Throughout the history of mankind the term “good health” has carried a different meaning depending on the time and culture that one is studying. For example, because of the advances in medicine and technology, the life span of an individual has almost doubled since the days of the dark ages. But, even in today’s society the term “good health” does not carry a blanket definition for all in th is day and age. One nation’s healthcare system may be a major priority while another’s may be given less concern. I believe that in our own country “good health” has been warped and distorted in its meaning.
As a person sits and relaxes in front of the television, a bombardment of commercial and info-mercials attack the viewer, telling him that the present state of his body weight is unacceptable. Images of hard bodied men and women flash on the screen every few second in an attempt to coax the viewer into purchasing a diet plan or exercise regime in order to achieve the “perfect” body. “The idea that peace, joy, and well-being come from outside ourselves is reinforced in so many different ways in our culture” (Ornish 144).
But, can a good healthier body be attained from a wonder drug being hawked at two in the morning? I believe not. Good health begins in the mind. Once a person can look at his body with a complacent mind, then he can analyze which direction to take to improve his health, that is, if improvement is really necessary. Only after one finds peace with the decision made can that person begin the journey to better physical health. And more likely than not, a change in lifestyle will have more effect than any pill or weight set.
Another way this nation has been seduced into a warped view of good health would be the paper thin super models that pop out in almost every magazine or television ad we see. I believe this assault to be far more dangerous than the muscle bound men and women that push diet plans and heavy machines. This attack has taken many more victim in its pursuit to present the ideal figure. Many teenage girls have fallen for this trap and allowed their weight to drop well below medically acceptably levels.
Whether by starving, binging and purging, or abusing diet pills and laxatives, many of these blinded teens have done severe damage to their internal organs, all this in pursuit of what they believe to be the socially acceptable figure. Again all this finds its way back to whether or not their minds are in a proper state of good mental health. It is an extremely difficult road to travel in order to correct the damage done to the body when it is abused with such radical methods of diet control. Many times professional help is required to set the wrongs to right.
But, good health just doesn’t limit itself to the physical body. As you may have noticed from the previous examples, the mind plays an extremely important role in the person’s health. The old saying, “Garbage in. Garbage out”, has for the most part always been used as a reference to what we eat, but it can also apply the mind. If a person allows himself to be tricked into a quick-fix to the perfect body, then what state is his mind in. And, what will his mind tell his body to do in order to accomplish what it believes is right in terms of dieting.
In other words, “Garbage in” = believes socially driven definition of the perfect body which lead to “Garbage out” = reacts by implementing a dangerous diet or faulty work out regime. As I stated earlier, the mind plays an extremely important role In a person’s health. A person’s beliefs, experiences, and education lead to a thought process that paves the way to a happy and content life or a meaningless and usually unhappy life, which in turn strongly mirrors itself into the physical body. But, when “you do the right thing, when you start living in a way that’s consistent with your values, your heart my began to heal” (Ornish 167).
As a whole, we need to work at strengthening our minds and stop looking for guidelines to our appearance from the media or a faulty peer group. The image they present can be severely warped and at times tragically fatal. We need to care for the mind first, and the body will follow. “The more inner peace we experience, the more we can enjoy life as it unfolds before us” (Ornish 145). Bibliography : Works Cited Ornish, Dean, M. D. Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis For The Healing Power Of Intimacy. New York: HarperCollins, 1998