Never underestimate the benefits of a good education. Thomas Jefferson would have hit the head straight if instead of putting “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, he instead penned the words, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of health and education.”
Education, health and happiness are closely linked, according to a growing number of studies that indicate a direct relationship between education and quality of life. Certainly, a conversation about quality of life should include references to strength, stamina, vitality…all by-products of good health.
Education Highway is paved with a fundamental and far-reaching approach to learning that shapes knowledge in a variety of subjects, including health. Once you have the knowledge, it becomes much easier to make the right decisions throughout life about health and everything else.
Author Veronica Roth writes: “Knowledge is power.” Knowledge opens doors, breaks down barriers, and levels the playing field. Without it, we wander through life unaware of the possibilities around us and unsure of the decisions before us. With that said, we are able to recognize the good and the bad and make decisions based on observation, intelligence, and informed judgment.
After getting acquainted with the concept of healthy living, and as it happens with many responsibilities of daily life when accompanied by knowledge, the process of education ignites within us. As our brain has absorbed important information for staying healthy, we begin the process of learning how to be healthy. The cycle continues.
To answer the questions posed by this new awareness, we then focus on those things that help us achieve our goal of achieving and maintaining wellness. Suddenly, our brain is stimulating our body to make the necessary adjustments that can promote a healthy lifestyle in us. In a short period of time, health becomes something you think about more than you only think about when you should.
Health is primarily defined as “a state of complete emotional and physical well-being”. Achieving optimal health and wellness is a challenge for everyone, educated or not. However, having the knowledge to achieve and maintain good health is a perfect example of how learning can positively affect every aspect of your daily life.
Dr. Seuss was right, “The more you read, the more things you’ll know. The more things you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Ideally a lifelong process, learning stimulates the brain, triggers a physical response, and helps identify nearly limitless avenues for learning. Education, in turn, creates a foundation for life that translates, almost unconsciously, across limitless aspects of life, including health and wellness.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of early childhood education and its long-term benefits to human well-being. According to the Institute for Economic Opportunity, “Early childhood learning plays a critical role in primary education. By focusing early childhood on prevention and protective factors, quality care and information can help children grow up healthy.”
The report continued that “…early learning and quality care before the age of five were found to be associated with improvement in a range of educational and social measures, some of which were documented after many years of care.”
While the genetic characteristics structured in our DNA have certainly been shown to play a role in health and longevity, addressing the core issue of education – early and lifelong learning – can provide a wide range of positive benefits for the brain, body and society in general.