Are We “Sick” or “Well” Oriented?
Do we think about how to avoid sickness or do you think about how to be well? The difference between the sick and well orientation is the extent that we take responsibility for our own health. Sadly, the sick orientation is often promoted by the media and our health care system.
A sick orientation means that we tend to rely on the health care system to cure our ills. We don’t worry about unhealthy habits – lack of sleep, stress, poor diet – because medical interventions are there to save us. A sick orientation views illness as inevitable.
A well orientation means that we have some control over our health. We care about the quality of food and water we consume, we keep active and find ways to relieve stress. We are more apt to educate ourselves about our health. Not surprisingly the well orientation is more often accompanied by a positive attitude, another health benefit.
The media actively promotes the sick orientation as the most important. A recent front page news store on Cancer Care Ontario, a medical research organization, extolled the virtues of their new test to screen for colorectal cancer (April 4, 2003, www.therecord.com.) Buried in this long article is one brief statement: “Researchers are also studying the link between diet and [this] cancer…It is thought a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fibre, and low in red meat and animal fat may reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancer.” This statement is not a strong endorsement of healthy habits. It is also immediately negated by the medical researcher who says she “prefers to focus on the only measure that’s backed by proven results – [this new] test.” She goes further to say: “Probably the early detection message is the most sound.” This article illustrates a sick orientation – the best defence against this cancer is an early screening test while diet and lifestyle may help.
A visit to www.cancercare.on.ca revealed that this organization is in fact working on cancer prevention based on diet and lifestyle – a well orientation. The selective focus of the news article has ignored this and serves to perpetuate the sick orientation.
We owe it ourselves to check your orientations. Is it sick or well? Health-E-Guide promotes a well orientation of education and empowerment as being the key to well-being. If you share this orientation you will find our services suited to your health goals.