The dictionary definition of “empowerment” is the process of gaining freedom and power to do what you want or to control what happens to you.

I love this definition as it truly highlights what are the main 2 core elements of empowerment; gaining freedom and the power to control what happens to you. I wanted to use an example in this blog about our health and wellbeing.  It is a topic that affects all of us in some way, shape or form.  It is a system that needs healing and it is highly contentious.

We ran a workshop in our Higher Power Leaders Group (that we run in partnership with UQ Power) recently on regaining your true power.  One of the things that we did is focused on our circle of control.  Those things that we do have complete control over, what we do, what we say and what we think.  We then applied this to healthcare and asked the question, in relation to our health and wellbeing, what can we control?

This is the list of things that we believed were totally in our control in relationship to healthcare; how much sleep we had (when we go to bed and the rituals we might use to ensure a good nights sleep), how much movement, exercise we each do, all of the foods that we choose to eat/consume, what we drink (the choices around this), the people that we have in our lives, how connected we are to other people, our family and the quality of our relationships in general, how informed we are based on our learning about healthcare.

We can control our response to stressful situations and moderate the biochemical impact that stress can have on our bodies (although many of us don’t know how), we can seek out suitable employment that fits our lives, we can opt in to choose education that supports our learning and employment options (of course, this is easier for some than others).

There are social determinants of health that are not controlled by an individual.  However, in reading above, it seems that there is more we can all actually choose to do, to opt in to in order to increase our own health and wellbeing than it first seems.

Why then, do we give away our power to the health system, why do we blindly go to our health professionals, treat them as if they are all knowing God’s, and choose not to ask questions, choose not to see that as humans, our own agency and sense of empowerment absolutely matters in relation to our health outcomes.

Why do we blindly think that a system outside us that has never met us, does not know our story and very often does not think holistically is going to be able to somehow give us knowledge that we then turn around to obey without thinking in a robot-like compliant fashion.

This is not a health professionals bash, there are millions worldwide, that are highly skilled and absolutely transform people’s lives daily.  Some of the most humane individuals I know are healthcare professionals.  This is simply asking whose responsibility is it to transform our health?  Ours or theirs?

Science even tells us that approximately half of our happiness is controlled by us.  Do you think that how happy we are affects our health?  You bet it does.

My question is simply, what are the areas in your life that you want to regain control over, what choices do you want to make from here on that you are not making now?  Work with the professionals, they are partnering with the person who knows you best, you.

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