Good Natural Health is interconnected.
In a recent article I said that there are four aspects to staying healthy naturally and they are all interconnected.
The way that good natural health is dependent on good emotional health is nowhere better shown than by the Roseto principle. This was highlighted by Malcolm Gladwell in his brilliant book, “Outliers ~ The Story of Success”.
He tells the story of a town called Roseto in Pennsylvania during the 1950s. The people in this town appeared to be much healthier than in other parts of the USA. In fact the death rate from heart disease was roughly half of that in USA as a whole and the death rate from other diseases was about 35% below that expected.
The local doctors were intrigued as to the reason for this and they began extensive research to try to find out why the Rosetans enjoyed such natural health. They examined anything that they could think of that could explain why the Rosetans appeared to be so naturally healthy.
Finally, after much research they decided that it was not due to factors like diet, genes, exercise, location or climate. In fact the only thing that they could find was Roseto itself. The town was comprised solely of people who had immigrated from a village in Italy with the same name. The people knew each other well. They stopped in the street to talk to each other, they cooked for each other in their backyards, they went to church, which had a unifying and calming effect, and they had extended families and civic pride.
Consequently, there was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, no ulcers, no-one on welfare and very little crime. Their way of life resulted in them having natural health and they stayed healthy naturally.
Good Relationships are essential for Good Natural Health
One thing that we can conclude from this is that good relationships are essential for good health. Bad relationships cause stress, which can lead to ulcers and other illnesses. It is difficult today in our busy western world to emulate Roseto during the 1950s. Nevertheless, there are things that we can do to improve our relationships so that we too can enjoy natural health like the Rosetans.
Most of us use try-as-you-go or copy-a-model-methods for relating. This may work fairly well but a little study can improve our relationships no end.
Here are some tips for improving our relationships:
1 Understand the importance of good relationships for our own well-being. We spend our lives in a network of relationships and if we are cut off from them we die. Yet most of our problems stem from difficulties in relationships. Marital and family problems, vocational, business and societal problems, religious, racial and industrial strife, political and international tensions are all connected to relationships that are not working.
2 Be prepared to give. A relationship could be described as the mutual sharing of life between two or more persons. You cannot have a totally one-sided or unilateral relationship – both parties must participate in some way, therefore we must be prepared to give something into the relationship.
3 All relationships need love for them to work. Love between husband and wife is expressed differently than from love between friends or colleagues but a loving attitude has to be there in every relationship. Love is expressed by kindness and by caring about the interests of the other person.
4 All relationships involve trust. Trust is a process – it grows and we need to keep working on it.
For people to trust us we need to be dependable. Dependability creates a climate of trustworthiness – things like keeping promises, being consistent and watching our moods. Moodiness is undependability in our emotions. How can I trust a person if I never know what sort of mood they will be in? Trust depends most of all on character traits such as honesty, loyalty, faithfulness and commitment.
When we trust others we make ourselves vulnerable but every success brings reassurance that the trust was not misplaced and a growing maturity on both sides.
5 For a relationship to work we need to respect the other person. Respect is the recognition of the other person’s worth, value and dignity.
When we recognise the value of other people we become aware of how rich our own lives are because they are surrounded by so many worthy and valuable people. Our own lives then take on a sense of meaning and significance.
Secondly, it is only when we receive respect from others that we feel worthwhile in ourselves. A poor self-image is formed by bad relationships or lack of good relationships and is caused chiefly by a lack of affirmation or respect.
Respect is shown in verbal and non-verbal ways. It is demonstrated by tone of voice, by touch and the way that we look at one another.
Respect is also shown by being genuinely concerned for one another and being “present” for one another, which includes actively listening to the other person.
6 From our earliest years we have a longing to be understood. It is one of our basic needs and is a cry from the heart, like the Nina Simone record, “Don’t let me be misunderstood”. When we do find someone who understands us we want to maintain and cultivate that relationship.
To know and understand others we need to create a climate around us in which the person is willing to take the risk of self-disclosure.
There is a sequence to this:
* you will never understand the other person unless they reveal their true self to you;
* they will never reveal themselves to you unless they trust you;
* they will never trust you unless they know you;
* they will never know you unless you reveal yourself to them.
Therefore, real knowledge and understanding of another person comes only out of a deep respect for the integrity of the other and the willingness to take the same risks as they are called to take. So, if you want to know another person you have to be willing to be known. Real understanding of another can only be achieved when you say, “This is the real me, you can be safe enough to reveal the real you”.
Understanding takes time to develop and follows on from love, trust and respect, which together create the climate for really knowing and understanding the other person.
So, for a relationship to be a good one all four of these traits need to be present, love, trust, respect and understanding. If you practice them you will have better relationships. Then, you will have better overall health, just like the people in Roseto who had natural health and had found the secret to staying healthy naturally because of their great relationships.