Anne Louise Smallen, Lic. Ac.

Pursuing a healthy life is not easy in this time of non-stop information . Some of the information available online is reliable, but much of it is manipulative, shallow or self-serving. Never before in the history of humanity has the ordinary person been able to know so much about the scientific explanations of disease. When we learn that we suffer from a certain condition, we can immediately go to the internet and gather tons of information, much of which often scares and discourages us . We start making stories about the future from the long list of symptoms we see, and feel terribly vulnerable. It is indeed, baffling and discouraging, to see all of the unsavory possibilities that a disease can bring. 
However, the list is gathered from a pool of statistics manipulated in certain ways, and does not include the array of individual qualities that speak to our resilience and adaptability - including our strength , our wit , our persistence , our capacity to change , our lifestyle , our optimism and our fighting spirit - because it is just a list of everything that could go wrong.

We are left to create the part where things can improve on our own. If we observe multiple people given a diagnosis for a similar “dis-ease”, some are doing poorly and others are doing better than expected. For our own sake, we should definitively study those who are doing better .
What makes people live full lives despite their sickness and even turn their health around? Genetics, lifestyle, education, and the way we were raised contribute, but healthier patients probably look less at the dreary list and more at ways to gather support and keep their spirits up. They look at possibilities and associate with people who know about their challenges and can help them maintain their quality of life.  How can that positive outlook become ours? If we were lucky when we were young, our parents might have taught us to be aware and rely on our strength and gifts. But it is not always the case.  However everyday life also teaches us a little wisdom.  Our thoughts, our intentions and actions can either help or injure us , and we should choose them carefully as they can be powerful allies or nagging adversaries.
In fact, it is very helpful when we have challenges, to craft our stories and make them big enough so we can live in them.   Let's not close our eyes to the difficulties, but let’s also concentrate on the people and things that support and help.  Optimism with open eyes certainly has its place in life and greatly contributes to our sense of well-being. In the midst of adversity, we can learn what we are really ready to count on.
Chinese acupuncture was born in the times of Daoist and Buddhist teachings where life is One and where there is no absolute good or bad , dark or light. Instead, anything contains everything and is constantly enriched by what happens.  What seemed an insurmountable obstacle can become our best opportunity to grow , and our health problems can become our greatest life teachers.