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A Model for Personal Responsibility of Health

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The mind and body are related. The mind impacts the body and the body impacts the mind. The conditions in our body are influenced by our emotions, by what we think, by how we react to stress, by what we internalize, and by how we relate to life in general. Actions we take that change the conditions in our body can have an impact on whether we get sick and to what degree.

This is not to say that illness and disease will not occur or that all illness and diseases can be avoided. The point is that we can be educated consumers and active participants in determining our own health and wellness, and that there may be available to us new possibilities in relation to our health for consideration.

A helpful analogy is to imagine a fire in your house or apartment. If a fire were to start in one room, one approach is to grab a fire extinguisher and put it out before it gets out of hand. This is an early-detection model of home preservation that may be effective if you've taken the previous steps of having a working smoke detector and an adequate fire extinguisher available. You would be aware of the problem and be ready to take action before a fire got too big.

Another approach is the prevention model. Using this model, you have a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in your house or apartment and you take action to reduce the likelihood of a fire ever starting. For example, you might blow out candles before going to bed, replace frayed or cracked electrical cords, keep flammable items away from the cooking area, keep a screen in front of the fireplace, never overload electrical sockets and extension cords, make sure the stove and oven are turned off appropriately, and run matches under water before discarding them.

This is a self-empowerment model in which you take responsibility for practical common-sense actions to create conditions that minimize the risk of a fire and maintain a safe environment in your home. You don't need to have a degree in fire safety to take effective action. You just need to be generally informed and educated on the topic, then implement appropriate behaviors. Taking these steps doesn't guarantee that a fire will never occur, but it will help create conditions that promote a safe home environment that reduces the likelihood of a fire.

Empowerment grows from an awareness that there are actions we can take, choices we can make, and ways we can relate to life that promote our own health, wellness, and well-being. We don't need permission. We don't need a license.

We can reframe our understandings of health and wellness. We can become more self-aware of our bodies. We can become informed about additional possibilities for addressing our health and wellness concerns. We can shift how we think about them. We can educate ourselves about appropriate actions we can take to impact them in positive ways. Consciously choosing to take those actions is empowerment.

You can learn more about this topic and other self care/personal empowerment topics in Marc Levin's book Eight Shifts for Wellness: Practical Transformative Steps to Enhance Health, Wellness, and Well-Being and at www.eightshifts.com.

For more by Marc B. Levin, click here.

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