HIGH PERFORMANCE WELLNESS: Part III – How Do I Currently CHOOSE to Advance My Thrival and Wellbeing?
well·ness, \ˈwel-nəs\: a dynamic objective and subjective progression toward a state of complete physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, economic and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Incremental improvements can occur from pre-conception up to and including a person’s last breath
– MH Samuelson
Wellness is located at the intersection of Contentment and Aspiration. To live there, you must first choose to move out of the Village of Someday.
– MH Samuelson
What follows is Part III of a seven-part essay on work/life balance. While the basic information applies to everyone who accepts pay in exchange for effort, the focus of this essay is on the skills needed to emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially and financially thrive in a fast-paced, early stage, entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial venture.
thriv.al, \ˈthrīv\-əl\: a steady state of achieving higher levels of physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual awareness by living a life of integrity, curiosity, authenticity, compassion, and dedication to the collective needs of all beings.”
In the following exercise please list those activities that appeal to you in each of the “Six Dimensions of Wellness and Thrival.”
– MH Samuelson
Definition of Terms & Sectors:
Physical (nutrition, sleep & exercise) – health professionals can objectively introduce the newest USDA food guidelines, introduce you to the five food groups and explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy oils, but they can’t govern your personal preference for the preparation, presentation, taste and texture. They can tell you to eat dark green vegetables, but you have to decide if you like broccoli, romaine lettuce or raw baby spinach. They can also objectively point out the importance of following exercise guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, but you and your doctor have to decide if it will be moderate for 30 minutes a day, five days a week OR vigorous for 20 minutes a day, three days a week. And, while an educator can show you a whole host of strength-training exercises, you will have to decide which 10 exercises you enjoy enough to do eight – twelve repetitions, twice a week.
Intellectual Stimulation – A health educator can objectively discuss the latest findings regarding brain plasticity and show you the brain “use it or lose it” research, but you have to choose activities that not only stimulate your brain, you also enjoy! Chess may light up neurons, but it may also drive you crazy! Is it Mozart? How about the classics or a decent comic book? Learning a language works at any time but so does learning a new musical instrument. So, what language? What instrument? How about crossword puzzles or Sudoku? Professionals can tell you to stay engaged and to continue learning new things, but only you can make the personal choices that will keep it fun and encourage you to be a student until your dying day.
Emotional Health, Happiness & Positive Psychology – A health educator can objectively guide you to research touting the importance of nurturing your emotional health and the importance of striving to be happy (make that happier). Tal Ben-Shahar from Harvard, Martin Seligman, author of “Authentic Happiness” and the Dalai Lama are among the many that will show you the evidence and present logical arguments that support positive psychology. The experts and the literature can explain the “whys” and the “hows,” but YOU have to look for, identify and protect what aids your emotional health and makes you happy (a happier you makes for happier people around you…). Is it time with your pet? How about time with kids and family? Maybe — for you — emotional health is buoyed whenever you complete your daily “To Do” list or spend time outside playing in the sun. You know what makes you happy so plan time each day to do it!
Spiritual Engagement and Mind/Body Development – A health educator can tell you that spiritual growth puts life in context, it gives meaning to your every thought and action. Regardless of where you find it — bricks and mortar, open fields, tops of mountains, desert canyons, ocean waves, or cuddled inside a child’s laugh, spiritual essence is all around us. As the poem states, “[Spirituality is] forever present without the need of definition, transparent to some, blindingly radiant to others, existing without beckon; eternally ours….”
Christ, Moses, Buda, Mohammad, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet also remind us of the importance of finding and following the path to happiness and freedom for ourselves and all beings. But, where is your path? How do you know when you are traveling the right road? Where does it lead, today? Tomorrow? Tough questions. Once again, only you will know (know already) what actions, activities, people, places, thoughts, and dreams bring peace to your spirit and strength to your body.
Social Interaction – A health educator can tell you that John Donne nailed it when he wrote: “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And, therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Though written in the early 17th century, the sentiment and fact remain true. We need each other for our safety, economic growth, advancement of science and art and for our emotional and physical well-being…our wellness.
Health educators can show you empirical information all day long that points to the importance of staying connected with others, but they can’t tell you what type of human contact is best for you! Join a square dancing club? How about a bowling league, church choir or a softball team? Maybe you’re quiet and shy and would prefer to remain anonymous. If that is the case, how about using email, a chat forum for your favorite hobby or a social network like “Facebook.”
Economics and Personal Finances – A health educator can tell you that a failing economy and poor personal financial management are a tremendous source of illness-causing stress, but you have to know your personal danger signals and take appropriate prevention measures. A financial advisor can tell you about the hazards of a balloon mortgage and the dangers of escalating interest rates on credit cards, but you have to accept responsibility for risky investments, reckless spending and payment defaults.
The six dimensions of thrival and wellbeing:
Here are possible elements and activities …
Keep in mind the fact that one element may fit into several sectors. For example — for many individuals — exercise scores in many sectors. A sunrise/sunset bike ride may trigger spiritual satisfaction; walking with your family may earn social, emotional, AND physical marks. Swimming laps and light jogging is known to stimulate the release of nitric oxide triggering “eureka” moments that lead to problem solving (intellectual). Playing Frisbee in the park with your dog may fit into physical, emotional, spiritual and social. You get the point … it’s up to you!