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Real Life Wellness: Birds of a Feather Get Sick Together

By Bill Hemmer
How many times have you been told your family history of illness has locked you into a health jail? If your mom had cancer or your dad had diabetes, you are told you are just biding your time before these same terrible diseases knock on your door. If you hear these things long enough, you begin to believe it just because of the number of times you hear it. But is it actually true?

Your social circle definitely has a large impact on your current and future wellness potential. But epigenetics research (how your environment affects your genes) has revealed that only 30 percent of your health potential is directly related to your family genes. A whopping 70 percent of your health potential is due to your environment.

Most people’s social circles are predominately their family and their relatives. So, the 70 percent of your health potential that controls your environmental factors is added to the 30 percent controlled by the genetic factors coming directly from your family genes and your health then falls under complete control of their social circles.

Sometimes that is a great thing. Other times not so much. How many times have you seen somebody leave a family environment and come back after a period of time looking like a totally different person than the one who left? If you change somebody’s environment you can literally change their life. It could be for better or worse, but social environment is a huge factor that needs to be addressed in every health situation.

If your social circles include people who have poor health behaviors, what is the likelihood that you will participate in those same types of behaviors too? If your family drinks pop every night for dinner while eating processed food every meal and ends the day with a couple cigarettes before they go to bed, how well is that environment going to support a new healthy lifestyle for you?

We are not saying you have to leave your family, but we are saying you have to become aware of the environmental factors creating your current state of health or disease. If a criminal is set free from prison but goes back to where he committed his crimes in the first place, what is the likelihood of him repeating his offense? This is also what happens when you remain in the same social circles and try to get healthy.

Your family and friends aren’t trying to get you sick or keep you sick. They are just behaving the same way they have always behaved. This will produce the same level of health they have always had. Until something or someone comes along to change their awareness they will continue to operate on the same beliefs and principles they were taught by their parents and grandparents.

We all have an internal operating system of beliefs that governs our behavior. This operating system of beliefs has been passed down to us by our social circle. Some of these beliefs are extremely important for survival. Other beliefs are passed down from information that was believed to be true at the time but has since been proven false or even dangerous.

A great example of this is how we were all told that margarine was better for us than butter. The popular science of the day said saturated fats were clogging arteries and causing heart disease and margarine is a polyunsaturated fat and so therefore won’t cause heart disease. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?

We now know nothing could be farther from the truth. Margarine contains trans fats that have been shown to be many times worse for you than butter. But until you have this new information, you will continue to operate on old beliefs and some of these beliefs can certainly cause more harm than good.

So, once you begin to learn new information about your health, you will begin to change your awareness about different aspects of your health triangle. As your awareness changes so does your beliefs. When your beliefs change you have a golden opportunity to change the operating system you have been working from ever since you were a child. This is a big deal because this also gives you the opportunity to change the beliefs of your social circle for the better and help all of the people you love to live a longer happier life free of disease and disability.

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