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.

642 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.

  6. ‘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 pressure comes from those who want to be confirmed in their choices and do not want see that those choices may not be true ones. Human nature being what it is, we would rather tear down someone else out of jealousy rather than be inspired by them.

    1. I know from discussions with my family and work colleagues that it is easier to fall in line and just eat and drink what takes their fancy that there is a lack of will to take care of themselves and they put up with being over weight and feeling sluggish because they want that extra slice of cake, or glass of bubbly because they can. I was told this recently by a family member and that’s okay they can live their life as long as they allow me to live mine with no judgement either side, we have this understanding and get along famously. Live and let live.

  7. “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.” And five years on the statistics are even worse. There is more information in the news and on social media about different diets – and lots of debate and confusion too. Yet even now it is common for people to try to persuade me away from my healthier food choices.

  8. It’s quite staggering how much we cave in to the pressure of society and go against what we innately feel. Imagine, if everyone trusted what they felt, made choices that truly supported themselves and didn’t second guess or go into doubt how our relations on an intimate and wider scale would pan out?

    1. Indeed. I had an Italian friend once who was allergic to gluten and dairy but felt he couldn’t give these up as the pressure of not just his nearest and dearest, but the whole Italian culture, he felt was against him. Rather than swim against the tide he preferred to make himself sick. But this is what so many of us do.

      1. I have come across a family that when their son became 18, as part of his birthday celebration, they took him to the pub so they could have his first “legal” alcoholic drink together. As the mother was explaining this, you can tell she was proud of her actions, whilst I pondered on the spiralling effects of this later in his life. I feel this whole perception of ‘legal’ needs redefining.

      2. Without discernment we can get comfortable with ‘legal” as it can negate a responsibility we have to feel beyond the law and assess its truth and validity.

    2. Now that would be a world indeed – where everyone trusted what they felt – and made choices for themselves as a result – regardless of others’ choices…..

  9. I felt the pressure to drink as a teenager and young adult to fit in and be the same as everyone else was strong, but when I felt it wasn’t for me, the pressure doubled as people made judgements as I was going against the grain.

  10. Saying ‘YES’ to feeling well and full of vitality may inspire others to reflect on their choices rather than listen to pressure from others.

  11. I really appreciate now that I can say no and not feel weird or guilty for saying no. Even if it really ruffles another’s feathers my choices don’t need to make them comfortable with a choice that harms the body, be it mine or theirs.

    1. I agree Leigh, I used to say ‘no’ in a semi apologetic way but now when I say ‘no’ it is a fully claimed way, claimed on behalf of my beautiful body. There is an absoluteness to my ‘no’ and that absoluteness comes from my body because ultimately it is my body that I’m speaking on behalf of.

  12. I made similar bad choices as those mentioned until I reached 57, then thanks to listening to Serge Benhayon on audio I woke up and started to take care of myself and listen to what my body was saying. The loudest message was why are you killing me with alcohol so I quit and have never even wanted another drop. At 68 I am now in better shape than I have ever been and am working harder than ever before.

  13. Understanding that when we make life about loving and honouring ourselves we automatically start to change our choices because we feel the impact our choices have on our body.

      1. Yes we don’t want to feel the impact or harm our choices are making, so we further numb ourselves to obliterate that unpleasant feeling with alcohol, drugs, junk food, sugar etc. .

  14. It is totally absurd after all these evidence of certain substances being harmful to both a human body and society in general, we continue to endorse them as our normal. It makes no sense unless that concept comes from somewhere outside of us and we are already being intoxicated by that.

  15. When we start to feel the pressure of life building up we have two choices – to stay with ourselves and return back to feeling the body making choices that support us, or to choose to ignore and bury those feelings by make choices that encourage us to check out and numb what we feel, the choice is always ours.

  16. Wow, we all know that pressure from society is quite horrible, but my god i never considered the fact that it’s actually unhealthy? For of course it will be unhealthy if it’s asking us to abuse our bodies with alcohol, food, expectations of how to look, how to conduct ones self and everything else that is imposed…

  17. Until we learn to love and value ourselves and our body we will continue making choices that we know bring comfort and relief and that separate us further from living a truly vital and healthy life.

  18. You only need to look at the illness and disease rates to see that humanity are being made to see the consequences of choices made. We are being told it is time to wake up!

  19. When we are willing to be honest with ourselves we are able to stop and realise the extent of the harm and disregard to our body when we make choices we know are not good for us.

  20. What does it cost to disregard our self and our body? There is a cost for the things we put in our bodies that have no beneficial properties! The fact is, many things like alcohol, drugs and smoking are costly. The use of these unhealthy items leads to medical problems that put burdens on the health services. How long can we as a human race continue with a ‘do as I say not as I do’ lifestyle? Change starts with the first step of saying No, to anything that doesn’t feel beneficial to our body.

    1. Is the benefit the dullness from feeling what others are choosing? so that you aren’t separate from another in such a way and join them in a collective dullness? I’ve found the less I join in with the unhealthy behaviors the greater the ability to connect on a deeper level to others.

    2. Yes, health services suffer the consequences of our ill choices, and society pays. I recall being on a male surgery ward where (mostly) men and usually smokers, had parts of their lungs removed due to cancer. Even back then, in the early 70s I was shocked that smoking was allowed on the ward and even more shocked that these people were not told to quit, but were wheeled into the dayroom to have a cigarette!

  21. What I find interesting is that the unhealthy pressure can come from those who are closest to us and meant to care for our well-being. No one questions it when you are drinking or eating macdonald’s, but actually make an amazing choice and then everyone has something to say. I like the saying – be the change you want to see in the world – then let everyone else make their choice from there.

  22. Learning to say NO is one of the most powerful things that we can do and is therefore great medicine for us.

    1. I agree Elizabeth, I used to find it almost impossible to extract the word ‘no’ from behind my teeth but now it flows out of my mouth with ease. And that’s because I care so deeply for my body that I simply won’t even entertain the thought of doing anything that’s going to impact on it negatively in any way. Is this selfish? no, not at all because it affords me amazing clarity, vitality and physical well being that benefits everyone in my life (the people that I live with as well as those at work plus everyone else that I may come into contact with). I am a living example of great health and a large part of that comes from my ability to say ‘no’.

  23. When I read this article, I want to ask why? Why does the media promote unhealthy lifestyle choices? Choices that can be very difficult to overcome once they have been integrated in to ones life, even though once they are gone a person can feel so much better. Is the need for profit really so important that we can openly accept such things?

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