A Resolution for Wellness

“When the body is weak, it takes over command. When strong, it obeys.” Jean Jacques-Rousseau

We are told of two certainties in life: death and taxes. I’m beginning to think it is the first over which we have greater control. We can not avoid our own demise, but we can certainly choose how to best spend the time before it arrives.

My resolution for 2011 is therefore beyond a new diet, exercise plan or even prosperity. This year I choose wellness and all that it encompasses. For me, wellness is about a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy spirit.

Healthy Mind
Reducing stress is a great way to calm the mind. Though you probably can’t get rid of all your stress, you can certainly choose whether and how to manage it. This is true both at home and in the workplace.

Maintaining a healthy mind means fighting back negative thoughts and choosing to see the proverbial glass as half-full. You can choose to see the good in others and provide genuine praise for what your co-workers are doing. Celebrate their achievements and promotions. You lose nothing by cheering on others, and do the same for yourself.

And if you stop viewing yourself as a victim you will no longer be one. Take responsibility for your situation and make changes to move on.

The easiest way to calm your mind and keep it healthy is to simply breathe deeply when you feel yourself getting upset. Drink a full glass of water. Take a quick walk around the office or the parking lot.

A healthy mind requires that we continually nourish it so it remains on our side. This nourishment is not expensive or time-consuming. It only takes discipline and focus.

Healthy Body
For most of us, a worthwhile goal for our physical health is losing a few pounds and working out regularly at the gym. I’ve always found that there is direct relationship between higher stress when I am eating poorly or not getting enough exercise, so for me a healthy mind and body are intricately connected.

But why not choose to lose these pounds by eating more of the right foods and eliminating more of the bad ones? And don’t suffer by starving yourself. Instead choose to eat right 80% of the time and then cut yourself some slack 20% of the time. You may not see results as quickly, but you’re more likely to stick with this approach by making it a lifestyle you can live with.

If you don’t enjoy working out, why not find a physical activity you really like and put more of yourself into it? You can keep your body limber and healthy many different ways, including by swimming, bicycle riding, kayaking, skiing, yoga, dancing, martial arts, or simply by taking brisk walks around the neighborhood. Again, the results may not show up as quickly, but you are more likely to make this a lifestyle change you can sustain.

Healthy Spirit
Though I am not a religious person, I believe there is more to this life than our own individual existence. This outer focus helps keep me humble, feel more connected to others, and enables me to appreciate the wonder in each moment.

Meditation has certainly been helpful in keeping me mindful and this is something I need to incorporate into my life again. With meditation I am able to still my mind and open myself to the spirit. For me, this results in greater awareness and inner peace.

I am certain other people are able to find similar benefits from prayer or attending religious ceremonies.

Like yoga, the benefits of meditation are in the practice so the more you look for some immediate reward from having done it, the more disappointed you may be. Again, try to focus on this as a lifestyle change that you can live with rather than a quick fix.

Wellness requires my constant focus and discipline so that it remains a way of life. It can’t be found simply in a new diet regimen or membership at my local health club. And if you are looking for a quick fix to your own wellness, you will be disappointed with this approach.

My resolution for 2011 is a wellness program in body, mind and spirit that can be sustained not only for the first few months of the new year, but for the rest of my life. I hope you too succeed in your own resolutions. Happy New Year!

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About Mark Craemer
Craemer Consulting specializes in workplace communication, organization development and leadership coaching.

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