By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Do you research your health and wellness queries and concerns? Do you ask the best worded questions when you are looking for answers? How do you gather information before you make a health decision? These questions only scratch the tip of the ice berg when it comes to our general natural ignorance and the truth out there. The power of self-education is serious and we have to really understand its significance when it comes to our own health. We are raised to listen to our elders and to certified doctors when it comes to most health advice, but is that the best way to self-educate? No and it is definitely not the only way.
Why do so many of us have no self-motivation to find the answers to our own health questions? I know each and every one of us has unanswered questions in their minds and some of those come up on a daily basis, so why are we not motivated enough to look on our own? There can be various answers to why a person isn’t motivated enough to seek the information they want, but let’s agree that it is critical to self-educate, so let’s talk researching effectively and efficiently.
When it comes to researching in general, you have to start with an open mind. You might have your preconceived notions or even facts and data that you might already have, but keep in mind that health knowledge and education is growing and developing on a daily basis and the answers you might have from a few years ago might now be completely different. You have to check multiple and different types of sources, question the unclear and get to the bottom of conflicting data. Searching for information online can be complicated or confusing but you will eventually gain the user experience necessary to be able to differentiate between the truth and all the other non-reliable information you may find. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. In brief, it is crucial to make sure the sources are legitimate, to check the timeframe in which the information was created, to make sure the authors at least understand the basics of the topic they are discussing and to realise that one source is not and should not be the only answer you find. Eventually you will learn to
manoeuvre around online research and gather enough credible information for you to develop your active lifestyle or to even make a critical health decision.
1- Use different search engines.
2- Use key words and change them as you narrow your research.
3- Verify the source.
4- Use primary and secondary sources.
5- Check the date and if it is current or still relevant.
6- Check the author’s background.
7- Is the article answering my question?
8- Keep track of the different sources you approved and liked.
9- If you find conflicting information, dig further until you find what convinces you.
10- Don’t forget the value of academic journals and databases.
Online research is not that simple, nor is research simple offline. Therefore, we need to make sure we are correctly and adequately self-educating ourselves on a continuous basis. Most importantly, we have to get ourselves out of the dark and start finding our own answers if they are not readily available. Personally, this is how I started developing my wellness lifestyle. I always had questions on my mind and I would ask my parents, elders, friends, family and even medical staff for answers, but I would never fully be convinced. In our current world, people have so many different experiences and opinions that it may get confusing when you listen to it all. Some people literally seem to act automatically on what they hear, without due diligence and confirming the information by researching it. Please do not get caught up in the latest trends or strictly listen to a certain group of people, you have to be open to all information and then decide for yourself after thorough verification. Research might not be able to answer every single question you have or the answers might not be satisfactory enough for you, but it is definitely better than doing no research. In the end whatever you research, you will have to decide and choose what to believe and what to implement in your personal life, but know that if you don’t search for answers, it is now time to take control of your own health and to the information that really will benefit you and your wellness journey.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.