Health has always been a problem that the government tries to solve. The mere existence of the National Health Improvement Initiative proves that millions of dollars are spent each year in an effort to tackle US health problems.
This program works and shows statistics you can see on TV. But what if you personally could influence these numbers?
Well, according to one research, self-development coaching doesn’t influence the quality of life in the long run. However, this study focused on coaching programs. It proved the fact that many so-called “coaches” are not worth a dime.
What if there was a hypothetical scenario where your personal development is effective? Supposing most people started some kind of self-development, what would the consequences for public health be?
Hop on to learn what your country would look like in this scenario!
What is self-development?
Okay, let’s first define what we mean by self-development in this context.
Have you ever heard about courses or a book that is supposed to teach you how to live your life? Remember those ads that promised to make you so motivated that you would start an Apple-competitor company?
Well, that’s not self-development. That is people trying to sell you something under the guise of self-development.
Self-development that we are going to look closely at in this article is something different. It is seeking knowledge about your body and mind. It is learning how you function and the ways you can enhance your performance. Essentially, it is the pursuit of happiness.
H2: Why personal development affects health improvement
Why does this thought experiment even exist? Because there is a reason to believe that people on their own may be better at raising society’s health. Here’s why.
That’s you who shape the society
Individuals shape the society.You might have heard phrases like “our society needs health reforms” or “this nation is healthy.” But wait, society is just a construct, isn’t it?
“Society” doesn’t vote, “society” doesn’t work, and “society” doesn’t eat fast food. People do.
That is why if everyone cares about themselves, society as a whole will be better off.
Your own efforts work better
Do you remember school? Stuff like history and biology probably have appeared so dull. But when you read about hormones or watch a history video on YouTube, it seems pretty fun and educating. Why is that so?
The thing is, we are not wired to find whatever we are told fun. We are wired to learn about things after they get us interested.
That is why if the initiative is from the ground up, we may end up with a healthier society.
How self-development affects health
Now that we know what it is and how it works, let’s see how self-development would be improving health.
1. More sleep
Do you get enough sleep? Probably not. It is very rare that a young person can sleep the recommended 8 hours, let alone more than that.
What was the last time you went to sleep before 12 AM? The odds are, you stick around until 2 AM watching YouTube videos.
Do you really need to read about quantum mechanics on Wikipedia when you need to get up in four hours? Probably not, but you don’t feel like sleeping anyway.
The problem is you don’t have enough physical activity to want to hug that bed. When you exercise, you help your body prepare to sleep. Your temperature goes up and then drops. When that happens, your level of melatonin increases, making you more sleepy. Even going for a walk before you go to bed can help you.
2. Sharper wits
Are you sure you can focus on anything for a couple of hours? That’s without watching YouTube or browsing Instagram.
If you can, then you are on the top of your game. Many students can’t handle their alertness and resort to Adderall to help them concentrate or use essay websites like bestcustomwriting.com to buy college papers.
But, you can save the money you were planning to spend on Adderall by doing sports. Exercising helps your body be more mentally alert in a lot of ways.
One of them is being in the “zone.” You probably had experienced this state of mind when playing a team sport. You kind of tune out and just do what you have to.
How does it help you? The “zone” is basically a form of mindfulness, like meditation. Practicing mindfulness for a short time each day gives your brain tons of benefits. Among them is the ability to focus better.
3. Fitness and health
Our bodies did not evolve to spend the whole day sitting in front of a computer screen. You may not believe this from a cubicle, but the evolution made sure we can run, climb, and hunt wild beasts.
When you are inactive, your body thinks you don’t need muscle anymore and reduces the amount you have. Eating food with lots of sugar and fat doesn’t help either.
People who learn how their body works and responds to different foods and activities know better. With the proper knowledge, no one will trade a tasty and nutritious dish for a hamburger.
Exercise also helps your health. You don’t even have to pump iron for days on end. Doing pushups or even going for a walk is enough to be fit.
4. Less stress
How can you fight stress with the gym if you get so stressed after it? The answer is in the intensity.
People who work out to grow their bicep to the Schwartznegger size probably get stressed a lot. People who do jogging or swimming a couple of days a week don’t.
When you read up on healthy lifestyle, you know that exercise helps you control the level of stress hormones in your blood. So does healthy eating.
That means people who are into self-development end up being less stressed out.
5. Lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s
Back in the caveman days, you would be considered old at 40. Now, this age is closer to 70.
Back in the Stone Age, you would be scared of getting eaten by predators or dying because of the common cold. Now, since our medicine is comparatively advanced, you won’t die from contracting flu. However, you are left with a much grimmer fear.
In the era when living in your 70s is a norm, the only thing you should really fear is not being able to live your 70s fully. Alzheimer’s and dementia are one of the biggest threats now.
Your brain degrades, and, in the end, you stop being you. You don’t recognize your children and can’t understand where you are.
However, exercise may help to prevent this disease. Since doing sports fills your brain with oxygen-rich blood and improves memory, your chances of getting Alzheimer’s are getting lower.
6. Longer life span
You can’t live forever, but who’d say no if they were offered a couple more years? Certainly not the self-developing types.
Imagine this, you spend your life fit, mentally sharp, and you can’t be bothered by stress. Do you see this person dying of a heart attack in their cubicle because they can’t handle another report? Probably not.
This is proven by a study that links exercise to longevity. According to the scientists, jogging and going to the gym extend your life.
However, there are two other factors to keep in mind. To live even longer, you have to be engaged in thinking and social interactions — precisely the two things you have to do to foster self-development.
You read a lot, think a lot, and discuss the findings with your friends. Ironically enough, when you are looking for ways to be better, you are becoming better.
What does this mean for society?
Okay, now you know what self-development can do for you. But how would this influence the national health statistics? Let’s find out.
1. Less preventable deaths
Preventable deaths are those that are caused by diseases linked to unhealthy habits.
Think lung cancer. Sure, some people get lung cancer without smoking a single cigarette in their life. But many are lifetime smokers who buy more than a pack a day.
The same goes for cardiovascular disease. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the person had less stress and more exercise.
2. Lower rates of obesity
It’s ironic that the biggest problem we face nowadays as a society is the abundance of food. There is so much, and it comes with such a low price tag, that obesity statistics show terrifying numbers.
In a scenario where most people take efforts to develop as a person, there are fewer reasons to go over that edge. Physically, your body is going to be healthier. Mentally, you won’t indulge in food if you feel bad, but rather solve your problems.
3. Lower suicide rate
It is weird that people would end their lives in prosperous societies like the first world countries. Yet they still do it, and even highly developed counties like Japan and Korea have one the highest suicide rates.
If self-development brings responsibility for your actions and a proactive approach to life, the odds are, suicide statistics is going to go down with time.
Doing sport has proven effect on preventing and curing addictions as well as boosting the overall mental health.
4. Increased average life expectancy
In this hypothetical country, where people are fit both mentally and physically, life expectancy is probably going to grow. Sure, it will take a couple of dozens of years, but it will increase.
People who live a life full of health and happiness are less likely to lose the will to live, as some of the depressed elders might do. They also are more likely to live for another ten years in good health.
5. Less strain on the medical industry
The end result of people being healthier on average is less strain on the doctors. The majority of checkups are related to the common cold and the like.
If these perfect self-developing folks act on their findings, it’s likely that their immune systems will not let the viruses in that often. As a result, you will be able to see your doctor without spending hours in a line.
The problem with this thought experiment
The thing is, the picture we’ve just painted you looks far too utopian. If there is so much information out there that you can use to be more fit and live longer, why doesn’t everyone look like an athlete or becomes a great-grandparent?
That’s because many people have lives to get on with. As sad as it sounds, some people are too busy managing work, marriage, children, and hobbies that they forget about self-development.
This scenario is probably not going to become a reality for everyone in the nearest future. But, it can be for you or your children. As the saying goes, “If you want to change the world, start with yourself first.”
If you are interested in a healthy and happy life, not in improving national stats, your future is in your hands.