The Immune System and your expression of Health
Let me ask you a question. When you get sick do you focus more on feeling blocked up, sore, under the weather and unlucky or do you focus on how amazing your body is and the opportunities you are creating for yourself by expressing your current level of health?
For most people phrases such as “I caught the flu”, “I’m so unlucky to get sick”, “I feel miserable/tired/achy/sore/congested and just plain blah” and “I have to get rid of this fever to feel better” are pretty common. Not a lot of people get excited when they are sick, which makes us here at Boost kind of unusual.
For starters lets get a few terms clarified:
Sick: afflicted with ill health or disease; ailing
Health: the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor
Expression: the quality or power of expressing an attitude, emotion, etc.
So, to be sick, you are afflicted with something, you are ailing; in other words, you are a victim of your situation. And many of the common phrases uttered in these times of sickness are centred around being a victim of circumstance and they act to disempower us. So we go to see someone and get something to make us feel better. A classic example is we catch the flu, we feel horrible, we go to the Dr and get some medication and we feel better.
In our house we don’t use the word sick to define what we are feeling. We use the term health expression. Interestingly when you look at the definition of health it is in reference to the general condition of the body or mind. It doesn’t say anything about being well, being the opposite of sick, being full of life or how people feel. Health is the condition of your body or mind. It’s not limited to a good condition or a bad condition. It’s just your condition. And as for expression it’s the power of your attitude or emotion. So a health expression is the power of your attitude or emotion in relation to the current condition of your body or mind. Let that sit for a moment or two.
So, at any given time we are expressing health. We are using the power of our attitudes and emotions to categorise the current condition of our bodies as being either good or bad. But what if there was no “good” or “bad” in our level of health? What if I told you that at any given time within your body there is a constant flux of both “good” changes (cell growth) and “bad” changes (cell death). And that the balance of those unseen changes results in your current condition.
Lets put this into a common scenario of food poisoning. Last night you went to a new restaurant and ate a meal that is out of the ordinary for you. It tasted a little unusual but you were having a good time and ate it all. A few hours later at home you start to have some tummy pain and develop a slight temperature and nausea. By midnight you are in the bathroom vomiting or otherwise rapidly expelling the meal you have recently consumed. You feel miserable, have clammy sweaty skin, feel hot and afterwards likely feel exhausted and in need of a good rest. In this situation is your body expressing health and working it’s best for you or are you a victim of the situation and the recent meal? Many would say that you are a victim of the situation and that the situation has made you sick. I’d like to offer this: your body is doing the absolute best thing it can for you and is giving you an opportunity to have what you most need at that given time. Am I crazy? Read on…
When you ingested dinner your body tried to tell you that you should stop eating. That little voice in your head that told you the food tastes funny. However, amidst other conversation you didn’t listen. So having ingested dinner, your body is now dealing with the situation in the most efficient way possible. Your immune system kicks into action and you develop a slight fever. Just enough to make your body an environment that bacteria and viruses cannot survive in. There will be no replication for those organisims. Your body also expels the offending food as quickly as it can to get the toxins contained within it out of your body as soon as possible. Of course this takes some effort, and like any physical exertion you feel tired afterwards. So you go to bed, rest, drink water when you wake up and generally eat something that is easy to digest to give some fuel to your body. 24 hours later you are back to normal. Your body is AMAZING in that it will always do what is best for you. Even if it doesn’t feel good at the time. And so much of what we do comes back to how we feel.
Imagine now the same scenario and instead of letting nature run its course and letting your body do its job we take some anti-pyretic medication to lower our temperature and we take some anti- nausea and anti-diarrheal tablets to stop the vomiting and diarrhea. You feel better right? Yet the meal you’ve just eaten is now stuck in your digestive tract and without your fever your body is the ideal temperature to play Hilton to any bacteria and viruses that have found their way through the front door. Instead of feeling better 24 hours later you are now battling a fever and general tummy discomfort for a week or more as your body tries to do its job and you fight it with medications. You feel better in the hour or so after taking medicines but in the long run your feel worse for a longer period of time. Because instead of letting your body express health you are playing victim to being sick. Too often we underestimate our bodies ability to know what to do and when to do it. We fight our innate processes thinking that we (or often enough someone else) know better.
As far as being unlucky goes, have you ever flipped the coin and considered how very lucky you are that your body works so well to express health and maintain an optimum environment for growth and expression? Have you ever considered that often we “get sick” when we need something or are lacking something in our life? When we are pushing ourselves to the limit with deadlines, bills, sports etc and most need a rest, we can push on for so long ignoring our body telling us its tired, but then we get ‘sick’ and we have an opportunity to rest and regroup. Perhaps we aren’t “getting sick” but we are creating an opportunity for our bodies to express their current condition and get the rest they need? And once we have regrouped we often have more energy to tackle a big job or a big change or we make an improvement in our sports performance. Our bodies will create an opportunity for growth one way or another.
So next time you “get sick” why not take half an hour to sit and consider what your body is expressing and just what an amazing job it is doing in moving you towards a bigger better growth period.
Note: I’d like to express my gratitude to Dr Sarah Farrant for introducing me to health expressions all those years ago and for your ongoing support to both me and families at large in making the best health choices possible. More of Sarahs work can be found by searching “Vital Moms”.