Does “wellness” and “well-being” sometimes sound like a too huge accomplishment and often a state that belongs to those with “more discipline”? In my practice I often talk with people who have almost given up and believe that a state of health and/or wellness is for others destined for such a life. The good news that I bring to such folks is wellness is available to anyone and we start where we are, in this moment.
Before wellness can be understood fully, it is important to define the difference between “health” and “wellness”. Wellness is a lifestyle. It involves exercise, good nourishment, social richness, meaningful work and/or volunteering, rest and relaxation and a balance of these aspects of living. Health is often a by-product of a wellness lifestyle: a healthy body, a healthy mind and perspective and a certain resiliency and balance in spirit.
In its most narrow sense, health is the absence of disease. Wellness, however, is the creation and cultivation of a true sense of well-being or “being well”, even in the face of illness or injury. It is the practice of living in grace and gratitude ~ in body, mind and spirit.
In my own life, I have found the following inquiries to be a helpful guide in creating and sustaining a life of balance, wholeness and calm: a life of true well-being.
Ask your body:
- What can I do to nourish myself more completely?
- What actions would make me feel better today?
- And this week? This month? This year?
- Where do I feel unlovable or inadequate? Is it possible to love this part?
Ask your mind:
- What is the nature of my thoughts?
- What do I notice when my mind wanders?
- Are my most frequent thoughts self affirming or self negating?
- How might I change how I think?
- What nourishes me intellectually?
Ask your heart:
- Is my heart open and loving?
- Who loves me in my life?
- Do I harbor judgment and opinionated thoughts?
- Am I willing to gently release these thoughts?
- Am I behaving compassionately toward myself and others?
Ask your soul:
- What are my highest values in life?
- Am I living by my highest values?
- What connects me with my soul?
Are you willing to give yourself time for what has meaning and purpose in your life?
Ask yourself these questions weekly, taking time with each one – pausing – letting your own answers reveal themselves to you. Notice change! As the weeks go by, small shifts and everyday choices will build new perspectives, renewed energy and confidence, and a balanced and beautiful life.