Too often, we focus on solving problems by looking at symptoms, then trying to eradicate them. If healthcare costs too much, then we find a way to reduce the cost with subsidies or increase taxes for the rich to pay for the poor. If we see people without healthcare, we create a government program to give it away for free. And of course, there’s always the plan of – if we can’t fix the situation, we’ll ignore it until it goes away or the people affected stop complaining.
Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, these plans will never work because they don’t actually solve the root issues. What needs to happen is a full re-architecting of the healthcare system. One of the first changes needs to focus on teaching, encouraging, and focusing on preventative health. Anxiety, depression, heart disease, and a host of many other ailments are induced by high, continuous stress. Well known as this is, we continue to favor the ‘well-rounded student who does everything,’ reward and encourage work-a-holic behavior, and focus on, as well as measure, achievement over experience. In other words, it is not enough to create access to doctors, clinics, or hospitals, we have to create a national cultural shift that values wellness. We have to educate young people, design a value system that views life as an experiential journey, and use the power of the government to facilitate healthcare that starts with prevention as a measurable pillar of the system.
If we hope to create a healthy society in mind and body, we must look beyond medicine to cure disease and begin by looking to ourselves and living a healthy lifestyle.