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When you seek wellness, you’ll automatically be driven to make decisions that will make you feel not just healthy, but also alive!
Years ago, I visited a medical center for a standard physical examination. I was not ill or concerned about difficulties. Nothing was wrong—I had no concerns. Of course, one never knows, so there’s always some trepidation involved in medical checks. I think a standard workup was required for an insurance policy, and that was the reason for scheduling the examination. At the time, I was in great shape. I was training for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. My heart rate was low, my weight was down and I’m sure my VO max [volume of oxygen one can consume while exercising at his/her maximum capacity] was beyond the normal range.
I have to admit—I was expecting a compliment from the doctor! [vanity, such vanity] I’d have settled for a modest tribute, something like, “You’re in pretty good shape, for an old guy.” It was not to be. When the tests were done and results compiled and assessed, the doctor came over, confirmed my identity, looked at the test results, then at me, and said: “Well, I couldn’t find anything wrong. You seem medically uninteresting.”
I thanked him, paid the bill and departed. I wondered about his conclusion all the way home—“medically uninteresting…hmm”.
Does medically uninteresting mean I’m healthy? Are these the signs of health?
Of course not—there IS more. There truly is a great deal more to health than the absence of illness or the presence of medical non-interest. For today, simply acknowledge that the term ‘health’ is not often used in the best and fullest sense of the word. You can truly do much better than “medically uninteresting”—aim for wellness.
Well over half a century ago, a physician named Halbert L. Dunn began talking and writing about “high level” wellness. Though I used the “high level” phrase for a while, I gave it up after a few years, thinking it a bit redundant. After all, wellness is by nature and definition “high level” compared with just an ordinary lifestyle.
I was attracted to the word “wellness” because it is an alternative to the common word so poorly understood, namely, “health.” People usually think of health as a state of non-sickness or absence of pain or injury. Health, in short, was then, and still is, viewed as the absence of something.
This perspective is not only inaccurate—it’s also hazardous to health! If you think you’re well just because you’re not experiencing sickness, you might be less motivated to take steps to advance beyond that state. There is, in such case, too little incentive or vision for something more. You might settle on taking the minimal steps for maintaining the sub-level normalcy of a low-standard normal health.
The alternative, which wellness invites, is to view health in a variety of positive dimensions. This includes recognizing levels and degrees of wellbeing, stages and positions along a continuum of functioning. In this way, quite specific images of optimal existence come into sight.
Wellness embodies new parameters and expectations of wellbeing. Here are a few of them.
To read the rest of story, BUY the July 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing now. [Available in print only within India.]
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