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Behavioral Medicine and 2 Obituaries

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Behavioral Medicine and 2 Obituaries

Science came up with a new one a couple of weeks ago. "Behavioral medicine could significantly reduce the need for drug treatments for some conditions, cutting health system costs." Now there's a radical idea. It came from the British Medical Journal.

They went on to introduce the idea that promoting exercise and weight loss to a group of people with diabetes was helpful -- and produced a greater success rate than medicine. The article also mentioned using behavioral change to reduce high blood pressure.

Now let's think. These are chronic and degenerative conditions linked in a large part to lifestyle choices. The only genuine way to impact them WOULD BE through behavioral change. Right? Am I missing something?

It just happened — who knows why?

Often, though, we don't think that way. We think that the disease "just happened somehow" and that using medicine to moderate it is the best choice. Of course in the short run it may actually be the best choice, especially if the person lacks the motivation and desire to take on the new behavior.

But it's not just medication change that's at stake. People die as a result of ineffective personal habits. Not just the obvious ones like eating the wrong stuff and becoming couch potatoes.

People die every day because their thoughts betray them.

Let me explain. I'll use the disease cancer as an example, because it's such a concern today.

As I understand it, getting cancer is sort of like winning a "reverse lottery." In other words, there are a number of risk factors and vulnerabilities -- environmental factors, heredity, exposure to viruses, failure of the immune system, things like that. When enough of your factors line up at once, you "win."

According to the study of energy medicine, one major factor in that "reverse lottery" is a person's ability to manage his or her life-force energy effectively. To be clear, when I use the phrase "life-force energy," what I mean is the energy you conduct your day-to-day activities with. You'll hear yourself describe how your energy is doing from day to day by using phrases like "I'm really drained today." or "I feel so great I could do just about anything!"

When you give too much

One common energy management problem that leads people into trouble is when they give too much. Often this happens with a person who has a natural "caretaker" personality. They thrive on giving. They get into trouble when they miss the all-important boundary line between what I'll call the principal and the dividend.

Think of it like you'd think of a financial investment. If you spend only from the dividend, you'll be fine. If you start spending from the principal, your investment will lose value. When you can't see where the line is, there are bound to be consequences you won't like.

Same thing with your personal energy system. When you start spending from the principal, you open yourself up to disease.

Two obituaries

I promised you two obituaries. Before I offer them, let me make one thing very, very clear.

I do not think that either of the persons involved is "bad" because they may have given more than they could afford. I do not blame them for being compassionate. I do not blame them for dying. In fact, in its highest form, such giving is a highly sacred act. My intention is only to draw the connection between the behavior and the vulnerability. Because having given too much can also be a tragedy.

Read these few sentences and see if you can understand the vulnerability I mention:

Describing the first individual three days before her death, she "was tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality." This person died of cancer at age 44.

Remembering the second, "she unselfishly always put others first, a real Christian role model." This person died of cancer at age 62.

It's all about another one of life's little paradoxes. Giving to others, treating others well, and maintaining a positive outlook is integral to well-being in life. And it's possible to give too much.

Get your life in balance — support healthy choices with Word Cures. No more excuses!

Elizabeth Eckert can help you explore how simple everyday choices create health - or undermine even the best of intentions. With a background that ranges from energy medicine to structural bodywork to developmental psychology, this "Stick-To-It Coach" has the experience to support you in creating the healthiest possible expression of — you!

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