(Note: The following is the first of a series of articles from the Canyon Ranch Institute dedicated to showing people how to live healthier and encouraging folks to take small steps to adjust their lifestyle.)
Health is the opposite of fear.
We're all afraid of losing our health. We all fear diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
We fear losing our limbs, losing our ability to move, and losing our ability to think clearly. We fear losing the ability to enjoy the world, to enjoy our friends, and to enjoy our families.
Fear, as Franklin D. Roosevelt so aptly told the nation at the depth of the Great Depression, is the enemy.
"The only thing to fear is fear itself."
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Fear can make our small problems feel like mountains and our small steps toward healthy living feel like marathons.
This is as true in your home as it is across the nation and around the world. Last week, in Savannah, a small group of committed individuals set out to change their world by addressing their fear as they embarked on one of our life enhancement programs.
The Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program is a truly integrative health program encompassing elements that address our minds, our bodies, our spirits and our emotions - including our fear.
During the first of 12 weekly sessions, participants were asked to describe their fears about their own health. Some of their fears include:
• My weight makes me unattractive and I will be alone always.
• Losing parts of my body.
• I fear becoming morbidly obese.
• Heart failure, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.
• Being too stressed.
• High blood pressure that might lead to kidney failure.
• Always being overweight.
• I am always exhausted.
• My health is deteriorating.
• Not being able to control my high blood pressure.
• That I might die before my husband - because I am the only one who takes care of him.
Perhaps you share some of these fears or have others of your own. Perhaps you know someone in your circle of friends or family who finds their life and lifestyle is limited by their fears of poor health.
Today is always the best day to start to address your fears, to improve your health, to start to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and obesity.
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "As a nation, 75 percent of our health care dollars go to treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions - the nation's leading causes of death and disability - leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life, and burgeoning health care costs."
The Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership is just getting started in the area.
Charles and Rosalie Morris have partnered with Connect Savannah to bring the Canyon Ranch Institute's Life Enhancement Program to Savannah to help improve the long-term health and wellness of a targeted group of underserved city residents. Charles Morris is the president and CEO of Morris Multimedia, which owns the Bryan County News.
The partnership program works with individuals, businesses, and a wide variety of organizations to address the problem of chronic disease and eliminate the unnecessary burdens created in our lives - financially, emotionally, socially and culturally - that are caused by unhealthy lifestyles. Unhealthy behaviors include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not moving our bodies enough, eating more food than we need or not enough healthy foods and a very common problem - not sleeping enough because we let our fears and worries keep us awake. The road to better health for individuals starts - always - with a single small step.
Take that small step, whatever it may be, in your life today. Consider these easy changes to your life that can help you prevent chronic disease and live a healthier and happier life:
• Park in the parking spot farthest from your destination, not the closest.
• Eat one less fried food item each week.
• Take a moment to breath, relax and meditate to manage your fear and stress.
• Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
• Focus on your own sense of purpose. Ask yourself: "What do I want to create with my life?" To find your sense of purpose, think of what makes you happy. Also, notice where your mind goes when your thoughts wander - is it to a place of fear or a place of hope? These are important questions for your health and well-being.
In the coming weeks and months, Canyon Ranch Institute will host a wide variety of authors to inform you about the many ways to live a healthier life regardless of your age, your gender, your income, your race, your family situation, or your education.
As Canyon Ranch Institute founder Mel Zuckerman said, "Health is a resource for your life, not just whether you are sick or not. Use your health to make your world a better place for you and everyone you know!"
Jennifer Cabe and Andrew Pleasant work with the Canyon Ranch Institute. If you're interested in joining the effort to create a healthy green space filled with healthy food and flowering plants, let us know by telephoning CRI in Savannah at (912) 443-3264; Tweeting@CRIHealthyWorld, or by emailing CRI@canyonranchinstitute.org