At the stroke of midnight New Year’s Day many will join in singing the traditional favorite, Auld Lang Syne (long, long, ago), the quirky but familiar tune which poses the question whether old times should be forgotten.
There is something appealing about a fresh start. No matter what has occurred the preceding day or over the past year, finding within ourselves the courage to begin again contributes to the promise of success.
That’s one reason for so many New Year resolutions. New plan + new resolve = victory!
Experts have concluded that the formula does not live up to the hype and most resolutions don’t stand a chance. In fact, some reports peg the failure rate of individuals achieving their New Year goals at 78%. Bummer!
Will you make any this year? Healthier living is on many peoples’ minds. The list includes losing weight, eating better, exercising, and to stop smoking. And it’s more than a wish list, it’s a necessity.
A new national study released by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention concludes that American’s are living longer, but sicker.
“As a nation, we’ve made extraordinary gains in longevity over the past decades, but as individuals we are regressing in our health,” according to Reed Tuckson, MD, medical adviser to United Health Foundation.
The report, the 2012 edition of America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities includes these stats:
*Over 27% of U.S. adults are obese
*Over 21% smoke
*Over 26% are physically inactive
The numbers are higher for some states like Ohio. But no matter the ins and outs of each state, this report really begs the question: What is going on here? Americans, after all, spend as much or more on health care per capita than any nation in the world – even when one considers the vagaries of different types of health care systems and approaches to paying for it around the world.
Maybe a change in tactics is required. Think revolution instead of resolution.
While concrete solutions to our country’s health care woes seem years away, there is a revolution going on right now that changes the whole methodology to health and healing. It’s a spiritual approach.
90% of U.S. medical schools now address the connection between spirituality and health to some extent through courses or content. According to Crossroads…Newsletter of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University, over 90% of responding deans report that patients emphasize spirituality in their coping and health care.
In another survey a majority of U.S. doctors think that spirituality plays a significant role in influencing a patient’s health. Unlike 10 years ago, health conferences are increasingly including panels and experts in “integrative medicine” and they often include how to integrate spirituality into healthcare and clinical practice.
And with the use of prayer by individuals for health concerns increasing over the past decade, there is a growing body of evidence that a dynamic shift is underway in how patients and health professionals view the avenues toward health.
“Prayer use in response to health concerns has increased over time,” according to a report published by the American Psychological Association. The research points to the use of prayer across multiple demographic and socioeconomic groups. It concludes that “it is critical to understand how this religious/spiritual behavior has changed and how this may affect patients’ mental and physical health as another step forward in improving the quality of care.”
Long, long, ago, a link between spirituality/prayer and health was recognized and practiced. It is recorded in the Bible, especially in the New Testament where Jesus and others routinely demonstrated a revolutionary “new” approach to well-being to counteract the health concerns of the times.
And just like then, what’s exciting about today’s interest in this “new/old” mode to health is its availability to anyone, its 24/7 access, and its inconsequential costs. Additionally, a spiritual approach to health benefits the whole person, mind and body.
“We’ll take a cup of kindness,” the old Scottish tune asserts. As we turn the calendar and start another year, it might be beneficial to reconsider attitudes about health and well-being. Here’s to New Year revolutions and fresh solutions to maintaining wellness. May your year be bursting with health and prosperity.