Courage is often thought of as a heroic act. We read stories of heroes facing impossible odds and fearlessly marching through to success. We admire these heroes and wonder how they were brave enough …
Courage is often thought of as a heroic act. We read stories of heroes facing impossible odds and fearlessly marching through to success. We admire these heroes and wonder how they were brave enough to tackle something we would never have tried. We love watching superheroes and daydream of being Superman or Superwoman, even if it were for just one day.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been impressed with the bravery of the first responders and healthcare workers, our health heroes, and essential employees who have faced the unknown and reported to work every day.
We can feel inferior when reading these amazing stories and wonder, where did these heroes get their courage? Were they born with a gene for courage? Did we not get the gene for courage?
Fortunately for us, courage is not genetic, but is a muscle we can grow daily.
It grows by facing and overcoming challenges, big and small. It loves to partner with others and can grow with the courage of our family members, when we ask them for help. Courage loves learning new things. It bulks up when we seek out knowledge from experts. Courage thrives on being a role model for our families. And we continue to cultivate courage by facing the everyday hurdles of our lives.
We need this strong, everyday courage to live a healthy life. It takes courage to face the family cook and remind them you are watching your salt intake or need more vegetables. It takes courage to put on those walking shoes when no one else in the family will go with you for a daily walk. It takes courage to go to the doctor with a new symptom or go to the counselor to get help for depression or anxiety. It takes courage to stop smoking, to get that colonoscopy or to take the kids for vaccinations or tell them to go to bed.
Nothing takes more courage than starting a new health habit.
We can all be health heroes to our families, friends and coworkers when we exercise that courage muscle. So put on your favorite superhero T-shirt, become a health hero and start making healthy choices.
If you’re not ready for that yet and need some training, call your “health hero” for a check-in. They may not have X-ray vision or mind reading superpowers, but they are eager to hear about your acts of courage or give you some tips on how to exercise that muscle!
(Dr. Juanita Sapp practices medicine and serves as the chief medical officer at Heritage Health Center in Powell.)