Thursday, February 28, 2013

But, It's Good For You

How many times have you heard . . . Stand up straight, it’s good for you. Eat your vegetables, it’s good for you. You need more sleep, it’s good for you. Turn off the TV and go outside and play, it’s good for you. Put the cookie back and go get an apple out of the fridge, it’s good for you.  Guess what? It’s all true.

Yet, in your very heart of hearts, do you know why it matters? Do you know your possibilities and your limitations? Do you know that what you believe, to a great degree predicts and determines the life you will experience?  This too, is true—you can’t fully live a life that’s disconnected from your belief system. What you believe and the strength of those beliefs can weigh you down and anchor you to a life of disappointment if you don’t act on them—or lift you up, opening the possibilities of a life full of what you want it to be.

In your life, there are things you believe in and want to do. It matters that you work toward and embrace them.

Believe it—you can become that person you want to be. Believe in your resiliency, and no matter how far away you think you might be today from where you want to be, know that you can develop those attributes, attitudes and skills necessary to reach your goals. And, if your health and well-being isn’t one of those goals, I’m thinking you will find it hard to reach other goals.

Yet belief is just the first step. If you don’t believe you can rise to the occasion, that you just don’t have it in you, then you will never take the needed next steps toward your dreams, because you won’t believe it’s possible to reach them.

Only fear and doubt stand in your way. When you believe in your potential, you will feel confident in taking those necessary steps to eliminate the obstacles that stand in your way. Your choices in life will determine how you experience your life—the actions you take toward your goals will be influenced by your thoughts and attitudes. And those attitudes will be formed by what you come to believe is good for you.

So, think about what’s really good for you—and for your family, your friends, and community. We’re all connected, after all. Make the most of those positive connections—they’re good for you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Underground Wellness

Hmmm . . .  underground? Wellness? What can it possibly mean? Here’s what.

We all hear a lot about wellness, unless we’re living under a rock (as in underground). The word wellness is so over-used, it’s hard to decide exactly what it encompasses, and what it doesn’t. It’s hard to decide where it belongs, and doesn’t. At work? In the community? At school? In your own home? Who’s in charge here?  You are. At least, you should be.

No doubt you’ve probably heard about the importance of  creating a Culture of Wellness. “Culture” is key to this idea of underground wellness because culture is defined as the collection of shared belief systems and habits of a particular group.

Think of culture as an underground river, running through our lives and relationships, sending us the very messages that shape our perceptions, judgments, and our own ideas of self and others.

We all belong to and are part of a culture and it is as natural as the blood running through our bodies. It’s what makes each of us who we are. It influences us in just about every way imaginable, and actually can define how we view right and wrong, good or bad, fun or boring—in essence, who we are . Culture contributes to the way we dress, the food we eat, and the people we work with and spend time with. It divides and joins us. It can be the bond between us, or the wedge that drives us apart.

To drive the point home, culture is that binding force that brings us and ties us together, providing a sense of purpose and belonging.

Now, an underground culture is a sort of counter-culture, a subculture whose values and norms of behavior deviate from those of mainstream society. Believe it or not, wellness has become an underground culture. Current estimates point out that only 1 in 7 U.S. workers is of normal weight without a chronic illness, and that 67 percent of our society is overweight or obese. About 20 percent of us still smoke. Up to 85 percent of us feel an increasing degree of stress. And, it’s estimated that by 2020, 50 percent of the population will have type 2 diabetes.

So where is this Culture of Wellness we keep hearing about? I’d have to say, it’s gone underground . . . but if we each take the initiative, we can bring wellness back to the mainstream. We really can create that Culture of Wellness—if we decide wellness will begin to shape our lives, be a part of who we decide to be and who we are. What do you think?