If I had a dollar for every time a patient told me “it’s all downhill after 40,” or “this getting old thing really sucks,” I would be offensively rich. That being said, I would happily hand over every one of those dollars for the opportunity to elevate the expectation people have for their lives, to help people understand just because something has become common, that doesn’t make it normal.
It is not normal to have to take time off of work because you are always sick. It is not normal to have to take a hand full of prescription pills just to make it through the day. Not being able to play with your kids because your body is breaking down is not normal. Being laid up in the hospital is not normal. Cancer is not normal.
All of these circumstances are, unfortunately, common.
The world is getting sicker. All you have to do is look out the window and you’ll see people are more overweight, diseased, and stressed out than ever before. Every day I encounter people whose health is suffering in one way or another, whose lives have been downgraded by sickness. Somehow, this commonality has altered our belief of what is normal; we have forgotten how wonderfully we were made. Our bodies were made to heal!
A patient in our office, let’s call him Tim, came in because he wanted help dealing with his lower back pain. “Just a part of the aging process,” he casually referred to it. This is a lie that could have led him down a destructive path. Thankfully we’ve been able to create in him a new belief, a hope for more. Now, he not only lives without pain, but he is able to enjoy things he thought he was too old for. When I met Tim, I had no idea he liked to go sailing. It fills me with joy to see a man in his 80s living as he was meant to, with love and happiness and a deeper sense of purpose.
It may be a difficult concept to grasp in the current state of the world, but this is the truth: health is our default setting. As long as you don’t mess with your default setting, your body will always revert back to health.
Our society claims to have made extraordinary advancements in regards to our health. We appear to be living longer lives than ever in recorded history. But if those years are spent in sickness, does it really count as living?
The hard reality is we aren’t living longer; we are dying longer. Even as somebody is on their death bed, their body is still trying to heal the sickness within them. Their body is still, through disease and weakness, trying to revert back to health. Disease may be common, but health is normal.
I struggle to believe people are consciously choosing to be unhealthy. People aren’t waking up every day, thrilled to be addicted to prescription medication while their bodies fail them. Mothers aren’t knowingly inhibiting the development of their children’s immune systems by reaching for a Tylenol the moment a fever comes on. There is a breakdown in understanding of what is normal and what people can expect for their lives. It is time to begin expecting health.
Studies show that 95 percent of disease can be eradicated by simply making healthy lifestyle choices. By engaging in your fitness and nutrition and maintaining the health of your spine and nervous system, you can and will achieve health.
We have a lot to overcome in this world of sickness. But we must never believe the lie that just because sickness is common, it should ever be regarded as normal.
Dr. Matt Tonnos
God, Family, Food, Exercise, and Health Strategy for People. Full time Doctor, Dad, and Husband. When I’m not interacting with patients, playing with my kids, or exercising at home with my wife, Dr. Amy Culver, you can find me reading books, enjoying a strong cup of coffee, and investing in new start-ups. Remember, if you’re not moving it, you’re losing it.