why do so many choose to ignore the warning bells of life?

What would we do without our trusty alarm clock?

If you’re like me, you’d most likely sleep soundly until your eyes finally glance over to see just what time it is and then jump out of bed, throw on some clothes, brush our teeth and head out the door praying that we’ll make to wherever we need to be on time.

We’ve also got fire alarms, gas alarms, burglar alarms, and car alarms.

In Japan we’ve also got tsunami alarms, which personally hope I never hear. Once was enough.

We understand that there is a need to protect ourselves from impending danger.

Yet most of us ignore the most important alarms of them all – the ones within us.

What the heck am I talking about? Let me explain.

A heart attack, diabetes, respiratory infections, and cancer are killers. Each year, millions of people the world over lose their lives to them.

You may not be able to walk into the local Walmart’s and pick up an alarm to warn you of these, but there sure are signs that we should be able to pick up on.

Take a good friend of mine. I love the guy.

He’s funny, well-educated, sincere, trustworthy and an all-around good guy.

But a few years back he woke up in the middle of the night because he couldn’t breath.

I forget exactly when but he must have been about 32 at the time.

32 and already he had respiratory problems.

Why? I wish that I could say that it just came out of nowhere and it was just an unfortunate incident, but the truth of the matter is he had been smoking since he was 16.

He connected the dots and quit the next day. I congratulated him as I had the past three times.

I knew the other times wouldn’t stick, but this time he was serious. “I quit for good,” were the words he used and then followed them up with, “It’s just not worth it.”

He’s right. Smoking or your life – as easy decision.

Only one problem, 4 months later he started smoking again.

When I asked him why, he said, “Because my wife did.”

She wasn’t the one who woke up in the middle of night barely able to breath. Who cares if she started smoking again?! It’s his life.

My friend sadly has fallen prey to ignoring a warning bell of life.

Cancer! Took everyone by surprise? In some cases that is true.

I lost a student many years ago to leukemia at the age of 11. A tragedy, yes.

But many times cancer is the result of our lifestyle. Smoking sure, poor diet, lack of physical activity, heredity, the sun, our environment (we are allowed to move, we’re not trees), and stress all contribute to destroying our body.

When I decided to write this post I actually researched the causes of diabetes and was surprised to learn that eating sweets or the wrong kind of food does NOT cause diabetes. I never knew that. But a poor diet can lead to obesity, which is a leading cause of the disease along with age and a lack of physical activity.

A heart attack is again linked to many of the same things that cause diabetes and cancer as well as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

So if we know the causes, then aren’t there signs? There sure are.

Obesity is easy. If you have to continually buy larger and larger jeans because you can’t fit in last years’ pair that says something. It’s a warning bell.

Struggling to climb up 4 flights of stairs – sounds like a warning bell to me.

Spending too much money at McDonald’s or other fast food chains? Filling your stomach with snacks and Coke instead of fruits, vegetables and water. Another warning bell.

Now I’m not saying never enjoy yourself.

I’m saying don’t make bad habits every day habits.

And if you love eating chocolate then be sure to balance it out with a dose of exercise or a jog around the neighborhood.

We must fight to keep disease at bay. Just the other day I wrote a post that talked about 10 habits that can add years to your life.

There are hundreds of warning bells going off inside our head each day.

  • “Do your homework.”
  • “Get more exercise.”
  • “Water please.”
  • “Drive more slowly.”
  • “Put the knife down.”
  • “Don’t play with fire.”
  • “Stop smoking.”
  • “Don’t forget to floss.”

The list is endless. Unfortunately for many years I ignored many of them. I said what many of us do, “One time won’t make a difference.”

The problem is that it’s never just one time. One time could be the start of a new habit that one day you will regret. Each day when I think of just chilling in front of the TV to relax after I’ve finished the chores I think of my wife and son and my friends and how I need to do as what I can to ensure that I’m here for as long as I can.

And not just be here, but be healthy. At that time I don’t turn off the TV, but rather get on the ground and do some push-ups and go through some stretching and yoga poses (which I’ll talk about in a later post).

I still get to watch the show, but I am giving my body a little boost in its battle against disease.

I hope you do the same.

Adrian Shepherd


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