Thanks to the hard work of many scientists, we now know a lot more about how to promote good health than we did thirty years ago. Thanks to a lot of reading and experimenting on myself, I now know a lot more about my personal health needs than I did thirty years ago.
When I was twenty.
Some of the knowledge was available back then, but not widely. Some of it was only known in part.
If I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of physical discomfort and pain, and not suffered from mental illness.
But though, thanks to the Internet, knowledge about how to be healthy is much more easily available, you still may be in the dark about some stark truths because of the mainstream media that is constantly pushing processed foods and synthetic medication. Having a heart to help all who are willing to receive it to live a more abundant life, I decided to compile a list of those things which I wish I’d known about health, back when I was twenty years old.
#1. Women need to be intentional about exercising their core.
In elementary school P.E., I learned the rules of team sports (but mostly that I hated them). In junior high (that’s what middle school was called when I was a kid) P.E., I sort of learned a little gymnastics and ballroom dancing. Up until then, I didn’t hate running, but my P.E. teacher taught me to hate it.
Of all the what must have been hundreds of hours spent in P.E. class during my school years, I never learned the absolute most critical aspect of fitness: that if I, as a woman, didn’t want to develop chronic back problems, I either needed to go through a ten- to fifteen-minute core workout every day, or resolve never to lift or move anything that weighed an ounce over twenty pounds.
As you might guess, I knew nothing of the importance of maintaining a strong core, and I lifted and moved plenty of objects that were way too heavy for my weak core muscles.
As a result, at age thirty-five, I spent my wedding day and our week-long honeymoon in Maui in pain.
#2. Diet and nutrition are everything when it comes to having energy, and staving off illness and disease.
I won’t detail that now, because in the near future I plan to write an entire post entitled, “[X] Things I Wish I’d Known About Diet And Nutrition When I Was Twenty.”
Suffice to say that I could have been more productive in my younger years had I known then what I know now about what makes for healthy eating, and the truth about nutrition.
It would have also kept me from living on the edge of insanity half the time because of the anxiety-induced anger and depression, not to mention the Premenstrual Dystrophic Disorder (P.M.D.D.) which I don’t think was even a recognized mental illness until sometime in the last decade.
#3. There’s such a thing as a Highly Sensitive Person, and I am one.
Being an Empath, I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). My physical senses and my emotions are touchier than average. I have a sensitive digestive system.
For years I would occasionally cry out, “I hate my digestive system!” I would wonder if there was something wrong with me that I seemed to react to trauma, tragedy, and injustice – which I wasn’t experiencing personally – more acutely than the people around me.
You may ask what this has to do with health. Highly Sensitive People, especially when they don’t know that’s a thing and they are one, experience more stress than others because of our strong emotional responses which we can’t help.
#4. People need people.
This is a tough one. I want to write that I’ve burned a lot of bridges in my life. But much of it stems from being an HSP. Because of that, I have a hard time trusting people because I get hurt easily, and once someone hurts me, my M.O. is to withdraw from the relationship to protect myself.
But even if they have done nothing to hurt me, if they’re giving any sort of clues that they disagree with my beliefs or disapprove of any choices I’ve made, I’ll back away before they have a chance to out-and-out hurt me.
If only I’d known way back when that there are ways for HSPs to put invisible guards around their psyches so that people’s potentially painful differences won’t sting. Or at least, not sting as nearly as much as they might.
If only I’d known, I would have that big support network that the experts say is critical to living a long, healthy, and happy life.
#5. I should always follow my gut instinct.
I had a niggling it wouldn’t be smart to agree to go out with a smoker who said he could quit at any time, and who called himself a pagan, and who spent most of the piddly amount of money he made on booze.
Beginning at around ten in the morning.
And that’s just the biggest, most memorable time when I didn’t follow my gut instinct, and it led to either emotional pain or stress I wouldn’t have had to deal with if only I had had the wisdom to follow it.
#6. You can alleviate symptoms with natural remedies.
I was fifteen or sixteen when I figured out that my body had gotten used to the over-the-counter cold medicine I’d been taking like candy. It wasn’t working anymore. So I decided that from then on, I would just let illnesses take their course.
My mother having been an Registered Nurse for most of her life, she’d been brainwashed trained to believe that modern medicine was the cure for all ills. So I never learned about herbal tinctures, homeopathic medicine, or other natural remedies. And the inception of the largest essential oil company (that I know of), Young Living, was three years away from my twentieth birthday.
Of course, if I’d had my diet and nutrition dialed in correctly, I would have been able to avoid many of the symptoms of ill health, from colds to menstrual cramps to whooping cough, that I suffered for the next twenty years.
However, life isn’t perfect, and even the most conscientious of health nuts struggle with symptoms sometimes. On those occasions, it’s nice to be able to take something to facilitate the body’s healing, or naturally relieve pain while it’s healing, etc.
#7. Those bumps on the joints of my big toes are going to get bigger unless I do something about it.
Of course, I did nothing about it. I didn’t know about bunions until the left toe was starting to overlap with the next one. I ended up having surgery to remove the left bunion, and only then did someone tell me about a book that taught me that if only I had improved my posture and learned to straighten my feet when I walked years ago, the bunions might not have gotten bigger.
However, I’m not sure anyone knew much about bunions back then except that women who wore high heels were more apt to get them.
I wore high heels once. For a play. When I was around thirty years old.
I only recently discovered that my high arches have been a major contributing factor as well, and that wearing orthotics that include metatarsal support is essential to keep my one remaining bunion from growing.
#8. Rinsing teeth after every meal or snack cuts down on cavities. A lot.
Growing up, there were always sweets available to eat between meals, and lunch and supper were both served with dessert. My parents did not push my siblings and I to brush our teeth, and at the time, no one realized that simply rinsing one’s teeth with water gets a good bit of the food off that would otherwise entice the hungry bacteria.
Did I mention my mouth is full of mercury fillings?
There’s probably more, but…
That’s all I can think of for now in the realm of general health. The one good thing that’s come out of all my experiences: I’ve been able to pass on all these tidbits of wisdom to my son. I hope it will help make life a bit easier for him.
And for you, too. 🙂