Monday, September 19, 2005

The MOST Important Factor for Health

My patients and many friends who ask for advice don't want to hear this news: their diet, exercise, sleep patterns only slightly influence whether or not they will get chronic disease. From the friend with cancer who has convinced herself that she gave it to herself because of eating sugar to the aerobic addict, the bad news for them is that this behavior while helpful is not as important as this:

Do you have lots of friends? Do you feel loved by your spouse? Does your church group pray for you (do you even go to church)?

People with these networks often do better economically, but I think research at this point has gotten the causitive agents backwards: you are not well-connected because you're economically well off, you get economically sound because you're well-connected.

Why? It's a matter of worldview. Our perception changes from "I'm alone in the world" to "I am not alone." This life-view supercedes jogging, eating vegetables, getting 8 hours sleep, etc.

People with this life-view trust more and make more friends. This positive view gives them a reason to exercise, eat right and manage their money. Eating right might help you think more clearly but it can't change your mind or philosophy.

Here's the dead horse: change your mind, change your life. (And live longer too, even if you eat junk, drink like a fish and the most exercise you get is picking up your phone to call your friend.)
More blogs about the woodlands rita.