Why Wellness?

When you think “Wellness,” what comes to mind?  For better or worse, that phrase gets dragged into all sorts of ventures nowadays, ranging from alternative medicine to spas to corporate programs designed to cut rising employer health care costs.  Wellness is a hot new field, and everybody wants a piece of the pie.

Which runs the risk of diluting the meaning of the word into nothing but jargon and buzzword, a way of co-opting the latest hot phrase into myriad causes that results only in the complete butchering of the intended meaning of the word “wellness” and rendering it meaningless.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for increasing the well-being of humans all over the world, and for moving beyond the idea that if we just bandaid over individual and societal ills, we’re somehow living in a good place.  I just think we need to be sure we’re all talking about the same thing, and to not stretch words until they no longer hold any meaning whatsoever.

Health is not just the absence of disease.  For me, health is more than that.  It means achieving a basic standard of living, expressed through physical, mental, emotional and often spiritual means.  The concept of wellness helps pull the idea of health beyond the concept of deficit of pathology, and into the arena of enhancing the positive forces that strengthen and enrich our lives.

Thus wellness might be contentment.  The ability to pursue passion and knowledge, to be inspired and to be creative.  A sense of communion with family.  Friends.  Community.  Your environment.  Wellness as peace of mind.  Wellness as an intentional way of life.

So for me, wellness spans all aspects of life.  The physical: nutrition, exercise.  The mental: stress management, financial management, personal development and personal productivity.  The emotional: developing and strengthening important relationships in your life, increasing a sense of community, taking care of the environment, seeking and following through on inspiration, creativity as a means of self-expression.  The ways these are interrelated and their subtle [and not so subtle] effects on our lives.

The idea is to both create a solid foundation on which to ensure a basic level of health and well being, and then to grow and develop from that foundation into the best possible version of ourselves.  Think of wellness as a springboard to inspire improvements in all aspects of life, and through multiple venues as well.  We live in an age of overwhelming volume of information that it’s hard to sort fact from fiction, plan priorities and pack it all into the 24 hours we are given in each day.  But wellness doesn’t have to be difficult to fit into daily life, and I hope to explore these themes in the coming posts.  Not to neglect any of the areas mentioned above, this blog covers a wide range of topics. Feel free to pick and choose the ones that are relevant to you. Of course, as you start down the road towards a well you, you may develop a budding interest in an increased number of interests, and that is what this blog is here for as well.

As a former health coach, I have a lot of experience with a lot of these topics, particularly nutrition, exercise, weight management, and stress management.  On a personal level, I have a longstanding interest in food, creativity and making things, being outdoors, the environment, personal finance and personal productivity.  I’ll be starting grad school in the Fall to learn more about the systems and institutions that affect and serve our health and wellness needs, the latest research and methods to proactively deal with them.  I hope for this blog to be a meeting point between all these areas, and an ongoing conversation with the world at large.

Wellness as honoring yourself: honoring your basic needs, and honoring your fullest potential.


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