Wellness is Bigger Than We Thought

As quickly as we’ve grown to grasp the concept, do we understand it in its entirety?

Growing up, wellness was such a different concept than we hold today. Back then, it meant simply the opposite of being ill. It was comprised of none of the holistic and preventative aspects of the modern version.

A so-called healthy diet was based upon the infamous govern- ment-certified food pyramid, which preached ample, daily doses of breads, pastas and meats, with some dairy and saturated fats for variety. My mother, for one, had for breakfast every morning a cup of Sanka — remember that one? — with Sweet’n Low, toast- ed Wonder bread topped with margarine and a glass of orange juice made from concentrate, not an actual orange in sight. And dinner always included a meat, a starch and a frozen vegetable. I’m sure a number of warning flags just went up in your mind, as they did in mine in recalling these memories. But that was how my mother and her generation were taught to eat.

Practices such as meditation, yoga, self-actualization and nu- tritional bio-individuality didn’t register on anyone’s radar when we were growing up. And therapy of any kind was done dis- creetly so as not to be perceived as mentally disturbed.

As kids, when we were asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” our responses were grounded in sala- ries and security for us and our future families. We never stopped to consider the value of happiness. That’s why it’s called work.

In highlighting these once commonplace practices, it becomes clearer just how far we’ve come. The wellness concept has flour- ished quickly and tremendously in both scope and acceptance. And I consider myself fortunate for being near the epicenter. Each day, I’m blessed to work with people in search of true wellness. People engaged in the process of healing the body and clearing the past to get to the present, which is critical, because it is there that we create our futures, futures that feed the mind, body and soul.

Because wellness, today, is so deeply connected to the way we live our lives and the quality of the choices we make, it is imperative that we look at our lifestyles in the context of “whole” and conscious living, bringing equal value to all parts of our lives. Approaching wellness by looking at the entire pic- ture of who we are and what we need allows us to lead the healthiest and happiest lives possible.

In that vein, I’m breaking wellness down into six categories to make it more easily digestible and to help you start to take stock of your life.

  1. BELIEFS. Whether spiritual or religious, personal or ethical, beliefs are truly the oars that row the boat. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
  2. LOVE. The depth of our relationships, the extent of our social networks and the sense of service we uphold, as well as the love and absolute forgiveness we maintain for ourselves, our past and the world around us.
  3. PURPOSE. I like this term better than career or work. It’s the deepest parts of ourselves manifested for the greater good. It’s who we are, and not just what we do from nine to five. Creativ- ity, education, manifestation and abundance all fall into this category.
  4. PHYSICAL ENJOYMENT. Exercise, play, laughter, affection and, of course, sex. This element allows us to experience the cel- ebratory aspects of ourselves. It feeds our energy and joy.
  5. ENVIRONMENT. Our homes, our communities and the beauty of our surroundings. When we live in a peaceful atmosphere and have the ability to commune with nature and the people around us, our connection to something greater than ourselves grows, as do we.
  6. NUTRITION. The quality of the foods we eat, the thoughts we think and the way we nourish ourselves and others is critical. I list it separately here to stress its significance, but nutrition more accurately falls under No. 2, as a component of self-love.

Now, take a blank sheet of paper and list each of the six cat- egories. Then rate the quality of your life on a scale of one to 10 according to each, with one being poor and 10 being perfect. Above all, be honest.

When you’re done, list everything that you think you need to change to live the most fulfilling life possible. This is your well- ness to-do list. In committing it to paper, you’re committing to the changes you want to manifest in your life. Starting tomorrow, one by one, bring them to fruition. And continue to do so each day until you have.

Oh, and no Sanka.

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