I’m often asked, ‘What really is wellness? Why’s it a journey? Why do I need a compass, a guidebook for a lifetime? Why do I need tools? These questions are the heart of why I wrote, The Wellness Compass Travel Guide, However, before I respond, I need to outline some universal truths that frame my wellness coaching philosophy.
Wellness is not a “medical fix” but a way of living – a lifestyle sensitive and responsive to all the dimensions of body, mind, and spirit, an approach to life we each design to achieve our highest potential for well-being now and forever.
Life is a combination of nature and nurture. Nature provides us each a unique genetic footprint, but factors in our environment shape who we become. None of us is perfect: We each have limited time and energy. Unless disabled or super rich, there is no free ride; we are expected to contribute.
My point? We each need an evolving yet individualized set of wellness strategies: a “once-size-fits-all” approach never applies to wellness.
If we don’t control our choices, they will control our well-being. We each have freedom of choice. As children, our parents make choices to enhance our wellness. Once we reach maturity, we are 100% responsible for our own choices, words, actions, and well-being.
Each day we are bombarded with choices. Some are routine or habits; others require our time or money. Some, like how we treat others or how we automatically react in a specific situation are priceless, and may require practice. If we don’t care about an outcome we typically make the most convenient choice, the one that takes the least effort, and that protects our short-term interests. For short periods of time, particularly when we are young, strong and independent, we can “use up” one aspects of our apparently endless resources, like time or energy, to focus on building up another aspect of our well-being. However, when we don’t care about something, we neglect it, and it either deteriorates (like our teeth deteriorate without constant cleaning) or we abuse it to the point of irreplaceable damage (i.e. our reputation, our mental health, our liver).
My point? Our well-being is a series of choices, that is intertwined with our life journey: investments made early on will reap benefits in the future, and vice-versa if we don’t invest.
Finally, although it may not be a universal truth, I believe that deep in our hearts and soul each of us truly desires to be our best self, at our highest level of well-being for as long as we can. We really do want to know that our life isn’t a waste, that we made the world a bit better because we were in it.
My point? Our instinct to “be the best we can be” requires us to have optimal well-being, especially if we strive for success across an entire lifetime.
See Part II next week for my answers to the original questions