(Note: The following is the first of a series of articles from the Canyon Ranch Institute dedicated to showing people how to live healthier and encouraging folks to take small steps to adjust their lifestyle.)
Health is the opposite of fear.
We’re all afraid of losing our health. We all fear diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. We fear losing our limbs, our ability to move and to think clearly. We fear losing the ability to enjoy the world, our friends and our families.
Fear, as Franklin D. Roosevelt so aptly told the nation at the depth of the Great Depression, is the enemy: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
Fear can make our small problems feel like mountains and our small steps toward healthy living feel like marathons. This is as true in your home as it is across the nation and around the world.
Last week, in Savannah, a small group of committed individuals set out to change their world by addressing their fear as they embarked on one of our life enhancement programs. The Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program is a truly integrative health program encompassing elements that address the mind, body, spirit and emotions — including fear.
During the first of 12 weekly sessions, participants were asked to describe their fears about their own health. They included the following:
• I fear that my weight makes me unattractive and that I always will be alone.
• I fear losing parts of my body.
• I fear becoming morbidly obese.
• I fear diabetes and congestive heart failure.
• I fear being too stressed.
• I fear that my high blood pressure might lead to kidney failure.
• I fear always being overweight.
• I am always exhausted.
• I fear that my health is deteriorating.
• I fear not being able to control my high blood pressure.
• I fear that I might die before my husband — because I am the only one who takes care of him.
Perhaps you share some of these fears or have others of your own. Perhaps you know someone in your circle of friends or family who finds their life and lifestyle is limited by their fears of poor health.
Today is always the best day to start to address your fears, to improve your health and to begin to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and obesity.
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “As a nation, 75 percent of our health care dollars go to treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions — the nation’s leading causes of death and disability — leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life, and burgeoning health care costs.”
The Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership is just getting started in the area. Charles and Rosalie Morris have partnered with Connect Savannah to bring the Canyon Ranch Institute’s Life Enhancement Program to Savannah to help improve the long-term health and wellness of a targeted group of underserved city residents. Charles Morris is the president and CEO of Morris Multimedia, which owns the Statesboro Herald.
The partnership program works with individuals, businesses and a wide variety of organizations to address the problem of chronic disease and eliminate the unnecessary burdens created in our lives — financially, emotionally, socially and culturally — that are caused by unhealthy lifestyles that include behaviors like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not staying active, overeating or not eating enough healthy foods and, a very common problem, not sleeping enough because our fears and worries keep us awake.
The road to better health for individuals starts — always — with a single small step. Take that step, whatever it may be, in your life today. Consider these easy changes that can help you prevent chronic disease and live a healthier and happier life
• Park in the parking spot farthest from your destination, not the closest.
• Eat one less fried item each week.
• Take a moment to breathe, relax and meditate to manage fear and stress.
• Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
• Focus on your own sense of purpose. Ask yourself, “What do I want to create with my life?” To find your sense of purpose, think of what makes you happy. Also, notice where your mind goes when your thoughts wander. Is it to a place of fear or a place of hope? These are important questions for your health and well-being.
In the coming weeks and months, Canyon Ranch Institute will host a wide variety of authors to inform you about the many ways to live a healthier life, regardless of your age, gender, income, race, family situation or education.
As Canyon Ranch Institute founder Mel Zuckerman said, “Health is a resource for your life, not just whether you are sick or not. Use your health to make your world a better place for you and everyone you know!”
Jennifer Cabe and Andrew Pleasant work with the Canyon Ranch Institute. If you're interested in joining the effort to create a green space filled with healthy food and flowering plants, let us know by calling CRI in Savannah at (912) 443-3264, tweeting @CRIHealthyWorld or emailing CRI@canyonranchinstitute.org.