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Words of Wisdom
What is wellness and how do I achieve it?
Intuitive Wellness Center LLC
INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
A state of wellness is achieved when the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual work in harmony with each other. When you are conscious of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual condition, you can act quickly to prevent illness if one or more of these aspects are out of balance. The physical you (your body) consists of your tangible structure and the five senses which enable you to touch, see, hear, smell, and taste the world around you. The emotional you (your feelings) consists of your range of emotions from fear and anger to love and joy. The mental you (your thoughts) consists of your knowledge, attitudes and beliefs; your analytical self. The spiritual you (your spirit) consists of your relationship with yourself, your creativity, your life purpose, and your relationship with a HIgher Power. All of these aspects work together to make you a whole person. What happens to one aspect can affect all the other aspects. That's why being confined in bed with a sore back (physical) can lead to depression (emotional), or why denying your anger (emotional) can lead to a headache (physical). This relationship between your different aspects is often referred to as the mind/body connection.
Since all of your parts must work in harmony to achieve wellness, each part needs your attention and care to preform at its best:
To enhance your health, you must be aware of yourself. When any aspect of your "self" is out of balance, it will let you know.
What sorts of activities and choices lead to wellness? The following suggestions are some of the specific things you can do to enhance your health and promote your own wellness.
No one's life is perfect. We all have difficult situations, hard times, losses to deal with. But some people's lives seem to work better than others. Have you ever wondered why? An important difference is in how they react to what happens to them. We always have a choice. In the game of life, the active participant comes out the winner, while the passive spectator is often the loser. When we allow and accept everything that happens to us as though we have no choice, we are taking a possible role in our lives. The feeling that we are victims of circumstances, that we have no choice but to accept our lot in life, leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless, and depressed. These negative emotions can cause our physical self to fall down on its job of taking care of itself and fighting off disease.
Knowing you have a choice in how to respond in a given situation empowers you to choose what is good for you. Sometimes we may choose to accept what happens and go on with our business. Other times, it may be best to confront the situation and make our anger, hurt, or confusion known. Even if you have been passive in the past, in the future you can choose to be active. You can learn that its normal for others to see things differently than you do and, as an active participant in life, you can learn to accept differences and feel something in common that allows you to work together for the good of all concerned. You can decide how you will get your needs met and work together with others to accomplish what is wanted. You can let others know how you wish to be treated and what you will and will not accept. Only you can set boundaries for yourself. Learning to respond differently may not happen overnight. With practice, your heightened sense of awareness, coupled with your power of choice, will help you establish new behaviors and create wellness.
Human beings are creatures of habit and ingrained attitudes. It takes a strong desire to overcome our natural resistance to change, but the more we want to change, the easier change becomes. While fear is a useful motivator when we are in immediate danger, it is not a good motivator for long-term change. People who change their habits out of fear often find themselves backsliding and returning to their old ways. Even people who have survived a life-threatening illness may find it difficult to maintain the kind of lifestyle necessary to promote continued health. When we change because we genuinely want to experience the positive results of change, we are much more likely to succeed. Anyone who smokes cigarettes knows how difficult it is to break the habit, but every year thousands of expectant mothers do it out of love for their unborn child.
To reach your wellness goals, you must first define what wellness is for you. A computer programmer, a new mother, someone who is physically challenged, a tree trimmer, and a retiree might each picture different wellness goals to support their individual lifestyles. What kind of lifestyle do you have now? What kind do you want? Think about what isn't working for you. Think about what you want to change. Be specific. Take a moment now to write down your wellness goals. For each goal, list all the positive benefits you will gain by reaching your goals. Don't leave anything out, no matter how silly it may seem. Remember not to use fear as an inducement. In other words, do not list "reduce risk of cancer" as a reason to quit smoking, even though it may be true. Don't get stuck by labeling your choices as either right or wrong. Just choose what is appropriate for you.
Once you have determined your personal wellness goals, it is time to decide what changes you must make to achieve them. Be patient with yourself. Creating wellness is an ongoing process. As you make more beneficial choices and fewer harmful ones, you gradually tip the scales toward wellness. You can reach your wellness goals, even difficult ones, one step at a time. The most important step is the first one. Ask yourself which change will benefit you the most. Are you willing to make this change? Is so, get started on your path to wellness by making your first step. The more you learn about health and wellness, the easier it will be for you to know which changes to make and the best way to implement those changes. Educational materials, resource organizations, local programs and a wide range of healthcare practitioners are some of the resources available to assist you.
Healthcare assistance is available from a wide range of practitioners. Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, marriage and family counselors, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and psychologists are just a few. No one medical or health professional has all the answers for all conditions. Discovering what each has to offer will expand your choices. No matter what type of practitioner you choose, your participation is vital. Even in an emergency, you can still participate. In most cases, you will have ample time to ask questions and then make well-informed choices.
Ways you can go about changing your habits and lifestyle include:
As you go through the change process, there are several things to keep in mind:
American Holistic Health Association (AHHA, 2003)