Wellness: Wonderful or Woeful?

Art by Gerd Altmann; courtesy of Pixabay

One of the biggest predictors of longevity is psychological resiliency — the ability to roll with the punches life throws at you. The mainstream seems to acknowledge more and more that attitude, social network, community and spiritual beliefs may be as important as cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and other risk factors that determine whether you will live a long and healthy life.

According to Anne Harrington, chair of the History of Science Department at Harvard University and author of the book, The Cure Within: A History of Mind Body Medicine, “People suffering from serious illnesses improve their survival chances by adopting a positive attitude and refusing to believe in the worst. Stress is the great killer of modern life.”

The idea that there is a dramatic and powerful connection between the mind and body and vice versa is basic to Oriental Medicine and Eastern philosophies, and dates back as far as 1500 BC. The state of our bodies powerfully affects our minds; the state of our minds powerfully affects our bodies.

mind and body are intertwined in subtle and sophisticated ways — ways we would all do well to understand.

Hans Selye, MD, the man who coined the word “stress” and first mapped out its biological effects, said, “The modern physician should know as much about emotions and thoughts as about disease symptoms and drugs. This approach would appear to hold more promise of cure than anything medicine has given us to date.”

If this is true, the most powerful pharmacy in the world resides right between our ears!

The World’s Solutions to Stress

There are multitudes of holistic healers, integrated medical professionals, and mind-body connection techniques and therapies, cutting edge wellness programs, books and courses throughout the world to help us cope with and mitigate stress.

Additionally, we cannot leave out religion and the magnificent array of available spiritual practices.

Jonas Ellison mentions in one of his latest posts, “Even if you and I were healed of every physical and mental ill at this moment, there would still be an inner unrest. A lingering — if not an overwhelming — discontent.”

All beautiful; and evidence most everyone is a participant in the quest for wellness.

Whether you see your life through the lenses of interconnected wholeness or a vast sea of disconnected, unrelated bits and pieces may ultimately define the quality of wellness you achieve.

My observation (in both myself and my clients)…

is after 20+ years in the industry, our individual and collective experiences of wellness and well-being greatly depend on the degree we (humans) are self-aware, grounded in our bodies, and regularly put into practice some methodologies designed to free our minds of defeating self-talk. These elements create a foundation from which we discover our own truth and as we evolve, become the springboard towards relationships with the external world.

We spend billions of dollars a year on health education, interventions, pharmaceuticals and surgery.

We go to yoga classes, meditate, and speak with our priest or minister.

We run in 5k’s, lift weights, and take Pilates classes.

We switch to a vegetable-based diet, limit ourselves to lean protein sources, buy “hormone, sulfate, and gluten-free”, and eat more fruit and whole grains.

We get married, go to work and maintain friendships and other various forms of connections.

We are seeking, but are we finding? More importantly, if we are finding, are we experiencing the joy and freedom that come along with it? Is it sustainable?

We all know someone who has made these changes and sustains them. They seem to handle life situations with ease and are open to change. We could describe this person as being calm, joyful, and balanced.

How did they become this way? What do they know that we might not? Is this the goal? Is this the ideal? Are we all striving to be the same?

Conversely, we all know someone who has attempted these changes, and yet time and again, “falls off the wagon”, finding a perpetual yo-yo experience of life, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

We, too, know someone who appears to be in terrific “shape” on the outside, but is plagued with emotional issues and relationship problems, maybe even having a heart attack at age 35, and what about that person who describes herself as “fat and happy”?

Are we merely seeking health in the body? Is a good BMI proof we are healthy and whole?

What do attitude and our relationships really have to do with our health?

What is the source of our dis-ease and our wellness and wellbeing ?

Which brings us back to where we began. The self -discovery of wellness. It can be either a wonderful or perhaps a woeful journey. Ultimately its path and direction is up to YOU!

Have thoughts, opinions, hopes, experiences to share about what wellness is to you? Please share them here in responses.

I would love to know what you think, feel and dream about wellness.

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