Some thoughts on wellness.

Being healthy does not necessarily mean you are well and having a disease or injury does not necessarily mean you are NOT well. 

It is common today to associate wellness with healthiness. Often when we think of someone who is well, we have impressions of someone who is healthy, able-bodied, disease-free, or youthful and to the extent that those are qualities of physical wellness, this is accurate. However many other qualities and factors can make-up a state of wellness or well-being that are outside of the narrow confines of being healthy or young. 

Wellness is unique to each person and every stage of life.

Wellness can take many forms as wellness or well-being of the body, mind, spirit or whole lifestyle and may ebb and flow as you ride the tides of daily and yearly life. Essential aspects of wellness include feeling good and fulfilled and being functional and fit within the context of your body's current state of ability. if you have wellness and are well cared for, even with the ups and downs of daily life and possible limitations of your abilities or physical health, you are better able to do things that bring meaning to life including pursuing careers and dreams, serving and supporting family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the environment, and making impacts with your actions locally or globally.

When defining wellness this way, having good "health" or optimal ability and fitness is independent of having high "wellness". A common example in today's society, is claims by many people that they are "healthy" because they do not have a disability, diagnosed disease, or injury. However they are often stressed or anxious, have low or irregular physical fitness, have a general malaise or fatigue, do not enjoy or feel affirmed by their work, and feel disconnected from nature, friends, society, or life purpose in general.

When listed this way, it is clear that having wellness and being "healthy" are different and independent. Certainly being physically healthy is an aspect of wellness but it is not a requirement, per se. Whether you are already living with a wellness-focus or if it is something you'd like to have more of, we believe that there are always opportunities to discover and explore new ways to bring more wellness and self care into our lives.

A wellness-focused life is so full of "the good" that it crowds out "the bad". 

Increasing your wellness is about bringing more wellness-promoting and life-affirming things into your daily experience, not about being perfect, always getting it right, making sacrifices, or having to eliminate things. 

Common ways to elevate wellness & well-being include more mindfulness and stress reduction, enhanced nutrient intake and personalized nutrition, more simplicity, more nature & natural chemicals and materials, and more self awareness and personal development towards a life where you do more of what you love and less of what doesn't work for you.

Elevating wellness can be a collaboration between yourself and health professionals or practitioners.

Most of us have a sense that being healthy & being well are not necessarily the same thing. However in our modern culture, the concepts of health and wellness are often confused and deemed the domain of medical professionals. This has lead to a prevailing culture where individuals are often expected to cede control of decisions regarding their bodies to doctors and are dissuaded or disempowered from seeking ways to increase or guide their own wellness.

A new approach is to think of your health and medical professionals or practitioners as partners with whom you will work to find solutions. This approach is all about re-framing the relationships between patients/clients and health and medical professionals or practitioners towards the collaborative rather than authoritative.

Whether or not your practitioner is on board with this idea, as thethe patient/client, you can be in the driver seat. Getting the most out of the partnership with your practitioners, relies on your active involvement, self-education, self-empowerment, and advance consideration about why exactly you are seeking health or wellness care. Thinking about your health concerns from the point of view of "cause" rather than "effect" can help guide your interactions with your practitioner towards solving the underlying problems rather than simply treating the various symptoms.

An example of this could be a middle-aged woman who has a known or suspected metabolic disorder such as pre-diabetes or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) that is either untreated or not being managed regularly. She visits her doctor seeking relief from depression, elevated blood pressure, and back pain. Typically in today's healthcare system, to relieve her complaints, this woman would be prescribed 3 or more different pharmaceuticals and possibly physical therapy and sent away with little or no follow-up or recommendations.

In contrast a more self-empowered and collaborative approach might be a situation where the woman visits her doctor seeking assessment and alleviation of her metabolic syndrome which she has learned through self-lead research can cause depression, high blood pressure, and joint pain, the very things that she is currently suffering from. She also decides to try acupuncture which she has learned from friends can offer relief from her current health concerns. She also decides to reduce her daily carbohydrate intake as she has read that PCOS is associated with dysregulation in the metabolism of carbohydrates which can cause worsening of PCOS symptoms.

By thinking of her doctors and practitioners as her collaborators, she was able to get treatment for her problems by helping focus her doctors on solving the underlying metabolic syndrome rather than only treating the problems she was originally seeking medical care for and by empowering herself to do research on her conditions, make dietary changes, and go outside of her comfort zone to seek alternative and complimentary medical care.

--SMRB 2017--