by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
We’re a society striving for optimal fitness and wellness. Yet, how do we define wellness? Don’t let a lack of understanding block your path to attainment …
“Wellness is a multidimensional state-of-being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality-of-life and a sense of well-being.” This beautiful, concise definition was provided by Charles B. Corbin of Arizona State University.
Simply put: Wellness is an active process of being aware of, and making decisions for, a more successful existence. It is the result of determination, persevering to make smart, informed decisions in our best interest. It is also accepting diversions along the journey without allowing them to paralyze us.
Wellness consists of many dimensions, which often fall into two categories: physical or mental. One person’s standard may vary greatly from another’s simply because of his/her path in life. Someone suffering from a chronic disease or emotional turmoil can still manage overall well-being. Obviously, the route to attainment will differ from one with a less challenging fate. Achieving wellness is about accepting our current situation and still striving to live our best life, in spite of everything.
Attempting to define this often elusive state helps us recognize when we’ve achieved it, as well as when we are lacking it.
Make a life rooted in wellness. It’s a choice. So many issues and circumstances are thrown at us. With a healthy life as our goal, we can better overcome, or adapt to, the current state of our body and mind with a healthy dose of goodness.
Try to achieve balance. This time of year, there is a pull toward a more casual lifestyle. An acceptable workload back in February may no longer be satisfying but rather a hindrance. Responsibilities may prevent you from answering the call of the wild– the fish, the ocean, the kids on the playground. Stress ensues when torn between demands, especially when one option is preferable and the other is necessary.
Wellness is not only the absence of illness. It’s the presence of everyday joys in a life that flourishes. It is making time for things that bring happiness and nurture a healthy existence, while maintaining responsibilities. A balanced life follows the “work hard; play hard” principle where even work brings satisfaction. Occupational and intellectual wellness ensues.
Set priorities and commit to them. Realize these priorities will probably shift with the seasons. Perhaps this isn’t the time of year to spearhead a new project or take on a new client. If possible, respectfully decline or risk falling below your standards. Instead, you may be inclined to join a softball team, learn to swim, or work on a photo album. Dedicate time to what inspires you and success will radiate to other areas. That’s wellness.
Manage your home time as you would work. Create a task list to finish chores during the week so weekends allow time for meaningful activities. Share chores and yard work with your family. They are your home team. Cleaning and gardening can get everyone moving. Burn calories, work together, and feel a sense of pride in your dwelling. Maybe everyone will be a little neater knowing it was their hands-on involvement that got the floor to shine.
Make time for enjoyment. Sign up for classes at the Center, some even can be joined with your children. The FitKids program gives kids a healthy workout while learning or improving skills. Excessively hot weather doesn’t need to be a reason for another hour of television. Learn a new hobby, alone or with a spouse or friend. Self-nourishment is an investment.
Regular physical exams are essential at any age. They provide a baseline of your current health, which later can be referenced to note any positive or negative changes. Potential health issues can be discovered early, making prevention of serious conditions more possible. It also provides you and your physician a basis for discussion. Nutrition and fitness goals can be set or adjusted, and medication or treatments monitored.
Share this information with the Center nurse. A health background on file is a safety measure in the rare event medical intervention is necessary during your workout. Many achieve a heartier workout, knowing they were approved by their physician to “leave it all on the floor.” By following guidelines for appropriate wellness visits, you can proceed confidently with attaining fitness goals.
Ignorance is not bliss with regards to lurking health issues.
A healthy body deserves to be maintained. A body in distress from illness or injury deserves to progress to the best condition possible. Armed with your latest health reports, Center staff can direct you along the safest, most appropriate fitness journey. A workout should be customized to encompass the exerciser’s entire being– physical state, emotional presence, and general preferences. (Don’t bother training like a soccer player if your heart, soul, and feet are planted solidly in a dance studio.)
When our body feels and performs well, overall wellness comes more naturally.
The strength of the mind-body connection continues to amaze all who study it. Physical wellness is intricately connected to our emotional state and vice-versa. For many, physical fitness is not an issue. Mental fitness is the challenge. How we exercise our brains affects our whole well-being. It dictates what we accomplish on the Exercise Floor, at our desks, behind the wheel. In fact, it drives the vehicle that is our body. An unhealthy mental state will create an uphill path filled with detours and flat tires.
Meditation is an excellent workout for the brain, which radiates positive energy to the entire self. Ideally, one can incorporate mental health practices with physical goals. Yoga; Pilates; or mindful awareness during laps in the pool– or any other fitness routine– brings your brain to the workout. When the brain and body work in unison, results are powerful. Wellness is more possible.
Don’t trick yourself with a facade. A smile may not reflect mental wellness when your brain is filled with junk. Care for your emotional well-being. If depression or anxiety is your issue, treat it. If social wellness is wearing you down, confront problem relationships. Begin the process of releasing perceived obligations and expired loyalties. Studies have proven rejection from a loved one and ongoing significant conflict leads to physical pain. Although not easy, resolution of challenging emotions is critical for wellness. You may fool the outside world, but your well-being knows when a smile is genuine. It brightens from the inside out.
Everyone has them. Some days they seem worse than others. Admittedly, some days they are. During times of turmoil, try (key word) to set aside time for meditation. Not only cleansing meditation to quiet your mind, but also reflection on whatever is grieving you. Knowing an allotted time exists to dwell, worry, and ponder allows life to be lived. It helps us move forward in times of distress, without issues or emotions sabotaging every move. It keeps us well.
Here, we presented several main components of wellness. Unlike many of the goals we accomplish at the Center, wellness cannot be simply defined. You can’t determine it through a blood test, scan, or scale. It isn’t evident through a loose pair of pants, or even a smile. To be fully alive, one needs to function well in all aspects of life. Each layer may not be perfect at any given time. Yet, when the core of our being continuously seeks improvement and prioritizes health, we are, indeed, well.
“Conflict in Relationships– The Toll of Relationship Conflict,” by Elizabeth Scott at www.about.com.
“What Is Wellness? Learn All About Wellness,” by Elizabeth Scott at www.about.com.
Wellness drink: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotel-goldener-adler/6331507796/
Rain meditation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/garlandcannon/5388459724/
Flower core: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sleepishly/2551794507/