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Maximizing Your Health Account

Deposits and Withdrawals from Your Health Account

In terms of your health and well-being it's very important to not to "overdraw your health account". Withdrawals should never exceed deposits. The trouble is that sometimes we don't even realize that we're making a withdrawal, or we forget to make sure we've had enough deposits to cover a big withdrawal. When this happens, we tend to get sick.

Stress can cause a very large withdrawal from your health account. Your body will expend a large amount of resources as it tries to cope with stress. The result is the same whether the stress is psychological, emotional or physical - all types of ongoing stress result in ongoing withdrawals.

When we are under a lot of stress, it's especially important to pay close attention to our health accounts. Proper nutrition, sufficient rest, and regular exercise become even more important when we're under increased stress. The trouble is, heightened stress levels go hand in hand with chronic exhaustion - so we tend to feel like we just don't have the energy necessary to do the things that will keep us healthy. We tell ourselves that we're too stressed out and we don't have enough time to workout or make an effort to buy and prepare healthy food.

But the thing is, that's when it really is most important to make the effort and take the time to do what's best for our health.  Even if we don't really feel like it.

Take the time now to pad your health accounts, so that you will have the necessary health resources down the road when you really need it.

Everyone wants to increase the balance in their bank accounts. The health of our finances is largely determined by the level of our resources. The more money we have in the bank, so to speak, the more secure we feel overall. If our resources are nicely diversified among liquid assets, property, stocks, and bonds, we are apt to feel even more secure.

We can similarly use this type of fiscal accounting as a metaphor for our physical well-being and health. The more resources we are able to accumulate in our "health account" the healthier we will likely end up being. To take it one step further, if we're able to diversify the assets in our health accounts, as it's prudent to do with our financial accounts, we're more likely to experience better outcomes with regard to our long-term health.

You may notice that your physical resources probably fluctuate as often as your financial resources.  With the metaphor of health accounting, we can still think in terms of income and expenses. If your "income" is greater than your "expenses", you will likely enjoy overall higher levels of health.  Of course, the opposite is also true - when expenses are greater than income, health tends to deteriorate.

What kinds of things can we use to pad our health accounts? The most obvious and crucial aspects are food,1 exercise 2 and rest.3  With each of these, quality is more important than quantity - especially when it comes to the food we eat.  Eating a large quantity of poor quality food will eventually lead to being overweight or obese.  On the other hand, when you focus on quality - enjoying a diet that primarily consists of high-quality protein, high-quality fats, and plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruits - you will usually become more fit and naturally lean.

When it comes to getting adequate rest, most people usually do best with seven to eight hours of sleep each night. There are exceptions, but for most people, getting less than six hours of sleep per night long-term will eventually deplete their health account. In rare cases, getting too much sleep long-term can also lead to negative effects. Just like with food though, quality can be more important than quantity (or at least equally important).

There are many additional sources of "income" that can increase the balance of our health accounts. Close and loving personal relationships with family and supportive friends, interesting and stimulating interests and activities, exploring new places and learning new skills all help to grow our health accounts, enhancing our long-term health and increasing our overall sense of well-being.

Chiropractic care is another wonderful source of "income" for our health accounts. Receiving regular chiropractic care can help a person maximize the value - on a physiological basis - of the food, rest and exercise they are getting. Chiropractic care assists people in getting the most out of their health resources, by optimizing their physiology and thereby improving their health and increasing their well-being.

1Greenwald P, Dunn BK: Do we make optimal use of the potential of cancer prevention? Recent Results Cancer Res 181:3-17, 2009
2Jackson AS, et al: Role of lifestyle and aging on the longitudinal change in cardiorespiratory fitness. Arch Intern Med 169(19):1781-1787, 2009
3Smaldone A, et al: Sleepless in America: inadequate sleep and relationships to health and well-being of our nation's children. Pediatrics 119(Suppl 1):S29-S37, 2007

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