Wellness is hot, there are wellness programs, newsletters and apps but what is wellness?
In mental health, there are three treatment pathways. The first treatment pathway is medications but only if the severity of the symptoms deems it appropriate. The issue about medications, is do they work for you and you can tolerate the side-effects? The underlying issue is, what is your quality of life on medications verses without the medications? Only you, the individual can make that decision. However, you need to be informed of the benefits, risks, efficacy profiles, the transient side-effects and long term risks.
The second treatment pathway is counseling. These days, counseling is basically skills development in a brief treatment mode. That is, limited sessions of focused psycho, social education. It is often about developing more effective stress management, relationship communication, decision-making, mate selection, emotional modulation skills and etc.
The third treatment pathway is wellness. That is establishing a good wellness routine. Having a good wellness routine is a highly protective or positive factor. It is the epitome of health.
Wellness is simply:
Getting good physical exercise,
Doing your passions,
Having and spending time with a good and supportive group of friends,
Keeping your self curious and learning new things,
Having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life,
Taking care of your spiritual needs…however you see fit.
A person that has a good daily, weekly and monthly wellness routine is better able to weather an unfortunate event. However if something throws off our wellness routine, it can really disrupt our life and we may have a difficult time getting our routine back together. Things can be a positive or negative disruption. A positive disruption that might take a bit of time and adjustment might be a newly married, birth of a child, a new job, a new house, moving and etc. A negative disruption might be a death of a someone close to you, loss of a job, bankruptcy, divorce, rape or domestic violence, a major medical injury or condition, a car wreck or etc.
The thing about wellness is that it is mostly up to you. Nobody or no thing can do it for you. Sure, medications might help give you the energy, focus or calmness so that you can more easily do your passions or routine but they won’t make you feel alive and happy. In addition, the better skills of doing something might be more effective and easier. However, having a good wellness routine it the ticket for feeling alive and happy. Wellness is your responsibility. Your doctor or therapist may say…get more exercise, drink less coffee, take deep breaths, reduce the carbs, go to bed earlier…the list is endless. But you are the one that must figure out what works for you. Your doctor or therapist are health care professionals that know you…but it is up to you whether you follow their treatment recommendations.
Take the above list of 8 wellness items and briefly write down what they might look like in your perfect life. Then think about how you could start to incorporate them around your life, work and family. However, just pick one or two small changes/challenges. Start with small successful steps and feel your motivation soar. Grab your “week-at-a-glance” organizer and add just 1-2 items/challenges to start doing this week. Perhaps it’s taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Or perhaps calling a friend to go out for lunch and then have a salad. Start small…small successes lead to bigger successes…shoot for 70-80%…it does not need to be all or nothing. As one routine becomes well established, then add another wellness item.
“Acting will change your thinking easier (and faster) than thinking will change your acting.”…or “fake it till you make it.” Just do it…do something! For example repeat 3 times the affirmation or statement “I am taking the stairs” or “I am eating a salad with my friend” and then do it!
Peace, Love and Light!