If your test comes back negative, you’re glad because “They found nothing.”
Is that really true? Was nothing found?
Yes, the diseased condition or problem they were looking for isn’t there. Then what is there? Health. And health is not nothing, it’s something. Something was found.
It’s popular to think of health just as the absence of disease. I remember being struck by this years ago while in a “health” food store. Every product was geared not on wellness, but on treating or warding off sickness.
Most agree that our health care system is primarily designed for the treatment, management and sometimes prevention of disease rather than establishing and maintaining health.
Recent efforts to promote healthy lifestyles as a path to wellness mostly emphasize nutrition and exercise. There’s been little shift in how we think of health. People still see these lifestyle changes as strategies to evade disease.
Accepted logic says that disease is inevitable and you deal with it either through mainstream or alternative treatment, management and prevention. But that’s upside down. What about gaining a better understanding of health itself?
Health and wellness are our normal state of being. Shouldn’t we begin with health as inevitable, lasting and powerful and disease as a detour? Or at least with health as the rule and sickness as the exception?
Does it even matter how we think about health? Yes it does.
In a 2012 study by Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, director of Harvard’s Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter, patients were informed in advance that pills were made with inert ingredients and yet they still benefited.
In trying to understand why, Dr. Kaptchuk mentioned expectations influencing the results. People simply expected there to be a healthy effect and there was.
Here’s the bigger picture. By improving mental expectations for our overall wellbeing, we can be healthier. If we shift our basic expectancy from disease to health, we influence the outcome in the right direction.
The goal is to have our mental focus be on something (health) rather than looking for the absence of something (disease).
Mary Baker Eddy, an early researcher in this mental approach to health care, wrote in her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
Staying with the idea that good health endures, instead of just trying to keep disease at bay, our thinking naturally focuses on health. We expect it instead of disease. And that helps us experience better health.
People may have different reasons for accepting health as something lasting. Isn’t it possible that our Creator endows us with health as a permanent part of being, something that can be learned and lived?
It’s a right side up approach to life and health that takes our thinking’s effect on the body to the next level – health.