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Learning To Say Yes

by Dr. Antonella Grima: Once, I was at the clinic and glanced at the patient list to see who was next. Approaching the reception area, I noticed a lady smiling and looking back at me.

Yes-awaken I had to look twice as I barely recognized her.

Once inside the safety and privacy of the consultation room, I couldn’t help but comment, “You look so different. What happened?” She appeared transformed, like a completely different person. The once feisty and aggressive woman now exuded calmness and peace. Her skin glowed, and her face radiated with energy and tranquility.

As she sat down, she smiled and said, “I just started saying yes.” I was puzzled. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, before, I used to say no, constantly fight, and try to reason with others. It made me sick. I ruined my gut and my health. I reached a point where I was constantly running to the bathroom, weak, and unable to digest and absorb my food. They ran all sorts of tests and found nothing wrong. That’s when I realized that my attitude and worrying were the cause of it all.”

“Yes, but how do you handle work? You still need to deliver,” I inquired. I knew she worked in a high-pressure industry with tight deadlines and high stakes. Errors could lead to fatalities and financial losses.

“Of course,” she replied. “Instead of fighting every time there’s something to do, I simply say yes and calmly do it my way, without wasting all my energy on arguments and conflicts.”

This was a real game-changer. I, too, started reminding myself to say yes. To avoid conflict in the heat of the moment, to wait for the argument to diffuse, and then address it calmly at the right time. To not dive into situations with full force, draining my strength and energy, and compromising my health and well-being. It felt good, really good.

Furthermore, I began advising my patients to do the same. As you can imagine, my suggestions were often met with resistance and reasoning. I understood why. It was quite unexpected for someone seeking advice on weight loss or reducing cholesterol to receive a suggestion that could revolutionize their lives. How could they challenge the status quo and risk losing their jobs or ending relationships?

The ball was now in their court. They were in charge of the next step. The best part was when someone returned for a follow-up appointment, beaming and smiling, declaring that they had indeed started saying yes. They challenged their own beliefs about how they were expected to behave and took control. Nothing tragic happened. Nothing they weren’t happy with. Some even shared that they finally found the courage to take that leap, leave that job or situation they despised, make that change, and prioritize their health and well-being like never before.

Unfortunately, our society often convinces us that we have to be miserable and overworked to be seen as successful. We consider taking care of our basic needs, such as preparing nutritious food, finding time to eat it, getting enough sleep, or going for a walk in nature, as frivolous and unimportant.

We settle for being overstressed and exhausted, then relying on pills to treat anxiety, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and to help us sleep. Then we consume high doses of caffeine to wake up in the morning. In reality, what we need to do is stop and reflect on the root cause of our diseases. Very often, our illnesses are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, that we need to slow down and take a step back. Only when we identify the underlying causes of our symptoms can we work towards achieving good health.

I often use this analogy: think of disease as a water leak behind a wall. The water seeps through, causing a damp patch. This, in turn, leads to peeling paint and the growth of mold on the wall. We can choose to plaster and paint over the issue, hiding the problem temporarily. Each time the plaster and paint peel off, we use stronger and more expensive materials in the hope of fixing it. Alternatively, we can look beyond the surface and find the source of the leak. Fixing it may take more time initially than the superficial solution, but it will ultimately solve the problem permanently. This allows us to spend our time and energy on other things instead of constantly plastering and re-plastering that damp wall.

Antonella Grima-awakenAntonella Grima qualified as a Medical Doctor in 2005. She subsequently specialised in Public Health Medicine and read for a Master of Science degree in Public Health at the University of Malta in 2009. In 2014, Antonella obtained a Postgraduate diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Malta. She has an all-rounded and evidence-based approach to disease prevention and nutrition, and enjoys focussing on improving health and wellbeing through dietary and lifestyle modification. She has been practicing as a registered nutritionist since 2014.

Antonella has a keen interest in using the medicinal properties found in the food we consume in order to help improve health in a holistic way through diet. She is currently studying further in the field of herbalism, cancer prevention and care, and alternative therapies such as Reiki. Antonella’s contact details are and mobile/WhatsApp +35699010073

Source: AWAKEN


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