Wellness as a Philosophy of Life
Wellness is a term that has been utilized by countless health experts, whether in the behavioral or medical sciences, to signify that being healthy is not of a one-dimensional or singular nature. Rather, to be healthy from a wellness perspective is to suggest that there are multiple aspects of the self that need to be nurtured. It is to indicate that the person is more than just her body, mind, or spirit but is mind, body, and spirit. Thus, when taken together and considered integrally, the person cannot be reduced to any one particular part or aspect of self but must be considered and encountered holistically. A holistic approach to the human person is synonymous with wholeness, which in turn is synonymous with wellness. To be well is ultimately to be whole. Wellness-based practices and techniques, such as meditation, prayer, or spiritual reading for the Spirit, aerobic exercise and proper nutrition for the Body, and intellectual study for the Mind, when taken together and practiced as part of a comprehensive training program are fundamentally about cultivating a way of being predicated upon wholeness.
Wellness as Wholeness is ultimately who you are. When you reduce yourself to a particular function you transform yourself into an object. When you reduce others to their functions, you turn them into objects as well. Thus, self and others become inanimate and therefore can be used and discarded with a callousness that can be most destructive at times. A philosophy of wellness, as a way of being, brings a sense of aliveness to your life. When you honor yourself and others as mind, body, and spirit the world begins to look differently. You notice a profundity, or depth, to all forms of life that you didn't necessarily experience before. Your love deepens, your care and compassion widens to include the welfare of all beings, and not only those that are similar to you in terms of socioeconomic class, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation. You begin to see that your happiness is connected to the happiness of others in the sense that you no longer pursue happiness at the expense of others. In essence, the other is no longer a means to an end but an end unto herself. Wellness is the path of lived wisdom where the great ideas of the past and present become part of an overall ethic of love. It is the power of community, social justice, and the art and science of caring for yourself and others in a world of engagement. Being well (wellness as wholeness) is what it means for you to be human. And importantly, your own wellness is not separate from the wellness of others. The path of wellness is a powerful way for you to not only honor the depth of your being but that of others and nature as well and it all begins by simply acknowledging yourself and others as mind, body, and spirit. (And yes, nature too is soulful). If you reflect upon this long enough, you will find that miracles abound in everyday life and that everyday life is itself miraculous. Thus, practice being well and encourage others to do the same and you may find yourself to be happier, healthier, and wiser.