How do we know that we are healthy?

The body is ‘wired’ with sensory nerves. When any part of the body is experiencing trauma, either under stress or is malfunctioning, the sensory nerves in that particular area transmit signals to make the brain aware that there is a problem. The increased sensitivity which we experience is often referred to as pain. The pain that we experience is indicative of a malfunction or disease.

However, instead of accepting pain as a warning signal, we seek relief from it by dulling or killing the discomfort without investigating and treating the cause. Often, our fear of what the pain may herald puts us in denial. Ignoring these signals often brings greater trouble as the disease or malfunction manifests. For example, when we get a fever, we hasten to reduce our body temperature. When in actual fact, the body’s immune system raises the temperature of the blood to fight the germs, much like pasteurization.

Another such demonstration of symptomatic treatment is the common joint sprain. The almost immediate swelling of the joint is treated with ice packs till the swelling is reduced so that a support bandage or cast can be used. The swelling that follows a sprain is ‘nature’s cast‘: immobilizing the joint till the ligaments are healed. Our abhorrence to pain or discomfort and the need to seek relief from it is more often than not pandered to by doctors. Unpopular will be the doctor who advises the patient to allow the swelling to remain till the ‘body deems it fit’ to reduce the 

The rule of thumb to determine a healthy body and mind is a healthy appetite, a restful sleep, a positive outlook, steady body weight and being unaware and unconscious of one’s body.

Performing routine functions without having any discomfort or even without having any awareness that we are using our body, is generally an indication that we are healthy.

The question to be asked here is: What about a cancer that is undetectable (because of no symptoms or pain) until the final stage? In reality, we would have ignored the warnings or written them off as a natural aging process and brushed them under the carpet. Gradual but steady weight loss, change in bowel habits, occasional ‘twinges’ etcetera.

On the flip side, one shouldn’t become a hypochondriac. The information highway and its available search engines, though at times useful, should not be taken as the final word.

 A simple formula to a reasonably healthy life is: eat when hungry, sleep when tired, wake when fresh.

We need not just a healthy body; what is equally important is a healthy mind. Stress and anxiety are major ‘players‘ when it comes to a healthy mind. Stress often manifests in the form of illness. The best way to combat stress and stress-related diseases is to live one day at a time. Let’s not bring to the present day the burdens and regrets of yesterday and the insecurities of tomorrow. Let every day be a new page in the story of our lives. WE are the authors of that story. Let’s be sure to write a happy story. Let’s not be a puppet to any person or any situation. Let’s live in the moment.