I took Health class all three years in middle school. For some reason it was my favorite class. It might have been that we had the nicest teacher or that I was looking to learn more. I remember a poster that was on the wall next to the door of the class. It said that well-being was comprised of four pieces. The pieces were physical well-being, mental-well-being, emotional well-being, and environmental well-being.
An overall healthy and happy person had to have an overall happy and healthy existence. What I wanted to learn was, how to achieve it. I took health three years and then I took it again in high school. I learned about the major food groups, not smoking, and how to have safe sex. I learned a lot about physical health, but that was only one part of the chart! I couldn’t help and wonder how to fix the other parts! As my journey to happiness has unfolded over the years I have delved into this topic many times. I took psyche courses, sociology courses, nutrition and science courses, and anything that I deemed useful to achieving overall wellness.
As I was doing my daily personal development reading today I came across this sentence, “The physical, emotional, and spiritual components of well-being are not unlike the legs of a tripod. Each contributes to the balance and solidity of the whole.” (At My Best, pg 1) The image of that colorful poster by the door popped up. The book dared to ask me what actions I would take today to enhance my well-being. I looked to the stand next to me where I placed my veggies and my tangerine to snack on and I peeked at the yoga mat on the floor. These are two very important things to do and I know how important they are to engage in every single day. Our bodies need food and exercise and if we skip a day or a week, they let us know just how badly we need it. In fact, we are constantly bombarded by messages regarding physical health. From gym ads, to diet pills, to medicine commercials, we know that our bodies need work and we know when we aren’t doing healthy physical things. We know that if we light up a cigarette, we are hurting our lungs, and that the glorious cheeseburger we had for lunch was probably not the best choice. There is a huge market for health in our society yet the message never quite touches on all the different parts that contribute to health.
When we go a week without reading, it’s fine. If we skip church for a month, it’s fine. If we stop calling our loved ones, it’s fine. We don’t think of these activities as pertaining to our health. Yet, they do. They make up at least two thirds of what makes us happy humans. Why then, do we ignore them so easily?
It’s the 2nd day of the year. By next week, 25% of the people who made New Year’s resolutions, will have quit. (www.statisticbrain.com) If you look at the most popular resolutions, you will see that most of them have to do with physical health, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, or getting fit. The number of programs that help with these types of issues are endless yet most people don’t achieve their goals.
Could it be that we are looking to be healthy and missing the point entirely? Achieving overall well-being needs to include the aspects of health that are so commonly overlooked. Only when we are actually trying to work on all the sections can we begin to feel a difference.
It is much easier to say no to a slice of pizza when your mind is telling you that you are happy without it.
I want to challenge you this year to stop trying to be fit, to stop trying to lose weight but instead to start trying to be healthy. Think of your emotional well-being, what steps can you take to feel loved and to love those around you? Think of your mental state and the words you can cross out of your vocabulary and the phrases you can start telling yourself each day, like “I am amazing!” Step out of your crammed apartment and take a walk and breathe in the fresh air. It might be cold but the change of scenery can do wonders.
Being a health coach, I can give you the answer to losing weight but I know you wont stick to it if your only goal is the number on the scale. Lets come up with some non-scale goals to follow this new year so that you can finally become a healthy new you!