What is Wellness?
When we think of whether or not we are well, we usually think of our physical health. Physical health is an important part of being well, and most of us try to keep fit and active. But what are the reasons we want to be healthy? Do we wish to be fit in order to enjoy life, so we can live life to it’s fullest or in order to impress those around us? True wellness is an integration of physical, mental and spiritual health, which allows us to accept and love ourselves for who we are not how we look in the mirror.
Human beings are very complex creatures. We form societies in which we strive for individuality while at the same time conforming to certain lifestyle conditions. This can lead to feelings of stress, inadequacy, loneliness and frustration. We need to remember that we are in control of our lives through the choices that we make, and that we effect our own destiny through making choices that allow us to experience emotional wellbeing, mental balance and physical health. Once we realize that we are the captains of our destinies, we can make responsible choices that will allow us to experience life to it’s fullest potential.
The Greatest Love of All
At the cornerstone of wellness is the concept of unconditional self-love and self-acceptance. We all understand that for every action there is a reaction. How many of us understand that for every thought there is a behavior? When we feel bad about ourselves, we often indulge in behavior that is self-destructive. Binge eating is a great example of behavior that is brought on by a feeling of self-hate. Purging often follows the guilt associated with the bingeing. This is an extreme example of thought and behavior in a vicious circle.
We must choose to love ourselves. We must look at our lifestyle, our jobs, and our location with wellness always in mind. We must choose a lifestyle that allows us to deal with stress in ways that we enjoy. Is two hours at a gym working out on a machine enjoyable? If yes, great! If not, be creative with your physically fitness, hike, jog, play a team sport. Remember that you are more than your body, you are spirit and mind as well and that the key to vitality is balance between all three.
Dealing with stress is something that most people don’t do. We push on and on, trying to build a financial foundation on which we can spend our later years in comfort, free to do all the things we don’t have time to do now. We have our eye on the prize, we work hard and we deserve to retire with wealth. But if we don’t have our health, how will we enjoy our financial freedom?
Investing in Your Future Health
Many conditions can be caused or furthered by poor lifestyle choices. Moderation is very important in all aspects of our lifestyle. We need to also remember that stress and tension that are not released can actually make us sick. Healthy lifestyle choices now will enable us to invest in our health so our quality of life will not degrade as we age. Proper stress relief can keep our heart healthy when coupled with proper nutrition and endurance training. Ten minutes of vigorous walking four times a week will not only keep your heart beating strong but it will also give you time to yourself to de-stress. So, load up some MP3’s, grab Fido and leave your cell phone behind, it’s good for you.
Our lifestyles are great predictors of our future health. In these days of medical miracles, we can expect to live a long life. Of course, chronic illnesses lead to a decrease in the quality of that long life. Lifestyle and environment combine to create 75% of the factors that cause most chronic illnesses. Genetics and health care systems account for the other 25%. We are truly able through responsible lifestyle choices to live both a long and healthy life.
He has his Father’s Lifestyle
We often say of little boys, “he has his Father’s eyes.” But did he also inherit his Father’s heart disease? Let’s think for a moment about the concept of genetic lifestyle. We grow up not only to mirror our parent’s looks, but also their behaviors. When we inherit a lifestyle that is not healthy, we will also inherit the behaviors of that lifestyle. We need to remember that the family who plays together, stays healthy together. If we sit around the house all night complaining about being too tired to be active with our kids, they will grow up to mirror these behaviors. Physical activity actually increases energy levels and lowers stress levels, so tiredness is no excuse. No one is asking you to run a marathon, just take a family walk around the block, or play a game of hide and seek in the yard. Be creative, and have fun.
Lifestyle change at any age will improve your quality of life. Remember that while putting away for the future is a good thing, so is enjoying life now. Have fun everyday, do something that charms you. Be the person you are inside, and love that person. There is no one on this earth who is like you, you are unique and special. You are also responsible for the choices you make and the lifestyle you lead. Make an investment in your future today by investing in yourself. You’re worth it. Think positive and positive behaviors will result. Remember that true wellness is balance between physical, mental and emotional health and that the best lifestyle encompasses all three in moderation.