Most people think wellness is simply the absence of illness. It makes sense. If you aren't sick, you must be well. While there is truth in that, there is really much more to it...
Seeking wellness is the process of striving for better health. It's accepting responsibility for your own health and taking action as described in the Illness-Wellness Continuum developed by Dr. John Travis. It's not your doctor's responsibility to keep you healthy; it's yours. Of course, your doctor does help.
If you want to be healthier, you start by assessing your level of wellness. You learn to recognize when something is amiss. You learn about your body, how it works, and gain knowledge in areas that help improve your health. You work to improve your wellness level by exercising, eating nutritious food, and getting supportive help. All of these facilitate your quest to become as healthy as you can be at every stage of your life.
Part of working toward wellness is reducing your individual risk factors for developing different diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. For you, this may or may not include weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, reducing alcohol intake, improving nutritional balance, or following your doctor's advice to manage an illness. As these risk factors diminish, you may become happier, more social, and find you function at a higher level: your level of wellness increases!
To help in quest for wellness, it helps to work on mindfulness. Be mindful of what you eat, where you eat, and perhaps even that you are eating in the first place. Be mindful of how your body feels and what it really needs at any given moment in time. Does your body need food, water, sleep, a friend, quiet time, or exercise? Learn to listen and respond.
- Keep your eye on your prize: a healthier, happier YOU!
- Reach for a good dose of support: friends, like-minded group, family
- Let go of perfection, it's highly overrated: forgive, learn, move on
- Perseverance is Power! Take one step forward at a time.