Your Health: Is It a Priority in Difficult Economic Times? (Part 1)

by drnorton on July 6, 2014

iStock 000003209151Medium 100x150 Your Health: Is It a Priority in Difficult Economic Times? (Part 1)You may feel the need to limit your spending during challenging financial periods, but which expenses should you reduce or eliminate? Restricting luxuries in favor of necessities seems to make sense, but is that typically how we’re oriented? Yes, to some degree. We do tend to responsibly make sure that money is available for food, clothing, and housing, etc. However, beyond those basics we usually find a way to purchase what is most important to us. These are often the things and experiences that meet an emotional need and make us feel good for the present moment. This approach isn’t inherently wrong, but it frequently lacks foresight and can lead to the gradual accumulation of negative consequences. Sadly, this short-term, emotion-driven focus may cause you to neglect critical actions that can help guarantee a healthier future. As a result your life may be shortened and of less quality because of chronic pain and illness. What is the distinction between a luxury and a necessity anyway? A luxury is defined as “something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.” As I witnessed crowds jamming into the local movie complex this holiday season, I realized that people will usually find a way to experience pleasure and comfort regardless of their financial condition. A movie, like shopping or alcohol, can manipulate our neurochemistry and emotional state to help us find relief from our life situation for a little while. A necessity on the other hand is “something that cannot be done without, something essential to maintaining well-being.” This implies a choice more likely to confer long-term value but that may not give us the same immediate gratification. Sometimes a necessity is defined as a “pressing or urgent need, a condition requiring relief.” What necessities have you decided you can’t afford while instead you prioritize the luxuries of the “feel-good” trip to Las Vegas or Disneyland, evenings of dining out, or the newer, fancier car or furniture? What are the life necessities that should receive the greatest commitment of our time and money? When it really comes down to it, what do our actions ultimately confirm about what is most valuable to us?

“What good is the money and success we seek when we sacrifice our health in the process?” – Dr. Matthew Norton

What is truly more important than your health and vitality? When they are fading and your days become numbered (often prematurely), how many other things really matter that much? However, how commonly do we disregard our health, forgotten on the back burner, while we wrestle with the urgent or play with the insignificant until it’s too late? After life itself, health is the fundamental gift we’re given and it’s our responsibility to care for it. What investments should we make that will maximally guarantee a long, healthy, and vibrant life that permits us to achieve and contribute fully? Stay tuned for Part 2…
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