I recently asked a patient how things were going. They answered, “Nice and boring.” At first I thought that was an odd response, but then realized why that was such a great answer. We always seem to want more excitement in our lives. The problem is that excitement comes in multiple forms. It can obviously involve fun, high-energy, surprising events, but it can also involve chaos, turmoil, and tragedy.
People often seek out medical care when things are going poorly. On any given day in my office I will care for a handful of patients that are in a crisis. They are hunched over, cannot move, and/or are in a massive amount of pain. Dentists often see patients in similar levels of crisis. They show up holding their face because of the pain, cannot talk, and are miserable. These situations are “exciting,” but not looked forward to by any sane person.
On the other hand, offices like mine and dentist offices are also filled with people coming for maintenance, preventative, or wellness care. These visits are designed to keep people free of pain and “excitement.” They are routine in nature, usually pretty quick, and cost the patient less money.
I believe one of the reasons people don’t engage fully in the wellness lifestyle is that it really isn’t that exciting. This lifestyle requires an investment of time, money, and energy. The return on this investment, initially, is usually not very noticeable. You are unable to see what is actually happening with each healthier lifestyle choice. The fresh, whole, real foods, exercise, improved attitude, improved stress management, and any other healthy action results in significant, powerful, and very “exciting” changes. These changes, however, occur on a cellular level. This means you do not see them, are unaware they are happening, and often do not feel any different at that time.
Think of your car. Taking a wrecked car to the body shop results in exciting changes. You take something that is mangled, banged-up, and non-useable, drop it off, and come back to a shiny, smooth, and fully functional vehicle. That’s exciting! What about the oil changes (boring), or the tire rotations (boring), or the tune-ups (boring)? Not very exciting. But it’s those very simple things that extend the life of the car, help the car perform better, and save you money in the long run.
This is how dentists have changed the care of teeth. They have educated the public on the importance of preventative (boring) dentistry. You brush your teeth daily, floss, and get your teeth cleaned in their offices periodically, which is simple and boring, but you do so because the last thing you want is the more exciting tooth decay.
We have all heard the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There has never been a more important time to grasp this concept than right now. The most excitement in any disease process is in the later stages. Waiting for that excitement may result in it being too late. Large tumors, heart attacks, and strokes are “exciting.” You do not want that kind of excitement.
A typical day in my office consists of 85% of my office visits being “wellness” or “maintenance” visits. These are usually people that came in with “exciting” issues, got well, and now want to stick with the more “boring” care that prevents them from ever experiencing the difficulties that prompted them to see me in the first place. I want to encourage you to focus on the little, boring things in every area of your life to help avoid the “exciting” crises. It’s okay for things to be nice and boring!
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