How do you feel today? Energetic? Tired? Frustrated? Awesome? Sad? Happy? Positive? Sick? Coming down with something?
My guess is that when you go to your regular check-up and the doctor asks if you feel healthy, you first take stock of your current situation. Are there any nagging pains? Discomfort? Depression? If the answer is no, you start looking backwards in time and try to pinpoint when was the last time you were sick. Then you think about the previous year or so and count how many times you were sick during that time. Finally, if there are no acute issues, you’re likely to say “I’m fine, doc”. But are you really?
I used to be like that. If I was not sick I had to be healthy, right? I mean those are the two options. Feeling a bit low on energy or not having much interest to do anything except play World of Warcraft does not really count as a medical problem. How would I even have known that there was anything wrong with me because that’s basically the condition I had been in for as long as I can remember? Sure, some days I was a bit more active and energetic but most of the time I was just sort of going through the motions of living; doing my work, eating food, sleeping, and escaping the daily grind in video games, movies, or riding a motorcycle.
Now I know better. Having tasted what health really means it is easier to recognize the sort of apathy I was in, and to recognize it as a health problem. Being healthy is not just absence of illness. It is a state of being where you feel active, energetic, happy, resourceful, positive, focused and strong.
I have come to believe that this is actually our natural state – not some “optimized” form of physical and mental prowess. This is what we have evolved to be like. Not just free of disease, but actually having physical strength, mental clarity and an all-encompassing good feeling about our bodies, our minds, and our lives.
Fixing your diet, getting rid of stress, sleeping well and being physically active should not be seen as attempts to change you into something you’re not. What you’re doing instead is getting rid of factors that make you sick, factors that prevent you from enjoying the health and well-being that is your birthright.
This is the essence of what I try to help people to achieve when I’m coaching them.