The Unhealthy Pressure of Society

by Steffen Messerschmidt, ND, Brisbane, Australia.

In the clinics where I practice, patients frequently report to me that they often only drink alcohol, take drugs or eat certain foods in order to be socially accepted and to fit in.

These days, in many circles, it is socially and culturally acceptable to drink alcohol, take drugs and eat in a way that is not supportive of our bodies and our health, and often makes us feel sluggish and bloated.

But for some, this way of living is recognised as no longer working and they are making different choices such as: not to drink, to quit smoking, go to bed early, to take better care of themselves, live a simple, joyful and loving life showing respect and love towards humanity and to respect others without judgement for their choices.

When they begin to make different lifestyle choices, they feel targeted, condemned or even bullied and find it hard to make the changes they would like to make simply because of the pressure that family, friends, work colleagues and society puts on them.

This does not make sense. Self-loving choices may seem out of the ordinary to some, but from what I witness on a daily basis in my clinics many people can now attest to the benefits they are feeling.

People feel so much pressure, some of which comes from and is perpetuated by the media, to continue to engage in unhealthy and loveless choices. You just have to look at all the advertising for alcohol, junk foods, soft drinks etc. and the daily emails advertising for alcohol specials and free junk food samples and unhealthy choices.

Under the pressure of society that encourages an unhealthy lifestyle, many accept this as a normal way of living without actually stopping and truly feeling if this suits them, if this is good for them and if this actually represents what they truly want to live.

Overall our bodies show lots of signs that the way we are living is not going well, but because of the pressure from all of the above we still give in and carry on with behaviours we know are unhealthy.

Many suffer from the consequences afterwards but can not say NO when it is just that one piece of birthday cake from your niece, the Christmas Dinner your family invited you to, just a glass of sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve, just that cookie or cake because the relative baked it herself, just that piece of chocolate because it is for a raffle for school, just that glass of alcohol because it is your friend’s wedding and so on …

Recently I also heard this one: ‘I know you do this healthy lifestyle thing now and do not drink alcohol but you can just have one glass with me and I will not tell anybody.’ Who needs enemies when you have friends like that!

And at the end of this list would certainly be the statement that it is Un-Australian not to drink alcohol on Australia Day! (1)

Again this list could go on and on and on, but I am sure you know what I mean.

Because of all this pressure we would rather suffer than dare to say ‘No’ to something we know does not feel right for us and is actually damaging our health, as in the end the body has to bear the consequences. How crazy is that?

World health statistics show that we are not getting healthier and we have epidemics in obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness and many other chronic diseases.

It is time that we as humanity look at our choices, the consequences those choices bring and start to take responsibility for our own health. This begins by saying ‘No’.

Saying ‘No’ is definitely a more healthy choice than giving in to the pressure of peers to persist with an unhealthy lifestyle. Indeed, saying ‘No’ to unhealthy choices is saying ‘Yes’ to yourself, ‘Yes’ to lovingly looking after your health and your body.

(1) Why Caroline won’t be boozing on Australia Day.

605 thoughts on “The Unhealthy Pressure of Society

  1. This blog is a conversation piece as to why do people encourage each other to say drink alcohol for example? I knew someone who hired heavy drinkers so that they could disguise that they themselves drank so heavily. And recently boasted that no one could out drink them, and quite honestly it would be foolish to try as one person recently did and the next day was unable to work. Luckily for them they were with people who took care of them as they were in such a state and got them back home safely, but some people are left alone and become victims because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. To me we are living in a society that is back to front as it does not pay to drink alcohol because of the damage it does to our bodies. Working in an industry where drinking alcohol is considered normal I have seen quite a few men die young from alcohol related diseases. And I have to ask the question was it worth it? Why do we need to use a substance that takes us away from ourselves? Are we running away from something and if so what it is? Surely these are the questions we should be asking ourselves?

  2. That tiny little word ‘just’ as if to say that just that one cookie, just that one drink won’t harm us. Oh how we fool ourselves. Because that one moment doesn’t *just* stay in that moment. As energy has a habit of repeating itself, circulating, that ‘just one’ moment will repeat itself which then doesn’t make it just one harmless moment. When is it ever just one cookie, potato chip, beer etc?

  3. All I can say is those that try to change anothers choices may not like the reflection of someone choosing to support their health with self caring choices, as this may bring up the reality of what they are choosing for themselves. It’s not a bad thing to let others be uncomfortable though when we make self caring changes, as this can be a sign that growth is on offer, and it’s better than joining in on the status quo of self neglect and self abuse.

  4. “Self-loving choices may seem out of the ordinary to some, but from what I witness on a daily basis in my clinics many people can now attest to the benefits they are feeling.’ Lifestyle choices are now being advised by mainstream medicine – and these results in huge changes. I know two family members who, by reducing their carb intake, are losing weight and reducing the propensity to diabetes.

  5. Steffen, this is such a common disease, ‘the unhealthy pressure of society’. It kind of feels that do not dare to be different and when you are different, they class you as weird, or like already mentioned, people want to reason with you and in disbelief say, you don’t drink one glass of wine for a special day?’

    Drinking alcohol, drugs etc is now the norm, whilst before this wasn’t the case.

    I personally do not drink alcohol anymore and my eating has changed and I feel different. It is my way of life and I will not go back to how I used to live. I love going to bed early and I love waking up early, without the side effect of a hangover or anything else.

    Making loving choices to serve you and your body is true self-care.

    1. Social media adds hugely to the pressure for young people. Regardless of upbringing peer pressure can result in people acting in ways they would not ordinarily choose to. Standing alone against the crowd takes self-confidence and resolve.

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