One of my patients today was a kindly Hispanic gentleman in his 50’s who took no medications.
His blood pressure was perfect and he was in remarkable health for his age–and especially for his occupation as a truck driver.
So I asked him, what was the secret to his good health.
His face broke into a big weathered smile.
He told me this, as he shrugged his shoulders and grinned:
“No me preocupo.”
Three profound words.
Translated to English: “I don’t worry.”
Pillar #1 – Psychosocial Balance (managing the stress of life, feeling in harmony with yourself, your family, having a good support system) is the single most important part of health.
It is from this foundation that we are able to find our confidence, to feel free to pay it forward, to feel good about making positive life changes, and to be likely to stick with them.
I simplified this term for a younger audience to Love: the love of yourself and others–your family, friends, other human beings. It is the single most difficult of all the pillars to achieve, because we are constantly worried (preoccupied) with events and things, and yet it is key to being able to find the best health for each person. This is often the root of many illnesses, because it relates to stress, which is certainly a factor that will cause physiological changes including the increase of stress hormones which in turn cause such things as elevation in blood glucose, elevation in blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, cravings for comfort foods, addictive behaviors.
The five pillars of health that I defined are important and relevant, because they represent the things in life that we may have some control over and are not things that are based on the dependence on someone else. We may never be able to change a deformity we were born with but we can change or end our relationships with others, our perceptions of the world and ourselves, how we sleep, whether or not we drink water, how and what we play, and what we eat.
Rich or poor, we all have things that we struggle with. The key to being able to overcome obstacles is the ability to shift perspective, to focus on the good and positive things in our lives–even if it is one single thing.
And, truth be told, the more you look, the more you will find things that will make you truly happy, even if they are things deep within yourself. The greatest adventure in your life may well be the one within your own heart.