on a spiritual day like a Sunday.
I implore you to ask yourself, what good is it to be a public success — in any regard — but a private failure?
How successful is a person — how healthy are they — if the people closest to them don’t even know that they love them? I recently started teaching two toddlers English. Where during this time, they have a cleaner, then a baby sitter on Tuesdays, a different lady on Wednesdays and Thursdays — and the cycle continues. I am in no way shaming their hard-working parents, life in this current climate is hard enough. But with their nanny, baby sitter, foreign English teacher (me) and cleaner, this means between breakfast and dinner these young ladies do not see their parents. If they are in their beds by 9 o’clock, that means they spend an average of 3 hours a day with their mother, and even less time with their father. This made me think about a YouTube video I watched by Patrice Washington. The standout statement to me that this scenario reminded me of is:
What good is physical health and financial affluence ‘if the people around you can’t stand you? What good is it if those closest to you do not respect you? What good is it if the people you love don’t even recognise that you truly love them?’
Coming home for the Easter break, and spending the best 2 and a half weeks of this year at home; I took a look inward and asked myself the same question — except I tweaked it a bit — am I truly happy? Outside of University, I ignore the phone calls of my friends or family if I’m mad at my boyfriend. I hardly call my siblings or my parents because ‘I don’t have the time’. I hardly socialise with people because *inserts new excuse*. These forms of behaviour actually affect my happiness, and in turn — my health. Sitting in my room crying because I miss London, is a direct result of me being out of touch with the people who create this beautiful inner peace in me, that we should all have.
I may be in Medical school, but what are my personal relationships looking like? What about you?
I realised that I had become easy to upset or irritate, and in turn sleeping in all the time and forgetting to eat — not because I was stressed out about exams, but because I had not been in touch with the people who keep me balanced in my life. Being present, is not about a physical location or sharing memes on instagram; it’s about being attentive and engaged. I can argue that health really does begin in the mind. It has been said that patients recover better when the doctors and nurses in question actually make their stay enjoyable. How do they do this? By caring and by being present. If you fail to nurture your relationship with the people around you, you fail to attain the optimum level of inner health available to you.
According to a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers reviewed 16 studies that spanned over 30 years looking at patients’ attitudes after surgery. In each case the better a patient’s expectations about how they would do after the surgery, the better they did. The review concluded that the power of positive thinking is real. Healthy relationships induce positive thoughts, positive feelings and a positive outlook. Fact is, studies show that happy people cope better with stress, are more resilient, have stronger immune systems, and live longer. Having healthy relationships around you, will positively impact your health. On the other hand, a lack of positive relationships, will negatively affect your health. This new age mantra of health, has us all focused on mental conditions like depression and physical ailments. This has unfortunately for some of us, caused the social aspect of a healthy lifestyle to be truly lacking.
When at home, are you truly present? Or is all your time being spent on apps that don’t truly engage the real people in your life?
We fail to realise that sharing posts across social media is not the same thing as having a fluid and dynamic relationship with your best friend of 15 years, with your partner, or with your parents. I hope that we can be honest enough with ourselves to accept that going clubbing is not a form of solidifying a relationship. This is for my readers who are in their 20s, or younger. I am talking about relationships that nurture you, people who want to see you achieve immeasurable things. People who encourage you, or people who you need in your life — like your parents, your family, your friends. People who are only your friend when alcohol and good music are involved, what does that relationship have to do with who you are as an individual? It holds no true value. Please do not nurture friendships with people who are only capable of interacting with you in the aforementioned scenario.
I want you to create relationships that matter. People who do not have somebody that truly cares about them — will only give what they have been given, to all the new people that enter their life. These can at times be toxic relationships, where despite every success or exam you pass, your inner health on the other hand is likely deteriorating. If you feel you are the aforementioned friend, or may have these traits I invite you to seek free therapy at 7cups.
We live in a society where 70% of marriages end in divorce. If those closest to you, are truly more distant than ever because of this phenomenon of surface level relationships, not only leads to feelings of inadequacy, but divorce, toxic thinking and an increased likelihood to suffer from clinical depression. Let’s prevent unhealthy lifestyles, and what better place to start than something as simple as picking up the phone and being present? Or entering the living room and actually discussing this article with those closest to you, instead of clicking on your Instagram feed — while your fathers relationship with you is not at the healthiest point it could truly be at. Please nurture the relationships you already have in your life. I want there to be a culture of change where we realise that being healthy means maintaining the support systems we already have in place. I want to encourage us all to focus more on the people in our lives.
Your relationships matter and are an integral part of wellbeing. Health is wealth. As always, I encourage you to seek therapy if you have to regarding the relationships in your life; do not allow past traumas to stop you from truly reaping the benefits of having healthy personal relationships in your life.
By Adeola Adebiyi