Connecting Behavior & Health

I started college last week, I’m studying for a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. Science, in general, is something that’s dear to me. I decided to pursue health science specifically so I can further advocate for plant-based health (having a degree helps people take you seriously). My first week of assignments was all about the field of health psychology. Health psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology and is meant to establish a scientific basis in things which cause diseases rather than just biological sources. For example, a biological source of a cold would be bacteria or a virus – but what are the other factors that lead up to getting a cold? Two examples would be a psychological source such as habitually sneezing into your hands, and a social source would be something like their job which requires a lot of contact with children.

 

My studies got me thinking about how deeply rooted psychology is with physical health. This is the basis of viewing health in a holistic way (click here to read about what holistic health is), just on a deeper level. First and foremost when tackling health issues, or preventing them to begin with as we should be doing, is to pinpoint the factors which cause poor health. The fact is that in the United States specifically, almost all of our top killers are fully preventable. In the film Forks Over Knives, mentioned in my list of the Top 5 Vegan Documentaries, there is a presentation titled “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” which actually links most of these killers to the consumption of animal products. It’s true that a lot of people simply don’t know that certain things, like the consumption of animal products, is detrimental to their health. However; there are a plethora of people who are fully aware that what they’re doing is bad for their health yet continuously do it anyway. I’m not talking about someone who has a junk food day every once in awhile, but rather, people who eat nothing but junk food as an example, or maybe they continue smoking being fully aware that 67% of smokers die from smoking related illnesses.vegetable-1085065_960_720

 

The idea of doing things which ultimately harm us or even in many cases cause our death is bizarre to me… until I remembered that I used to do them too. Very few people have the privilege of being born into a household that is healthy in every aspect and promotes their children’s self-awareness for their health. Our habits and choices are deeply rooted in our psychology which has multiple factors, one of the biggest simply being we don’t know better or never learned better. There are even people who know better, but just don’t connect the dots as to why they, personally, should stop whatever they’re doing – or perhaps their desire to continue (such as in the case of addiction, physical or mental) they believe is too strong for them to move forward despite now knowing better.

 

Health damaging behaviors need to be kicked to the curb and replaced with health enhancing behaviors. Health damaging behaviors include things like (consistently, not occasionally) eating unhealthy food, holding onto relationships that aren’t good for your mental health, never exercising, and smoking. Health enhancing behaviors include things like drinking lots of water, eating healthy, finding exercise that works for you, taking rest days, things which make you & your body happy. These are the behaviors we need to be focusing on.

 

It all has to do with becoming self-aware, growing, and learning how we need to take responsibility for not only ourselves but everything we impact. This applies to every aspect of our lives (including how we live in terms of environmental impact or things as simple as how we interact with cashiers), but most importantly our own health.

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Categories: Natural Health

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