Wellness, from a holistic point of view, means wholeness. We achieve wholeness when all the parts of our lives come into balance. But how do we do this?
First, we make a choice. Making the choice may or may not be easy. We may genuinely enjoy smoking. We may really like going out for Sunday dinner at the local steak house. We may really believe that one more cup of coffee won't hurt us. But what is the end result that we want to achieve?
Do we want to breathe easy in our old age or be hooked up to an oxygen tank? Do we want to maintain healthy arteries through our diet or to undergo surgical procedures to clean them out? How many medications do we want to take -- and who's going to pay for them? Do we really like the feeling of jitteriness that coffee brings? And oh, the heartburn!
Once we make the choice, it is all a matter of sticking with it. Making a commitment to ourselves and our well-being goes a long way to achieving wellness. After all, nobody else can do it for us. The family doctor can prescribe drugs and suggest lifestyle changes, but he cannot do the exercise for us. Neither is he going to give up his steak and ice cream for us. He will, however, be more than happy to take care of us when we end up in the hospital. Is that the outcome we want to achieve?
Frankly, it's hard. It's hard to give up the things we love and which give us a sense of comfort when we are under stress or bored. It's hard to give up those little pleasures which make life worth living. After all, isn't that what life is all about?
And who really wants to go out and jog five miles a day? Who has the time? And does it really matter whether we live to be 76 or 78?
Wellness means wholeness. Wholeness means integration and quality of life. It is not so much the number of years that we are trying to reach but the quality of life that we are trying to achieve. A person may live to be 100, but if they are dragging around an oxygen tank, live in a nursing home, and have no family or friends, is that wellness? Is that wholeness? Is that the quality of life that we are striving to achieve?
Think about it. Examine your life now and your possible life in the future. What do you see? Do you like what you see? If not, then make a commitment to yourself to achieve a greater level of wellness in your life.
Dawn Pisturino, RN
November 2, 2006
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, February 27, 2007