By Ashish Kumar (LT MHPS)
All is not well!
We, as a society, are in a state of bad health. Diseases, unhappiness and stress are the order of the day. Instances of obesity, feeble bones and chronically depressed minds have become commonplace. More than ever, people feel lazy, broke and ignorant.
No matter how fervently you chant the revered dialogue ‘All is well’ from a famous Bollywood hit, sooner than later, you will come to accept that complete human wellness eludes us both at individual as well as society level escaping no one.
Seems like a negative note to start with. Well, it is imperative to say this to make you all aware about the gravity of the situation. Let’s take it head-on to face it better.
Wellness per se characterizes our ability to fully achieve and experience all pleasant, beneficial things life has on offer and keep all detrimental and negative things at bay.
The pursuit of wellness is something very primal to our existence and everybody is so at it. It begins at birth, when we realize that the amniotic fluid is no longer available and we have to find food to eat. Most of the times, most of our actions are (theoretically) intended to achieve wellness.
Eating nutritious food, exercising, resting, sleeping, working, earning, socializing are all a part of staying in good health. Why then, is it so difficult to achieve wellness. Food for thought.
The evolutionary ballgame
Over the last thousand years involving major breakthroughs, mankind’s interaction with nature has changed dramatically and has led to radical changes in diet and activity levels.
We no longer hunt. Food and transport are far more accessible and a staggering amount of automation has made us void of any left-out physical activity.
As a result, strength and vitality are in a downward spiral. The body composition has drifted from ‘muscular and tough’ to ‘obese and tender’.
But all this is part of the evolutionary process and there is hardly anything we can do about it. Nature will take its own course in keeping us alive and kicking.
Does moon landing guarantee happiness?
More than ever, we humans have become obsessed about the economic activity and unworldly desires. Things now revolve around profit, GDP and asset creation. Passion, hard work, inventions, projects and programs are the things we live by. We have touched the surface of the moon and the Mars. Not bad at all!
What’s dangerous although, is the marginalisation of the actual essence of living as a result. Health has taken a back seat in our conscience and slid further down our priority lists.
To do what we can
Notwithstanding the game of evolution and economics, on which we have little control, there is a general lack of health literacy, the capacity to obtain and understand information needed to make appropriate health decisions.
Our doctors are trained in pathogenesis (treating illness) only. They offer little to no help in achieving holistic wellness at a society level and we are left clueless.
And in the wake of our cluelessness, there is too much left to guess. To fill this void, there are doctors, trainers, yogis, gurus, nutritionists in the world queued up to claim the secret elixir of wellness, in turn trying to push us towards buying products and services of multi-billion dollar vested interests.
Just a small example. There seems to be an ever-lasting confusion about the workable ratio of macro and micro nutrients with fad diets asking you to eat uncanny portions of meat, dairy, greens and nuts. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free! And everyone claims to make you healthy. Whom to believe?
Fed up of the incessant cycle of random advice and information, we tend to believe the layman’s words coming from the trusted friend or a random neighbor, only to hear a completely opposite advice from someone equally trustworthy after some days.
The result! Bingo! We are gullible enough to fall prey to this seemingly great health advice and products and never come out of the vicious cycle of poor health.
Go get your arsenal!
Knowledge is Power. Getting a little conditioning by reading, community talks and searching the internet for unbiased, independent information and research will go a long way to arm you with the required wisdom.
I know such learning might not be something of interest for people who love to spend their time pursuing other passions. But my belief is, all wealth, luxury and physical possessions that you achieve in life, are inconsequential if not supported by optimum health. So, you don’t have an option here and must take out time for your physical and mental self in order to lead a happy life. You are missing out on something big by not learning how your own self functions.
Imagine your body as a car. Go for a long drive without knowing how to change your Stepney or to check the engine lubricant level. You are headed for certain disaster. The greater your knowledge about the functionality of the car, the greater the efficiency, speed and comfort you will be able to derive from it.
So the next time you watch an ad where a refined cooking oil makes the heart stronger, a single capsule revitalizes your being or if a single fad workout overtakes years of wisdom in claiming to build abs of steel without putting much effort, make sure your senses tickle and you raise the alarm to rescue yourself.
Just a stepping stone in starting to make all lifestyle decisions better and informed. So keep at it.