The Client Knows Best
“Decades of studies show that people who say their health is poor are likely to die sooner than those who rate their health excellent, even after controlling for how sick people actually are.” What can this mean? It seems we are our own best sources of information…
Psychology Today are running an interesting article on health, in which they state that “decades of studies show that people who say their health is poor are likely to die sooner than those who rate their health excellent, even after controlling for how sick people actually are.”
The article goes on to consider physical reactions to stress, which can lead to health problems. Coping skills and social support are cited as key factors in people feeling they are healthy — and being so. It’s also possible that seeing yourself as healthy leads to behaviour which promotes health, exercising, etc., and has a positive effect on endocrine and immune systems. But these are explanations of how mentality affects us physically and do not explain how our conception of ourselves actually influences our longevity regardless of our actual health.
Maybe the real lesson to be learnt here is that we are our own best sources of information. While it is suggested that this is because we have a 24 hour watch on our own health, I would argue that those who are really aware of their every physical fluctuation are more likely to be those who consider themselves to be unhealthy. I am sure that the basic information we need about our own well being, our own structure of checks and balances, the reality of ourselves as a whole system, is available to us if we are willing (not afraid) to dip inside and see.
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This reminds me of the beginning of the person centred movement in counselling, the backlash against the ‘therapist as expert’, the birth of the idea that the client is the real and only expert on themselves. The therapist of course remains expert at therapising [sic]! A medical doctor is still regarded so clearly as an expert — she/he knows so many things the patient doesn’t! The doctor remains an expert, knows about the whole terrain, about illnesses and how bodies generally react. But he doesn’t know anything about your own, unique system.
Don’t ignore yourself as the best source of information, or give your power away.
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