Wellness Defined, Part 2

Welcome back! Here in part two of the “Let’s Define Wellness” series, I’ll be taking a look at the second part of the dictionary definition of wellness to garner a starting point for your journey.

part 2 of dictionary.com definition:

Wellness: 2) an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.

This one presents some sticky points in our discussion. For example, preventing illness. This sounds like an admirable goal and there are indeed many illnesses that have proven to be preventable with intervention. What if you’re one of the millions who is already living with one of these illnesses? Is it too late for you to find wellness?

Absolutely not.

While it may be too late to prevent a disease*, it is never too late to learn how to live well with your illness*. The trick is in realizing that your definition of wellness has changed with time and diagnosis. Even if you aren’t living with a specific illness, you may simply be feeling the effects of the passing years – feeling down about the fact that your runs have been getting shorter, that you’re feeling out of breath playing with your kids/grandkids, or that you’ve started noticing it takes more trips to get the groceries in from the car.

The common denominator here is time and shifting definitions. In all of the above cases, there are things you can be doing, right now, to improve your situation and your well-being – things that may very well keep you from developing a disease.

Any of us can benefit from many of the same behavior changes and from developing some of the same habits. The trick is to be willing to try new things, to experiment, and to NOT be disappointed when something doesn’t work out. When a new behavior doesn’t accomplish what you want it to, that’s a cue to try something else. Maybe the second, third, or even fourth thing you try will prove to be the right one for you.

Sounds kind of like what I said about paths in the last post, huh?

These changes range from the simple and easy to institute, to major life alterations. These changes involve diet, activity level, job situation, family dynamics, or sleep patterns. One thing all of these potential changes have in common is that you, the changer, need to have the willpower and tenacity to stick with a change long enough to know whether it’s going to help, hurt, or be neutral.

This takes accountability. It takes a deep understanding of how to tap into your store of willpower. It takes time.

* In Part 3 I’ll look at a more concrete definition of the terms Disease and Illness, and we’ll see how they’re often conflated yet actually refer to divergent aspects of related situations. I’ll also look at a different way of looking at them in your life, one that I hope will bring some perspective to your search for wellness.

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