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In December I introduced you to MESH, which is an acronym that stands for Move, Eat, Sleep, Heal. It was coined by renowned geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas and is what he considers to be the key to healthy aging. This month I will focus on the last letter: “H” (Heal).

Contrary to what he was taught to believe in medical school, Dr. Thomas’ vast experience working with older adults has led him to conclude that healing does not come from doctors, rather it comes from patients themselves. Dr. Thomas acknowledges that doctors prescribe medicine, provide compassionate care, and give good counsel (all of which are helpful) but they don’t actually heal. Instead, he believes healing comes from within. It happens when after suffering a serious injury or illness we move forward and define a new normal for ourselves. It happens when we reject the “tragedy narrative” with its paralyzing and debilitating focus on loss and begin to create and tell a new story; a story of love, growth, and possibility. And it happens when we return to living life with meaning and purpose; when there is something in our lives that matters more than our own problems or physical ailments.*

In sum, if we weave these four things (move, eat, sleep, heal) into the fabric or our lives, Dr. Thomas believes we will create a structure that supports our desire to live a full, productive, and meaningful life; in essence to live life well.

*To learn more about how purpose and meaning impact our health and wellbeing visit www.dungbeetle.org.