Controlling your health. Part 1

Health and fitness is, without a doubt, one of the fastest growing fields in healthcare; and for good reason. The top six killers around the globe are heart disease, stroke, COPD, cancer, accidents and diabetes. What do most of these have in common? They are lifestyle based. Of course there will be medical elements to some of them but its hard to argue that a healthy lifestyle wouldn’t be beneficial.

I believe health and fitness is a state of balance between body and mind. This equilibrium in-duality  is accomplished by achieving wellness in four primary categories:

1. Muscles and joints

2. Cardiovascular system

3. Dietary habits

4.Mental health

When these four systems are healthy and happy, I believe you are in a balanced state of health and fitness. Doing so can be challenging, especially if you are lacking in self-efficacy. It will be our goal in this three-part series to get to grips with your own perception of health and self-belief. Your mindset creates, controls and influences your health, It is your beliefs, values and expectations. Ultimately, you will identify how you perceive health on three separate levels.

  1.  Internal perception
  2.  External perception
  3.  Change perception

Once identified you will allow you to have an idea of your health expectations and beliefs. By knowing what you believe you can begin to halt destructive behaviors and begin to take action to improve your health. You are the ruler of your temple, no-body else manages your body but you.

 Internal health perception

In practice I have witnessed the difference between those who believe they can and those who don’t. The difference is huge in terms of recovery and relapse.We all know someone  that has overcome a great health crisis. Were they positive or pessimistic?

Pessimism, defined as stress resulting from hostility, resentment and despair, has been linked to a host of diseases. Men between the age of 40-55 who have high levels of hostility have a 42% higher risk of death, so relax guys because the stress is literally killing you.

Identify your internal health perception

For each of the following mark the most appropriate answer. Do this in private and be honest with yourself, knowing that you won’t be judged. Score them from 0-10. 0 being no confidence and 10 being maximum confidence.

  1. My willingness to follow a good nutritional program in order to maximize my body’s healing abilities.
  2. My willingness to exercise my body in order reach maximum recovery.
  3. My belief in my ability to use focusing techniques to accomplish my goals in health.
  4. My belief in my ability to calm my stress issues and use that energy to succeed in my physical healing.
  5. My belief in my inner strength to heal my body.

Scoring your internal health perception

0-30 Low confidence in self direction

31-40 Average confidence in self direction

41-45 High confidence in self direction

45-50 Very high confidence in self direction

Understanding your score

Our perception of our health is so important to how we live, work and play. It’s within our beliefs and expectations by which we base our decisions concerning our well being. If we believe in a system there is a much better chance that it will work.

Take for example, chicken noodle soup for a common cold or flu. If you believe in it chances are it will help. Your internal health perception is how much you believe in yourself as the manager of your health and body. Your belief is important if you don’t believe in yourself you don’t have control. With that being said, there are cases and issues outside of such control. Hereditary disease or any uncontrollable events may also negatively impact your health. These are not your fault and there is no point in beating yourself up over it but instead focus on the future by what you can do now.

People who score low on this test need to understand that they are accountable. Now there is no reason to feel guilt but if you do feel guilt it is because you have violated one of your biggest standards. Now that you have acknowledged that move on!  Commit yourself to making sure the behavior doesn’t persist.Use the guilt as leverage to never violate your own standard even again.

If your scored high, congrats. Scoring high is for the most part a great thing It means that you take responsibility for your health The higher the score the more likely you are to:

1.Acknowledge your perceptions

2.Own your perceptions

3.Find solutions of your health issues.

4.Make the solutions happen

The down side to having a high score is that you may be overly self-sufficient. In this case, you may fail to seek advice or mentorship. You may fail to reach out to others that have a wealth of information. Again if the health concern you may have isn’t your fault (blindness, heart disease etc) don’t pressure yourself. Blaming yourself for issues outside your control is worthless. Focus on what you can do now to make a better future. Hold yourself accountable for your actions from here on.

In the next part of this series we will be looking at your external health perception. How you view others in regards to your health and wellbeing. If you feel comfortable leave your scores below; its alway nice to compare notes. There is nothing wrong with a low score as long as you own up to it and seek out advice or support.

In Health

Dr Anthony.


Thank you to Doctor Frank Lawless for his health perception test.


About doctoranthony
As a spinal rehabilitation specialist with over 7 years clinical experience in the areas of - Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Active & Passive Spinal Rehabilitation, Functional Movement and Orthopedic Assessment, Strength and Conditioning Coaching, Fitness Programming, Business Development, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Consultancy - you can feel safe knowing that I understand the worry and concern surrounding spinal pain. This is why self-efficacy lies at the heart of my practice. For more info:

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