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Best columns: Business

Stop worrying so much about your health

 Shannon BrownleeThe Washington Post

My middle-aged friends and I are, by and large, “a remarkably healthy lot,” said Shannon Brownlee in The Washington Post. So why are we all so terrified of illness? I blame the health-care industry. “By constantly reminding us to be on the lookout for illness,” the medical establishment has essentially “eroded our sense of well-being.” Scaring us is the point, of course. Health advocates “have long believed that the way to improve the nation’s health” is to “frighten people into their doctor’s office.” They may be right, but “what’s lost in all of this is the belief that we can cope with life” and “live in the face of its abiding uncertainties.” Medicine, contrary to the drug industry’s claims, can’t eliminate those uncertainties. So I’m going to stop this ceaseless monitoring of symptoms that may or may not spell my doom. I’ll continue to eat right and exercise, but I won’t watch every fluctuation of my bone density or cholesterol level. As for my anxiety, I’ll treat that “by tuning out the medical scare talk.” 

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