Challenges to Healthy Living in the Modern World

Challenges to Healthy Living in the Modern World by Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA) Written on February 9, 2010

School age play

School children having fun after school

To live a healthy life in harmony with nature and with our own inner needs is the biggest challenge facing each individual in the modern world. In order to adapt to society’s requirements for successful living at each stage of life requires enormous expenditures of energy, time, money and personal freedom. The price of adhering to these standards is relaxed, natural and stress-free living. The following is a list contrasting healthy and stressful lifestyles.



  1. Relaxed
  2. No time pressures
  3. Spontaneous creativity
  4. Meditation
  5. Focus internally
  6. Importance of play time
  7. Freedom – nothing one has to do
  8. Evenings free
  9. Plenty of time for meals and relaxation
  10. Following one’s own purpose
  11. Life is easy (because there are few obligations)
  12. Keeping needs simple so as to live within one’s means
  13. Nothing taken to extremes
  14. Contentment
  15. Value the self
  16. Education – spiritual
  1. Deadlines to Meet
  2. Pressure to produce
  3. Exams to take
  4. Need to arrive on time
  5. Boredom
  6. Too much material to learn
  7. Focus externally
  8. Importance of work time
  9. Time excessively occupied
  10. Evenings booked with classes, & studying
  11. Eating on the run
  12. Following another’s purpose (your boss or teachers)
  13. Life is a burden because there is too much to do.
  14. Too many desires that are difficult to satisfy.
  15. Desire for perfection.
  16. Restlessness
  17. Value the world
  18. Education – factual

Unfortunately from childhood the scenario presented to most of our children as the way life should be is the stressful one. Our kids are required to arrive at school promptly on time (stress factor Nos. 4 & 15). To do so they must eat in a hurry or even in the car on the way to school (stress factor No. 11).

At school they are overloaded with one assignment after another (stress factor Nos. 6, 10, and 12). There are always tests to take (stress factor No. 3), and projects to complete (stress factor No. 2). Then there is the need to sit for hours at a time in a classroom (stress factor No. 5).

In the evenings rather than relaxing after putting in a six to seven hour day at school, most children must do several hours of additional homework They might also have opted to attend karate, ballet, basketball or guitar classes (stress factor No. 10). If the evenings were not so filled with demands on their time, children could be spending more time in self-exploration, and enjoying the tremendously healing emotion of feeling free. All of the above factors added together lead to (stress factor No. 13).

On the weekends after putting in a full week of work most people want to go places (stress factor No. 16), rather than feeling contentment.

If we do not examine and think twice about the price of conforming and making our children conform to the unhealthy demands of “successfully adapting to society,” the students of today will develop into the cancer patients of tomorrow.

How does one move away from living a stressful lifestyle to a healthy one, and how does one help one’s children accomplish this? These are tremendous challenges and not easy to meet. I am almost forced to say that to do so one must go beyond convention. Value yourself and your children and their welfare and well-being above the value you place on the opinion of others. This is healing step No. 1.

Rather than stressing the work ethic, stress the joy ethic. This is healing step No. 2.

Do not stress the need for acquiring knowledge – rather stress the need for acquiring wisdom. The more one clutters the mind with information and stimulation, the less quietness there will be to hear the voice of inner wisdom. This is healing step No. 3.

Take away the emphasis on the need to produce. One of the major problems with the world today is that there has been too much production, bringing about exploitation of the environment. This production ethic looked at more broadly is destructive – of the environment and of our health by preventing us from being relaxed. Rather than stressing production we should stress harmony and balance.

Some of the rewards of living a healthy lifestyle are a lessening of personal suffering; the discovery of who we really are and why we are here that goes beyond society’s conditioning of who we should be or what we should do; an increase in freedom and joy. The awareness of a benevolent intelligent force which pervades the universe and which we are a part of that guides our development, and strives to correct our errors of perception and attitude. Illness is one of the tools that this intelligence uses to teach us.

We are here for higher purposes than to procreate, eat and struggle to pay the rent. Living a healthy lifestyle gives us the time we need to explore what these purposes are. Every moment of your life and time is valuable, don’t underestimate its worth. Each tiny adjustment you make in the way you live to improve the quality of your life is important. Take your free time seriously and guard it carefully. Good luck in meeting the challenges to your health.

Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA)
59 Paul Avenue
Mountain View,

Phone: 650-569-6219

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