SOCRATES said that medicine “acts as both remedy and poison” and this seems truer than ever in our pill-popping, coffee-guzzling society.
The media has us believe we’re in a rush and that everything is urgent, and then offers us a myriad of quick fixes: fad diets that promise to make us ‘drop weight fast’, meal replacement shakes, energy drinks, supplements and so on.
We all know we’re supposed to drink two litres of water and eat five fruit and veg every day, exercise often and sleep for eight hours a night, but how many of us do? Who has time for that?
We’re busy and sleep deprived because the 9 to 5 is a thing of the past and our working week feels like it starts before the previous one has ended, and so we self-medicate with sugar, caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter drugs.
I remember the first time my friend told me she didn’t like coffee; I was astounded as to how she functions day-to-day. In fact, we’ve become so reliant on caffeine that we often forget to see it for what it is: a mood-altering and psychoactive drug.
And then of course, when we don’t get enough sleep everything else suffers. We’re too tired to exercise and more likely to eat badly. So what do we do? We reach, once again, for the quick fixes – we’re super busy don’t you know?
If we stopped drinking all the coffee, we’d probably be able to sleep at night without taking sleeping pills. If we ate better, we’d feel more energised and therefore more likely to exercise and so on, but it seems we’re trapped in a vicious circle we feel we just don’t have time to get out of.
When we’re ill, we go to our GP and demand a prescription (yet another quick fix) but sometimes this simply masks the problem or makes it worse. We may well end up being prescribed something else to counteract it weeks later.
We’ve grown dependent on pharmaceutical remedies when we should be paying more attention to prevention and self-healing.
Health, as they say, is wealth and prevention is better than cure.
Simplicity is the key. We need to rid ourselves of the mentality that a certain pill is good for you, two pills are better than one etc. The fewer chemicals we put into our bodies, the better.
Just by making a few small changes, we can drastically improve how we feel. Our bodies are clever. They will tell us what they need, when they need it; we just need to learn to listen.