Before we cover the final two tenets of wellness, let’s do a short review. The first tenet, as described by John W. Travis, MD, MPH, and modified (with permission by Travis) by yours truly, was “Wellness is a choice…. a decision you make to move toward optimal health.” You were asked to write down your own Wellness Declaration. These questions were then presented to consider covering one key barrier to reaching your wellness potential, your first step to resolve that barrier, how that action will help you achieve your declaration, and who/what do you need to succeed.
The 2nd tenet discussed was “Wellness is a way of life…a lifestyle you design to achieve your highest potential for wellbeing.” This is where you begin to make changes in your life that will impact you physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Your “way of life” is a journey and process not just a single event. This brought you to the 3rd tenet: “Wellness is a process…a developing awareness that there is no end point, but that health and happiness are possible in each moment, here and now.” You may not always “feel” happy. Somewhere along the way when the bad stuff happens, it will be time to give some priorities to what is really most important for you and your family.
The 4th tenet is “Wellness is a balanced channeling of energy…energy received from the environment, transformed within you, and returned to affect the world around you.” For some this tenet may be a little confusing as to what it all means. Basically, we only have 24 hours in a day. In those hours we live our lives and use whatever energy we have to accomplish our daily tasks. The key here is “balance.”
The 5th tenet is “Wellness is the integration of the body, mind, and spirit…. the appreciation that everything you do, and think, and feel, and believe has an impact on your state of health.” See how this tenet fits and helps guide you through the other tenets of wellness?
The key word here is “integration.” What is your body telling you? How is your mind or thoughts affected? And deep in your heart or spirit, what are you hearing? Today, make a change to align the “whole” of you for more energy, both physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The 6th and final 7th tenets of wellness are “Wellness is the loving acceptance of yourself” and “Wellness is Relationships! “ The word Illness starts with “I” and Wellness starts with “WE.” We all definitely prefer going through life with someone by our side. Going it alone or being “independent” may be a motto for many. Yet, I have discovered over the years that wanting to always be alone has everything to do with struggling to accept oneself just as we are. Self-criticism and the drive for perfection can derail any relationship. We are born to connect, and wellness cannot be truly achieved and sustained without relationships that nurture our lives.
The support we all need each day comes more easily when we accept every part of who we are . . . our strengths, our challenges, our areas of weakness. It doesn’t mean we stop there. Self-acceptance actually helps us gain a burst of freedom and energy to move forward and connect with others toward the level of wellness we desire and often only dream about.
In this month’s final lifeskill article series on Wellness next week, I will share my own wellness declaration. I put my declaration into motion about 30 plus years ago that intimately reflects these seven tenets of wellness I learned up front and personal through the years. See you on the journey!