Illustration of a Cat Curiously Peeking Inside a BoxTo know what you know and what you do not know. That is true knowledge.

—Confucius

 

It may seem unnecessary in today’s world to remind you to do research on your health condition. For many of us it is second nature to check in with Dr. Google as soon as we get a tickle in the back of our throat. But, not all of us do and even those of us who do may either give up too soon, not go far and wide enough in our research, or fail to follow up on all the ideas we discover. After all, it’s not easy. If you do want to be the boss of your own healing, developing a deep curiosity about your health condition will take you a long way.

Here are some things you can do to develop your curiosity and satisfy it:

Make Time for Research

Set aside time to educate yourself about your health condition and all the ways available to address it. Put time into your schedule each week to explore current research and new approaches to your health condition. Begin by typing a bunch of different keyword combinations into your search engine and seeing what comes up. Some useful keywords to search in combination with your health condition include cure, clinical trials, studies, heal, treatment, manage, best tips, diet, exercise, or success story. If reading is particularly difficult for you, ask friends, community social workers, or volunteers at a local organization for help.

Keep a list of treatments or approaches that you want to learn more about. When you come across something that seems too far outside your comfort zone, too expensive, or too difficult, don’t disregard it. If it’s really not something you want to explore further right then, add it to an ongoing list of possible approaches. That way, if you get to a point where you feel you need to try something new, you have a whole list of things to explore and discuss with your health care team that weren’t right for you at one point, but might be now. Remember, the healing diet that helped me was on my “too crazy to consider” list for five years.

Question Your Assumptions

If you are a self-described “aspirin-phobe” who avoids the medical establishment and prefers herbs to doctor’s prescriptions, open your mind to the possibility that there might be wisdom in the conventional medical world that you have overlooked. Remember Ziesl’s story. After a dietary change helped considerably, it took surgery to resolve the rest of her digestive pain.

Similarly, if you are someone who only turns to conventional Western medicine, it may be time to broaden your horizons, step inside a health-food store, visit a yoga studio, or find a new alternative health blog. Dr. Mark Hyman’s blog at www.drhyman.com is a good place to start. He is a physician and one of the founders of Functional Medicine, which addresses the causes of disease by integrating conventional Western and alternative modes of healing.

It’s also important to challenge your current assumptions about your health condition. If you’ve seen several specialists, tried a couple of healing diets, and seen two physical therapists already, you may think that no doctor, diet, or physical therapy could help you. That assumption could be wrong. You may just not have found the right one yet. Question your current convictions and keep searching until you find what works for you.

Find Your Tribe

It may not be appealing to you, but it is so important to take classes, join online forums, get into support groups, and generally connect with and learn from others who have a health challenge similar to yours. I know it’s not easy. I resisted it for years. In the “go big or go home” world we live in, it can feel terrible to gather together with others who are facing the same tough times you are. On top of that, not everybody in support groups, classes, and online forums is upbeat, honest, and proactive in their healing. Sometimes it can be a real downer. Don’t let that stop you. The wisdom that you can gain in some of those groups can literally save your life. Try to find one that works for you.

Jolene, a sixty-five-year-old mom and retired bank manager, says that she might be completely debilitated by her multiple sclerosis if she hadn’t spent hours on Twitter and online MS forums. She saw there that the people who were the most committed to exercise seemed to have the most positive outlook and often the most mobility and the best handle on their symptoms. It inspired her to work with a physical therapist to take on regular, vigorous exercise (weight lifting, swimming, and yoga) in a way that she never had before in her life. As a result, her doctors are impressed by how active she is and how well she is managing her symptoms. She credits her friends online with giving her the information and motivation she needed to get as healthy as possible.

 

»» For Today ««

Look at your schedule and choose a time this week to do research on your health condition. Explore ideas that you haven’t been willing to look at before. Be curious about what’s out there.

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This is the 19th in a series of excerpts from the first section, Take Charge, of my new book, Everyday Healing. To start your journey on Day 1 and read the whole book: Everyday Healing: Stand Up, Take Charge and Get Your Health Back . . . One Day at a Time please visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble  or your local independent bookstore to pick up your copy today.

As always, if you have any thoughts, feedback or questions, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let’s talk!

To your health,

Janette