“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” - Holy Bible
An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
WHEN we think of the presence or absence of illness in the body, our minds inevitably turn to therapeutic medicine and the central role of medical science.
Therapeutic medicine has its place but increasingly there is a shift towards prevention, holistic health and the power of the body and mind connection.
Eastern medicine is given prominence with this shift, with the greater realization that the body is an amazing machine that in most cases heals itself.
An expatriate academic colleague in our school at the University of Papua New Guinea commented a few years back that many Papua New Guineans were dying young.
His comments came at a time when a couple of young PNG academics lost their lives through lifestyle diseases, and two more due to accidents related to lifestyle choices.
At the national level, many deaths in PNG are the results of the lifestyles that people choose.
Our bodies are amazing machines, yet they require careful and tailored care for them to function at their maximum.
The best medical advice a layman can give is to listen to your body, not your ego.
Your body has its own ways of communicating with you when it feels you should slow down, take a break, even change the course of your life.
The ego loves immediate self-gratification. It does not understand delay or forfeiture. It deceives you into thinking it possesses you.
The ego’s main agenda is your total surrender to its will. Unfortunately, most of what it wants for your body is unhelpful, can be harmful and can prevent you from communicating effectively with your mind.
Most of what it does is to get us developing unhealthy habits. It does not care if your lifestyle will result in you getting cancer or suffering a stroke. It does not care about your life.
A distended pot-belly, commonly known in PNG as “beer-belly,” is a treasure and a goal of many young men in PNG. It is said to denote prestige, wealth and maturity, or readiness to be a leader of clan or tribe or enter politics. How can it feel and look good to deliberately grow a distended belly?
There are, of course, serious health risks. Obesity and excess fat in the body can cause and encourage health complications.
Barack Obama and Tony Abbott do not need pot-bellies to lead. Both men, I think even from this distance, follow regular exercise regimes.
Take the view that your body is your greatest wealth, a treasure chest like no other. Love and value it, and plan to look after it as long as you can.
Admire and respect the person in the mirror every morning. This will be the beginning of valuing yourself as a special person on planet earth.
When you have good health, you can begin to enjoy everything in life. healthy thoughts and good relationships are factors that contribute to better health.
Choosing the right kind of food, sunshine, fresh air, regular exercises and adequate water intake are effective remedies. Wholesome meals and good rest are also important.
Sickness and disease find it much harder to dwell in or attack a body that is physically healthy and emotionally stable.
Listen to your body’s signals. Your body can handle stress, but it has its ways of telling you to stop.
Hitting the nightclubs after a stressful week at work, staying up late in poorly ventilated rooms with loud music, the air saturated with smoke and heat, and having more alcohol than the body can naturally process are poor health choices. They are not stress-busters, but stress-inducers.
It is worth investing in these basic steps, it is a good investment as the health benefits are sure to infiltrate and enhance other spheres of your life. And, importantly, our collective good health will contribute to the nation’s health.