One of the most important aspects of living a healthy and
prosperous life is understanding "risk." By this I mean knowing
how to understand and analyze situations in life that affect
health. Being able to accurately weigh benefits and risks when
making health decisions is very important! Too often decisions
are based on incomplete or inaccurate information and this is a
huge mistake with significant consequences!
Failure to accurately assess risk keeps people locked in all
kinds of unhealthy situations including poor eating and exercise
habits (lifestyle), relationships and jobs. Sometimes people are
just afraid to step out and make a change. They see "risk" in
making a change when the REAL risk comes from NOT making a
change. From my perspective, living with the stress, unhappiness
and frustration of indecision and poor health is the greatest
risk of all, and one that is definitely not worth taking!
Accessing "risk" is nothing more than collecting information,
weighing the alternatives and then making appropriate decisions
based on the information.
Some risks to our health are more "real" than others. For
example, it is common knowledge that obesity is associated with a
wide variety of health problems. On the other hand, there are
some health risks that are so remote we rarely think about them.
On a practical level, eating highly processed foods and avoiding
a daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables is rarely considered
serious. But, as too many have already discovered, the long range
consequences of this practice are real and devastating.
Failure to accurately assess risk limits us in many ways. We
imagine the "risk" of talking with our children about drugs,
dating or sex and we put off having the "talk," even though the
risks of NOT talking are infinitely greater. Fear of flying and
public speaking are two more "risks" affecting millions of
people. But practically speaking, these fears are unfounded.
People ride in cars every day, even though cars are far more
dangerous than commercial aircraft! It's a failure to accurately
assess risk, and it limits our health, prosperity and pleasure in
The goods news is that failure to accurately access risk is
reversible! The effects of those decisions to eat inappropriately
or NOT to exercise are, as the common expression goes,
"do-overs." We can effect positive change in our lives by
following a few simple steps to accurately access risk:
1. Accurately define your present situation and access your
health "risks". Are you eating a healthy diet? Are you getting
enough exercise and good quality sleep? What are the consequences
if you DON'T change? Weigh the benefits of healthier living vs
the potential risks such as increased cost, inconvenience or
2. What do you stand to gain if you change your present
circumstances? Assess the "up-side" potential. Too often we look
only at the "downside" risk and forget the benefits. What good
things might happen if you take the risk and win?
3. Limit the "down-side" if you happen to make a wrong decision.
Don't continue down a path if it does not produce results. This
is especially important when following weight loss programs. If
the pounds are not coming off or if the weight loss is only
temporary, find a new program! You not only want to lose weight,
but want to sustain the weight loss for as long as possible. Take
steps to ensure this will happen. Clear, concise, realistic
objectives will definitely help.
4. Reduce your risk by being smart! Understand the situation and
seek the advice of experts in the field of health and nutrition.
This includes finding and forming partnerships to receive support
and get good advice.
5. Have a fall-back position. If the decision you make fails to
produce the desired results, be prepared to take a long, hard
look at the circumstances and be prepared to change what you are
Everything in life involves some element of risk. Driving your
car, meeting someone new, crossing the street...but we do them
every day. Winners in life are willing to accept the risk and
continue on their way! Get involved, be smart about how you play
the game, come prepared for a few failures along the way, but
don't quite. You will reap the benefits for your effort and live
a happier and healthier life. I like to remember the words of the
great Winston Churchill when he said, "Never, never, never give
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.
About the Author
Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News
where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on
many medical, health and lifestyle topics.
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