Diet and Exercise - And Other Self-Medication

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • I am increasingly noticing that too much of a "healthy" diet and exercise regime can become a way of self-medicating. Much like excessive alcohol, sex addiction, or even striving for ever-more success and riches (as a socially acceptable and even lauded example) can be ways of self-medicating.


    I am wondering: Are we in a never-ending race for the title of "The Winner" - the richest, the thinnest, the fittest, the fastest...on and on the list runs. So many things to strive for, push for, out-do, and win.


    While diet, exercise, and goal-setting are all very good and desirable practices, at a certain point there is risk of these practices becoming something unhealthy. Something distancing.

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    When used as tools for wellness, these practices can get you to a better place. When used as self-medication, there is risk of addiction, damage…and more pain and suffering - not less (which is what we were seeking in the first place - less, or avoidance, of pain). Self-medication is creation of distance - from ourselves, from others, from the higher purpose we are intended for. A way of occupying our time and energy - distracting us from something larger; something with much more pressure attached because the point is so profound.


    I think we need to reconsider what we are striving so hard for.


    It is in the authentic reconnection with who we really are that life and living, and all that entails, becomes a "want to" (a joy), rather than a "don't really want to but should/have to" (a burden).


    If we saw ourselves as we truly are: perfect as created, I believe we could begin to treat ourselves as such. Be more inclined to nurture than to abuse. Let the light of self shine rather than snuff out.


    We reach a point where healthy pastimes can become unhealthy obsessions. To what end? If the end is a self that is damaged, defeated, demoralized, disconnected, it's missing the point.


    Could it be that the point, the truth, is in serving the world in the unique way only you can? As an ambassador of a world we don't yet live in, but would like to? Using all the tools available to us to be the most effective ambassador, the most authentic self? Then we must do so, for God's sake…and also for our own.


    For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms.

Published On: April 16, 2013