By Jerry Goodwin -
We often feel that if we are not ill then we have wellness. I personally believe that there is more to wellness than just not being sick. First believe me that I really do not know everything, we’ll leave that for the teenagers. The following article is more about the way I view life and the way I view Wellness. It is virtually all my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree with all or part, but if it makes you think about your own wellness and helps you evaluate your own elements of wellness then it is well worth it.
When I speak of wellness I speak of more than just having a healthy body. True wellness to me includes balance in the following six elements.
First is Fitness. That is physical fitness or we could say physical wellness. How well are you physically? The terms wellness and fitness are sometimes used interchangeably. I would definitely disagree with that. You can have a person that is very fit but quite unhealthy. I read not long ago where a pro basketball player who was extremely physically fit died on the court because he had a heart condition. I would say that a person with a heart condition does not fit being well. He had fitness but not wellness.
You cannot however have wellness without at least some amount of fitness. That does not mean that you have to be able to run a marathon, play pro basketball or even ride a bicycle 100 miles in a day as I often do. That simply means you have to be fit enough to get your through a normal workday. There are many that have trouble doing that, people with what is known as fibromyalgia or those with chronic fatigue syndrome often have a great deal of problem just making it through the day.
But as I said before true total wellness revolves for me at least around 6 parameters or elements. The first we have just examined is the physical wellness or fitness. Here is how I define physical wellness. It is the ability to apply knowledge, motivation and commitment toward achieving a goal of being physically healthy and fit. This may require removing destructive behavior such as smoking, overeating, drinking, doing drugs or any number of other incorrect behaviors while replacing them with behavior that is beneficial to your life and living. Physical wellness would be enhanced by improving your diet and your exercise program as well.
Social Wellness is the second element in my 6 elements theory. Social wellness I define as the ability to interact with others, establish and maintain relationships and have friendships that last and improve the quality of your live. My wife and I have been married for 36 years and will celebrate our 37th on September 18, 2007. If you look at some of the things we have done with our lives you may or not be impressed, but we did many of them simply because we wanted to let people know where we stand and what we stand for. People that are socially well have friends they may not even know about. In 2000 and again in 2005 I did bicycle rides for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In late 2006 I was injured in a bicycle crash when I had to stop suddenly for a small child that ran into the road. The CFF people in Atlanta heard about it and sent me a get well card signed by the office staff and the coordinators. I do not know half of the names on the card, but they know me and Ruth. Socially well people are also active in the community, possibly church groups, book clubs or even the Chamber of Commerce.
The third element in my theory is Spiritual Wellness. My grandfather was a Cherokee Indian. He was not my grandfather by blood but the only grandpa I ever knew. He was extremely “spiritual” and often told stories. I recently met a man named “Eagle Feather” that reminds me a great deal of my Grandpa “Gus.” Of course Gus died many years ago not long after I returned from the Navy. Spiritual wellness means to me to establish your beliefs, values and actions, as well as lifetime goals, clear the mind and listen to your own thoughts. Riding the bicycle helps me a great deal with that. It is said that Einstein himself came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bike. I am not Einstein but I do come up with some pretty good ideas when riding. It clears the mind and allows a free flow of information, sometimes.
The fourth element is Emotional wellness. Some people are on emotional roller coaster. To some degree we must deal with whatever life deals out. We cannot always control what life throws at us but we can always control how we react to it. We should learn how to deal with stress in a positive manner.
The fifth is intellectual wellness. We need to be able to adapt to various situations. We should always be expanding our knowledge. My father always told me that the day he stopped learning would be the day he died. I have to believe he was right, he passed away in 1978, he was born in 1900, and he worked oil fields in Texas, railroads in the Midwest and operated a very successful radio record player repair shop in Ohio. He was probably one of the most intelligent men I knew and he got all the way to the 8th grade in school. He was big on education for me and my brother, and was very upset when my sister quit school. Intellectual wellness doesn’t mean you need to be a genius, it just means that you open your mind are not afraid of learning new things and never be afraid of making a mistake. Embrace new ideas but question them too; it is also ok to question established ideas. Remember once all the most brilliant scientists thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. I remember reading that Alexander Graham Bell was jailed for trying to raise money for a new hair brained worthless invention called the “telephone” and Edison was thrown out of school because he was “too dumb to learn” or something like that.
The 6th and to some the most important is financial wellness. This is also the most elusive for many of us. When we think we have our finances under control an emergency comes up that causes us to borrow money and get us in debt. One person told me that 85% of the population of the US was one illness away from going bankrupt. I would say based on my knowledge and my own financial condition that this is probably a low estimate. With the amount of credit card debt that most Americans carry and the cost of hospitals and insurance it would seem that financial security is a very elusive element. It is one we should all strive for none the less. We should all start some sort of savings and retirement plan. It might be something through our jobs if we have one or if we are self employed we should set up whatever type of investment accounts that the government will allow. We should set a goal to pay off all of our bills and live on the money we make, not on credit then work toward that goal.
There you have my six elements of wellness theory. Virtually everything in your life will fit into one or more of the six elements. You can if you wish also add sub elements under each element. Each of these elements has distinct differences but they work together in a synergistic fashion so that he whole is bigger than the combination of it parts. They all complement each other and if you do not have wellness in all factions then you will not have true “wellness”
Disclaimer: Nothing in this report should be construed as medical advice.It is provided for informational purposes only. If you are ill or injured see a primary healthcare provider as soon as possible. If the injury or illness is severe go to the nearest Emergency Room
Jerry Goodwin has been certified as a Medical Technologist since 1977. He is also certified as a Personal Trainer, Cardiovascular Trainer and Medical exer-therapist. He is a Veteran of the US Navy having served during the Viet Nam era. Jerry also served in the Army National Guard in Ohio, Texas, Kansas and Georgia as a field medic with Infantry, Armored Cavalry, Artillery and Mechanized Infantry Units. He has earned several medals including the Army Commendation Medal. Jerry is the editor of Body Mind and Goals Ezine and the owner of BMG Services Fitness and Nutrition at http://www.bmgfitness.com