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Real health care reform starts with you

While our legislative bodies and human resources departments work out the details of implementing the complex regulations surrounding the Affordable Care Act, you can start real health care reform by taking responsibility for improving your health. Here are a few steps you can take to lower your risk of high health care costs.

The solution: what you can do, starting now

To control health care costs, start by living a healthy life now. Be proactive about how you treat your body and the habits you may pass down to your children. Set the tone for what you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Step up to the plate with physical fitness. And most importantly, give the Lord your first fruits, not the leftovers.

Every day, we make choices: wake up 10 minutes early for quiet time or hit the snooze button, take the stairs for two flights or the elevator. No matter how small the decision, each one can make an impact. Do we consider God when it comes to our health? It's time we ask ourselves, how does God want me to live my life? We should consider living our lives to praise God fully.

The action plan: a new path focused on wellness

Health involves much more than exercise and healthy eating. Total health is about being a good steward of your life. It includes your mental, physical, spiritual and financial well-being. "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19-20, NKJV)

  • Mental. A common symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle is a heightened level of stress. What is causing your stress? What would reduce it? Try to find something that brings you joy and is a healthy way to relax not only your mind, but also your body. As an example, many people find that walking provides a time for meditation and exercise. Others find that painting or gardening brings them peace. Allow yourself to explore a hobby you're passionate about and create the time to practice the art of reducing stress.

  • Physical. Our bodies must be kept as His whose they are, and fit for His use and residence."1

    Where do I start? The main elements to focus on include: exercise regularly, eat healthy food and sleep eight hours. Our wellness website will walk you through the steps of physical wellness.

  • Spiritual. Psalms, Exodus, Isaiah and Proverbs all offer places of comfort and verses of healing. You might consider asking your Bible study, community group or accountability partner to join you in your quest for wellness. Throughout your journey, bathe it in prayer.

    "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:19-21 NKJV)

  • Financial. Did you know? Three-quarters of American health care services are linked to preventable, chronic or lifestyle-related conditions. When it comes to saving money on health care, preventive medicine is still the best. Your annual physical remains your number one prescription for increased health and reduced health care spending.

You can continue to rely on GuideStone for information on the impact of the Affordable Care Act while you start down your new path of wellness.

1 Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6." Blue Letter Bible, 1996.