As you might expect from any blogger, I feel compelled to share some thoughts from the heart and soul during this holiday season. From my title, you’ll see it’s important to me to share my thoughts about both gifts and gratitude. In fact, after another year of both great blessings on various fronts and more health trials and tribulations, there’s so much I’ve learned and want to share, this is going to be a two-parter.
Let’s start with gifts. And, I’m not talking about the tangible ones you give friends and family, like baseball cards, the new Taylor Swift CD, or Godiva chocolates. I’m talking about the two gifts that I think are the greatest gifts of all — love and good health. I thought about it a bit, and while I think good health is one of the most important gifts that is both bestowed upon us — and that we can cause in ourselves and others through the right actions — I believe the most important gift is love.
You can live many years, even a lifetime, with certain types of poor health. It may not be easy, but it’s doable depending on the health challenge, but I don’t think any living creature can survive without love. I’ve always loved this line from “Nature Boy”, “the greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return“. Not just during the holiday season, but all year long, I hope you’ll remember, as I try my hardest to do, to share a smile and reach out to those who are most in need of it. It only takes a second of your time to speak to a stranger who appears down-on-their-luck or to reach out to a close or distant acquaintance who you know may be lonely and/or hurting in some way.
Now, on to good health. Some of us, like me, were fortunate to be born with good health. When I see children struggling with any kind of mental or physical health challenge, it breaks my heart that they have to be so courageous and fight so much at an early age. Also like me, some of us have known major health issues in adulthood, such as cancer, MS, diabetes, COPD, and heart disease. While in certain cases, we can’t prevent the arrival of our illness, there are certain steps we can take to manage or minimize our symptoms or disease progression. In addition, we can give the gift of good health to others by making sure we aren’t encouraging unhealthy behaviors through our actions.
I’ve shared information with family and friends about this great book I bought at the beginning of 2014. Reading it was a wonderful way to start the year committed to taking actions that support good health. This book, https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Move-Sleep-Choices-Changes/dp/1939714001, by Tom Rath, was a good reminder that in addition to guarding your own health, you can help others guard theirs. By taking the lead by ordering first at a restaurant and making healthy selections, or by refusing to bring unhealthy food into the office or to get-togethers with family and friends, you can be a help instead of a hindrance to supporting good health in your family and friends.
I hope during this holiday season you will be both the giver and recipient of both love and behaviors that encourage good health.