Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wellness..... It's not a destination

  • Cambridge dictionaries online defines wellness as: "The state of being healthy."
  • The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines wellness as: "The condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits."
  • gives two definitions of wellness: "The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, esp. as the result of deliberate effort." and "An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases."
  • Finally Miriam Webster's online dictionary defines it as: " The quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal <lifestyles that promote wellness>"
I'm here to tell you that all of the above definitions are unnecessarily limiting. I have known people who while not totally healthy, reside at a level of wellness I can only hope to reach one day. 

You see - most people tend to look at wellness as an endpoint or a pinacle to reach rather than as the continuum it actually is. We're human and as such aren't perfect so we don't reach high level wellness and automatically stay there. More commonly we move up and down the wellness continuum, depending upon what we have going on in our lives at any given moment.

Many people think that wellness is all about losing weight and exercising - a lot! This is also a misunderstanding.

If you google "Wellness Wheel" you'll find wheels with an incredible number of spokes. I like to keep it simple and as such like Eastern concept of Mind, Body, Spirit.

I really think that this concept can contain all of the components that help us move to high level wellness.

The three areas I tend to write about are Healthy Movement, Healthy Eating and Stress reduction. Different aspects of therapeutic massage can actually be helpful to all three of these areas - but more on that later.

I believe strongly that by eating well you will begin to feel better and be more mentally centered and present in your life. Healthy movement helps you connect with yourself on a whole new physical level. And stress reduction because you can't be present in your life until you break free of  the stress - self medicate - stress cycle so many people are trapped in these days. To accomplish change in those three areas means you are making time for self care and as they say in the airline biz, "You need to put your own oxygen mask on first if you want to be conscious to help others put their masks on."

The final misconception I want to tackle is the idea that we can opt out of the wellness continuum. You can ignore it but you'll still be somewhere on the wellness continuum and chances are you won't be enjoying yourself.

My recommendation for anyone wishing to move themselves to a higher level of personal wellness is simple.  Begin by embracing learning. As you learn about healthy eating, movement and mindfulness begin to embrace the concepts with which you identify, making them part of your life. Don't try to do it all at once. Choose one little change at a time.

As you embrace positive habits the less than positive habits will begin to fade and disappear. Now doesn't that sound easier than trying to put your life into a waste basket, turn it upside down and change everything at once?

The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results. - Anthony Robbins


Ottavina said...

Lots of great information here. I shall attempt more positive habits and hope it helps. :) Hope you are well!

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica, I've been thinking about your and your goals for self care and hoping that they are going well. I'm doing quite well as I hope you are too.