“The body manifests what the mind harbors” (Jerry Augustine).
THERE IS AN UNDENIABLE LINK BETWEEN “HEALTHFULNESS” AND “HEALTH.” Science may not perfectly understand all the ways our thinking influences our physical condition, but it obviously does. There are choices we can make concerning our attitude that will show up in our bodily state. Wise physicians have always known that healthfulness on the “inside” contributes to health on the “outside.” “Since the human body tends to move in the direction of its expectations — plus or minus — it is important to know that attitudes of confidence and determination are no less a part of the treatment program than medical science and technology” (Norman Cousins).
Yet health is not an end in itself; it is not a god to be worshiped. It’s a resource over which we should exercise good stewardship, but good stewardship recognizes that the resource is to be used rather than hoarded. George Bernard Shaw was right when he said, “Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; and do not outlive yourself.”
But healthfulness also means something else: it means learning to have a healthful impact on others. Over time, each of us has some kind of effect on those who deal with us; the only question is whether the effect will be a healthy one or not. It’s a fine thing if others can say that contact with us helps them to be healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We ought to aspire to that kind of impact — and avoid actions that would pull people in the other direction.
If you’ve ever tried for very long, you know that it takes a certain amount of discipline and faith to maintain a healthful disposition. Taking the course of least resistance does not result in either healthfulness or health. We are surrounded by powerful forces that will, if we’re not careful, turn us into anxious, negatively oriented people who base their lives on the assumption that sickness is the norm. We need to maintain the trust that sickness is not the norm, no matter how prevalent it may sometimes seem to be. We need to discipline ourselves and determine that healthfulness will be a part of our character.
“The multitude of the sick shall not make us deny the existence of health” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).