A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity ~ The World Health Organization.
An active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence ~ The National Wellness Institute
The quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal ~ Merriam Webster
While many agree that the absence of illness is one part of being healthy, it doesn’t indicate whether we’re truly well. Wellness research indicates that people who take care of themselves and manage their lifestyles are healthier, more productive, have fewer absences from work, and make fewer demands for medical services. While traditional western medicine concentrates on alleviating or curing disease, the state of being well encourages us to take personal responsibility for our well-being, get proactive and try to prevent disease, as well as practice choices and habits that promote thriving, not just surviving. Being Well incorporates a physical, psychological, social, and spiritual approach to meet those needs. Each area becomes necessary for optimal overall functioning. It is an approach that emphasizes and supports the whole of a person from a more expanded perspective. It’s the integration of the body, mind, and spirit, and the appreciation that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an impact on our health and well-being, a state of being well, and how that reflects on our quality of life. Following are some ideas we can explore along the way. The goal is not to do everything, or do it perfectly. The goal is to strive for healthier lifestyle practices, develop some consistency and to enjoy life!
How Do I Get Well?
For the body: Eat a healthy diet with more vegetables and fruits. Cut out sugar, really limit processed foods, try to eat organic. Eat foods as fresh to their natural state as possible. This will help your organs (liver, intestines, stomach, heart) function as best they can. Be thankful for the nourishment the food provides. Take vitamins or healthy supplements. With medical clearance, move your body, try to exercise at least 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes (walk, bike, dance, golf, swim, yoga, tai chi, chair exercise, stretching, get a massage). Thank your body for the many ways it supports you. Breathe deliberately with full cleansing breaths, put yourself in fresh air and clean environments, practice good posture for better breathing and alignment. Take breaks and respect your need to rest. Try to quit or decrease smoking, limit or eliminate alcohol, develop regular and healthy sleep routines, get organized, make to do lists and manage your time, connect with nature, laugh, smile (read comics, watch funny videos, fake it until you find yourself genuinely laughing – laughter yoga). Get a hobby, join a group of people interested in what you are (MeetUp.com), learn something new. For the mind: As above, breathe. Be willing to let go of being right. Seek to understand, not necessarily agree. It may work to distract yourself or change your thoughts sometimes. It is even more effective to go deeper by questioning them for greater understanding. Really ask yourself if what you believe is absolutely true. Notice your reactions when you believe thoughts that cause stress, and notice if there are other interpretations. How would you feel if you couldn’t believe all the stories you tell yourself and are told to you? Trust your inner wisdom to know and to know when to seek more information, to go in a different direction. Get still, ask you and let the answers arise. Try to join reality rather than argue against it. Ask what can you do within your ability rather than banging your head against a brick wall trying to control others. Put your efforts to what you can change, beginning with yourself and your attitudes. Be patient, change inevitably occurs. Just notice that change may be uncomfortable, but you've been there before, and you've grown because of it. Practice compassion and kindness for yourself and others, try not to bury your emotions. Use positive language about yourself and others. Ask what you can learn, how you can grow, how you can impact a situation. Set positive and doable goals. Ask for help. Practice mindful awareness, slow down, get present and engaged in the moment at hand, savor your experiences, visualize a relaxing and healing place around and in you. Practice kindness, patience, honesty, dependability, a sense of humor, and open mindedness. Welcome change. Be imperfect.
For the spirit: Practice gratitude: look for the good, look for the lesson (not in your time but in time; not necessarily just for you, but for others; not necessarily your way, but a way that will unfold. You can be an example for others), find gratitude for things you've accomplished, processed, learned, how you've grown, helped your self and others, etc. Forgive. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Get into nature, listen to music. Consider how you are connected to something far greater than yourself: energy, nature, a god of your understanding, something inexplicable and undefinable, intuition that guides you. Lean on it. Develop trust that supports will show up, and open up to them. Be honest. Demonstrate Love. Connect with others. Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments. Try to give and receive. Say thank you more. Say yes more. Smile more. Pray if that feels right for you. Acknowledge the good in your life. Read and view inspirational messages. Practice silence and appreciation. Bring yourself back to the present if noticing your obsessing on images of past and future. We have but one moment, and it is here and now.
(Written by Joanne Richards 2016)
"It is true that the heart has its seasons, just as a flower opens to the sunlight and closes to the night. We need to be respectful of those rhythms. But we can't close down for long. It is our true nature to have an open heart." ~ Jack Kornfield