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Saturday, 14 May 2011 14:03

Looking at Your Health in 12 D

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Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life, but you could not put a finger on it? Have you noticed that when one area of your life is out of balance, things in other areas feel unmanageable as well? Have you literally experienced the expression when it rains, it pours? These are all examples of how everything in our life is integrated and when one aspect falls out of balance we experience unmanageability in many other aspects simultaneously. This is the exact principle behind the 12 dimensions of wellness.

A Deeper Look at Well-Being
Wellness is defined as not just the absence of disease, but as a complete state of mental, physical, spiritual, and social well-being that allows for better quality of life. What we see in our state of health from day to day is only the tip of the iceberg. The underlying causes of preventable diseases rest deep below the surface (in basic things such as diet, lifestyle, and mental health) and when these things are not addressed, major illness will occur.
A key concept in wellness states that our well-being is reflected in the energy we take in versus the energy we put out. For example, self-responsibility and self-love are the foundation of this energy system. Breathing, sensing, and eating are the primary ways we bring energy into our system. Moving, thinking, feeling, communicating, intimacy, working/playing, and finding meaning in life are the primary ways that we expend energy in our lives. If the output of energy is greater than the input of this energy in these 12 main areas, major imbalance and disease will occur, which will in turn affect all areas of a person’s life.
When looked at as a whole we call these integrated dimensions a wellness wheel. Each of these dimensions play a major role in the other one. Imbalance affects our personal relationships with significant others and family, our interaction with colleagues and bosses, our emotional state, and even our spiritual wellness.

Self Responsibility and Wellness

When you read this statement what do you feel? Is there a feeling of uneasiness, a feeling of assurance, or even a feeling of defensiveness that passes through you? There are so many people looking for answers to their health problems out there these days. People search the Internet, go to physicians, holistic healers, spiritual healers in search of a magical cure that will take their problems away, forgetting to look at their own lives for clues and answers on how to improve health conditions and overall health.

A study in 2006 was published in the Preventing Chronic Disease journal that showed that 70 to 90 percent of deaths caused by cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and obesity could have been prevented by simple lifestyle change. In fact, it is well known in the medical community that some diseases early on can be managed by diet alone (that is without medication). This is where knowing our balance in loving ourselves enough to take responsibility for our well-being comes in. Self-responsibility is more than just being assertive. It is recognizing that you have choices and being aware of the consequences of your choices. It is constant evaluation and re-evaluation of your feelings, senses, breathing, and surrounding environment. It may be finding wellness in the midst of a chaotic situation. Many people have used the chaotic nature of their surroundings to justify not taking care of themselves. This is not only the act of avoiding responsibility but also this reflects a lack of self-love.
A good balance of self-responsibility and self-love sits at the core of all wellness, and affects all other dimensions greatly. If there is too much of one or the other, often issues develop. These issues range from physical illness related to a poor lifestyle develops to depression and/or anxiety which lead to problems in the home and workplace. Issues of intimacy and communication may also be affected. Furthermore, without the balance of self-love with responsibility we are not able to properly balance other areas of our life like work and fun.

Bringing Play into Every Aspect of Our Lives
I was in the office one day with a client who told me that the reason she did not workout was because she had no time. That is one of the most common excuses for not working out but it got me to thinking… what about time for play? So I asked her, do you even have free time to do the things you love? She said to me that she does not even think about anything other than work.
When we become adults does that mean losing our youthful spirit? Does being responsible mean sacrificing our fun moments? The answer is no! True wellness is finding the balance between work and play and continuing to embrace our inner child.

So how do we balance work and play?

Take Time to Do Something Spontaneous!
As we get caught up in the hum drum routines of the day, we can find ourselves just going through the motions. We lose ourselves in these activities and miss many beautiful things by not remaining present in each moment. Bringing spontaneity into our lives helps us remember to stay in and enjoy each moment. Try taking a break from your routine; take yourself, or your spouse and/or family, to a movie on a weeknight. Have lunch in a nearby park if you are able then take a brief stroll afterwards; if you do not have a park, just go outside and eat in the fresh air.

Make an Effort to Bring Some Fun Into Your Workday!
For many people work is not a place where you can have fun. However, even if you work in a cubicle by yourself there is a way to integrate enjoyment into your workplace. Plan lunch with a co-worker or better yet, an outside friend. Make an effort to connect with your co-workers during the day – tell a joke or a funny story. If you are able, play your favorite CD either as you work or on your lunch break.

Make a List of 30 Things That You Enjoy Doing!
It was so surprising to me to hear other adults say that they did not know what they liked to do. Think back to when you were a child or a teenager, even a college student. What were the things that you enjoyed? Start your list and begin bringing these things back into your life. Make PLAY a PRIORITY!

Start a “Bucket List.”
Yes! Just like the movie, make a list of 100 things that you would like to see, do, or become before you die… but do not wait until you are dying! Start now! Make a point to check off a few bucket list items each year if not more. Be cautious of your procrastinating dialogue.. “I’ll get to that when….” There is no time like the present. Because while “you may delay, time will not and lost time is never found again.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Lighten Up and Laugh Often!
Many of us take ourselves so seriously as adults. This can feed into our negative attitudes about work, home, and family life. Some things we can do to change those attitudes are create positive affirmations, watch or listen to funny commentary often, subscribing or reading a spiritual "vitamin" each morning. Learning to laugh at ourselves when we make mistakes can be one of the most healing experiences because when we laugh at ourselves we give ourselves permission to be human and imperfect. It takes the pressure off. Exercise: Find something that makes you laugh and engage in that activity every day for the next two weeks. Notice how much lighter that makes your day.

Creating Freedom and Flow Experiences in Your Life
Have you experienced the “coincidence” of thinking of someone that you have not talked to in a long time followed by the phone ringing and them being on the other end when you answer? Furthermore, they say something that you really needed to hear in the moment. Have you ever asked your Higher Being to give you a sign to help you make a decision, and then you hear a song, or a random person in line says something that makes complete sense to you for that situation? These are flow experiences, experiences in which you are very connected with your higher self and your Higher Being. They happen all the time; it is just about becoming more aware of these experiences and developing that personal relationship with the Higher Being of your understanding. Some call it intuition; some call it a connection with the Universe; some call it a gut feeling; whatever you call it, developing that connection with your higher self can lead to more of these synchronistic events, bringing you closer to your authentic self and happiness in your life.
Our beliefs and assumptions color our experiences, and therefore can affect our unconscious experiences. What this means is that what we believe we create. When we constantly place negative thoughts, images, and beliefs about ourselves, or others, we are asking the universe to reflect that back into our lives. Such is the same when our beliefs and thoughts reflect positively. Faith and trust are an important part of this process. Faith is believing without having to have proof. Faith is trusting in a power greater than you… trusting in the process of life. We create synchronistic experiences by trusting our higher selves and our Higher Power. Having this connection affects the rest of our well being whether we know it or not.
If you have a foundation of self-love and self-responsibility, the three energy inputs (breathing, eating, sensing), and seven other energy outputs (moving, communicating, feeling, thinking, playing/working, intimacy, and finding meaning), how does this dimension of transcending through connection with a Higher Being integrate to the others? Well, when you feel connected to a higher source, your self-love is stronger and therefore you are more self-responsible in many aspects of your life. Your thinking is more positive, and you feel and express the full range of emotions in a healthy manner. This affects your ability (and willingness) to communicate in a positive and healthy manner, which promotes intimacy in many of your personal relationships. Also, when you are more responsible, you are more likely to take care of your physical self by eating and exercising. This cycles back to increase your self-love. You may also breathe easier, see colors brighter, appreciate birds chirping, and the beauty around you more. Finally, when all of these things are balanced and you are maintaining that connection with your higher self and trusting your Higher Power, it is much easier to find meaning in your life and live in your authentic self.
So how do we develop our awareness to synchronicity? How do we develop our connection with our Higher Being? We start by developing an open line of communication. There are many ways to do this.
Develop a spiritual practice: It can be anything from meditation, to church, to yoga, to journaling, and prayer. Whatever it is that connects you to do it daily. Start with 15 minutes and go from there.
Have an attitude of gratitude: One way to really get connected with your higher self is to remember the things that you are grateful for. Here is an exercise: Make a list from A – Z. List all of the things that you are grateful
for beginning with each letter in the alphabet. Notice at the end how this makes you feel. Try beginning or ending the day naming five things you are grateful for in that day. Notice how this changes your day.
Allow quiet time for reflection: When we allow time for quiet reflection we allow the messages of our higher self or our Higher Power to be heard. Messages are constantly being given, but are we constantly listening? Finding a time for quiet reflection daily will develop our listening skills and eventually we will be able to hear the messages in every moment.
Focus on the present moment as much as possible: In our busy, fast paced society we are often focused on many things; what we did this morning, what we are doing tomorrow, what we should have done yesterday. This takes us out of the present moment where the true connection is. When we focus on the present moment and appreciate what we are doing right now, our stress levels decrease and we can even find some serenity in not having to worry about what comes next.
Stay in reality and practice acceptance: As mentioned earlier, focusing on what could be or what should be takes us out of reality and out of the present moment. By focusing on what is and accepting what is (without being apathetic) we surrender to the process or our Higher Power and allow synchronicity to happen in our favor. There is a difference however in accepting the present reality and being apathetic. We can accept what is and still do the next right thing without trying to force a solution. When we try to force solutions we often make things worse. Remember this quote, “acceptance is the key to my serenity today.”

For more information or to set up a coaching session with Dr. Clairborne, visit www.backtobasicshealing.com

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