Weeds have no place in a garden.  The dandelions in this picture may look pretty to my kiddos, but they’re still weeds.

According to Merriam-Webster, a weed is (1): a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.
The term “weed” is also used to refer to  “an obnoxious growth, thing, or person”.

BloomMed’s name developed out of the idea that we can care for ourselves like a gardener cares for its most precious plants.  People with the best health are intentional, making health a priority.  They do not participate in unhealthy lifestyles, like smoking or sitting around.  They are active and fill their lives with purpose, fun and interpersonal connections. These people have an amazing resiliency because their bodies and minds have been primed for self repair and healing.  Being around them energizes others and encourages them to be their best.  On the other hand, unhealthy people may complain of feeling tired, lethargic, and drained.  They get sick often, and may not seek out their social connections like they used to, They do not seem to get the same out of life as their more healthy counterparts.

Can you think of some proverbial “weeds” in your life?  Keeping in mind the definition Merriam-Webster gave us, what in your life is of little value? What is out of place and yet stealing your ability to do more productive and enjoyable things?  Maybe it is a workout that used to motivate you but now only bores you.  Perhaps the diet you used to eat, now seems to only add weight to the “bottom line”.  Maybe it is a friend that encourages unhealthy habits or even a more destructive lifestyle.  Or, maybe it is the habit of making excuses and procrastinating, afraid of what lies ahead.

If you are not sure where the weeds are in your life, here are some tips:
1.  Identify the dreams you used to have.
Those are your beautiful blooms you planted in the “garden” of potential.  This could be your dream profession, completing those last few college courses, having children, going to an overseas country or just having peace in your home.  It could mean spending more time with your kids, or competing in America’s Ninja Warrior!  Maybe it is getting off all those medications your doctor prescribes or not dying from a heart attack like all the other members of your family.  Your dreams are as various as there are beautiful plants in nature and they are yours to cultivate!

2.  Identify ALL the things that are keeping those plants from flowering.
It seems ridiculous for a marathon runner to go to a restaurant, enjoy a healthy meal full of gorgeous super-foods, then walk outside, light up a cigarette and smoke, right?  Of course! Why would we expect to be healthy doing unhealthy things?  They just don’t go together.  It is true the old adage- you are what you eat.  If you ingest and breathe in toxins, they become incorporated into your body, affecting chemical processes and enzymes, even turning on and off your genes- You literally will become toxic.  But, if you eat healthy things, those same chemical process, enzymes and genes are affected positively, promoting repair and healing.  You could become the picture of health!

3.  Identify what activities or things consistently drain you and lower your motivation.
Some people complain that when they first start working out, the increased effort drains them.  It may do that physically at first, but then they also notice they sleep better and the next day, though their muscles are sore, their mind is more refreshed than before!   Does drinking alcohol energize you?  Does it really improve your well being or does it numb away pain, and steal your time?    Those with ADHD take stimulant drugs, but when used appropriately, patients report increased productivity and improved sleep quality and duration.  They feel settled, not wired as if drinking 10 cups of coffee! In patients with clinical ADHD, a stimulant may not be a weed, but only that person and their prescribing physician can determine that.

Now that we have identified our weeds- let’s start removing them!  If we are serious about cleaning up our garden, we must have zero tolerance for weeds. Gardeners are constantly be on the lookout for weeds in their garden. As soon as one is spotted, they remove it from the root.  But they don’t usually start there.  Gardeners may use some sort of weed – killer to remove them faster and even better, they include a weed cover as part of their garden’s design, preventing new weeds from growing! It is the same with our health.   You could try to fight temptation every time it comes, but wouldn’t that be exhausting? Why not just not prevent the trigger in the first place?

Some of you know my nickname as a kid was “cookie monster”.  I earned that nickname, let me tell you.  I was helpless around them- even as an adult! Why? One cookie wakes up the insatiable monster in me- they may taste good, but instead of satisfying a craving, they only increase my desire for more! Will power is ineffective with pulling this weed!  Instead of torturing myself by bringing cookies into the house- I don’t buy them!  The “weed killer” was identifying healthier substitutes that satisfied the craving.  My “weed cover” was recognizing my triggers for cookies in the first place and preparing for them in advance so that I can move on with my day.

I would like to challenge my readers to think about their health as a proverbial garden, one that needs tending to.  Where are the weeds and where are the blooms?  What areas are bare and what areas are overrun?  This is the first step to healing!  Are you ready to get your hands dirty?

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