It’s the beginning of the New Year and many of the commercials on television are for diet programs and gym memberships. I understand this is the equivalent of the children’s clothing industry’s “back-to-school” season or the candy companies Halloween, but there is a bigger lesson to learn from the mass media messages. If an industry has a season then they are trying to make you aware, conscious and active on that information. What are you mindful of in your life when confronted with illness; after all there is no specific season for a diagnosis.
The key thing when confronted by a chronic or life-threatening illness is to develop a watchful eye. You are the only person who lives in your skin so it’s hard to help if you don’t take stock of all the information available to you. It’s like the person who diets who needs to be conscious not only of what they eat, but what they buy at the grocery store; it’s a two part process (you can’t eat what you don’t have).
Having a watchful eye means taking a personal physical inventory on a regular basis. It’s up to you to notice any changes, no matter how slight and convey that information to your medical provider. It’s also important to have a watchful eye on your emotional and spiritual life. The research shows that these both play important roles in your journey to wellness. A watchful eye is about engagement with the process. I know it’s easy to put the illness out to pasture until it makes a break for the fence, but as they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I know this isn’t about friends and enemies, but it is about how the mind, body and spirit connection is playing in the sandbox.
Having a watchful eye reduces the number of surprises you experience. Your level of participation is increased and the body responds to that level of involvement. How are you keeping a watchful eye on your health? How do you think it will make a difference in how you experience your illness and how you participate in getting well? How is having a watchful eye different than how you’re currently handling your health challenge?