The more time I spend in this world, the more I’m reminded that we have to be our own heroes. Happiness doesn’t come from a new house, or getting the “perfect” job, or reaching milestones. Happiness is something that’s internally generated. Something that we choose day after day after day.
Same with our health. We’ve been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for health and healing: visit the doctor, get a prescription, put on the band-aid, it will all be over soon. I always laugh (and cringe) when I think about how many girls in my high school were put on birth control pills to control wide-ranging symptoms: heavy periods, not getting a period, even acne. (Think about this: you have a skin condition, so let’s jack up your *entire* hormonal system to take care of it, without trying anything else. Pretty crazy if you ask me).
So while so many of us have “taken back our health” and embraced natural solutions and healthy eating as medicine (which is SO awesome), I still see how so often we’re still looking for band-aids. The only difference is that we’re looking for certified organic, holistic ones.
Feeling overly anxious? Take some ashwagandha to even your mood out and calm your adrenals. (We don’t mention reconsidering your work schedule or learning how to process your stress better).
Experiencing fatigue? Sniff some citrus essential oil to wake you back up! (But we fail to mention that maybe you’re just sleep deprived).
We can create a pharmacy of herbs, adaptogens, essential oils, and natural beauty products, rather than the harder work of looking for what is causing these issues in the first place. Ayurveda sees even the smallest health symptom as the beginning sign of disease. As a result, these symptoms don’t just require band-aids, they require a deeper look at the symptoms causing them to arise in the first place.
First I have to say: I love my adaptogens. I sleep with essential oils in my diffuser. These are powerful remedies and help you take care of your body. AWESOME. But using these remedies without a deeper questioning of the root cause of the symptoms leads to the same cycle of medication that we have in the traditional medical system.
Second: if you have a health issue – see your doctor. They are smart people. This is not a “never use prescription drugs” kind of blog post.
Here’s what I am saying: When you reach for your next fix-it powder or remedy, ask yourself what it’s giving you. Ask what made the symptom arise. Perhaps you’ll see that the symptom was inevitable (for example, fatigue because your baby was sick and you didn’t get to sleep) and you truly just need a band-aid to help you get through the day. Or, you’ll see that the health issue was chosen (going to get that extra drink even though you’re working the next day), and you need to examine your behavior in addition to taking the band-aid.
With my clients, we apply a mixture of band-aids and vitamins. Band-aids to help ease us through the symptoms we’re currently feeling, and vitamins in the forms of conversation, journaling, yoga, and meditation get rid of the need for the band-aids in the first place. This is how true healing happens: looking internally, finding your path, and moving forward.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.