Read on for the Top Ten Wellness Pathways that can assist you to reach optimal physical well-being. In the past few months, I’ve written about each of these in considerable detail. This Provision summarizes the whole collection.
Before we move on next week to the subject of wealth, I want to summarize the ground we’ve covered in the past twelve weeks regarding the subject of health. Although there will be a lot more material regarding these topics in my upcoming book, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Profound Provisions for the Trek of Life,” we’ve now covered most of the territory.
1. Get Hooked on Health. We can all learn how to be healthier than we are by taking a genuine interest in the growing body of knowledge regarding health and wellness. Although it has long been known that various medical conditions were food dependent, it was less than 100 years ago that scientists started to unravel the mystery of exactly how foods contributed to health and wellness. The first vitamin, thiamine, was identified and isolated by Cashmir Funk in 1916. Since that time, scientists have identified a wide variety of essential nutritional factors including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes, probiotics, carotenoids, isoflavones, and fiber.
Even exercise was not understood 100 years ago to be as critical to health and wellness as we understand today. There is nothing more important that we can do for health and wellness than to move our body for at least 30 minutes a day in moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise. Self-care and relaxation techniques for the management of stress were virtually unknown. Today, all this has changed. By getting hooked on health, we can learn to enjoy and practice the things that work.
2. Play Attention. The growing body of knowledge notwithstanding, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for health and wellness. Even the near-universal prescription for exercise needs to be tailor-made for each person’s abilities and physical condition. The only way to get it right is to treat your life as a grand, three-dimensional, multimedia science experiment. Through active trial and correction, we can increase our awareness of the things that work and do not work for us. I like to think of this as playing attention games, since the research and development process never ends. If health and wellness take a life-long commitment, then we may as well enjoy the process!
3. Get Support. Every researcher will tell you the importance of working within a community of interest. Scholars call this the academy. It’s important for both the inspiration and integrity of the process. Knowing that other people share your interest, monitor your progress, and test your results can get you going and keep you honest. But support goes far beyond the people in your environment. It touches on all the systems and structures that go into your life and work. When you get them all lined up, it becomes easier, much easier, to develop and stay on track with the strategies that make for health and wellness.
4. Make a Choice. At this point in the series, I stepped back and asked myself a very simple question: “How many readers had made any changes in the past month to promote their health and wellness?” How many had started to learn more about the growing body of knowledge, to design and conduct a few of their own personal research and development projects, or to modify their environment in order to get more support? One thing was clear about the answer: unless you chose to do any of these things, they probably didn’t happen. Our choices make a difference. They can redeem even the worst of situations and advance even the most impossible of causes. Whether it’s your own personal health and wellness or global peace with justice, the trek always starts with the first, nervous step. So make a choice! Take the plunge! Come on in, the water’s fine!
5. Get Happy. Were you surprised to learn that happier people are healthier people? Perhaps you think it goes the other way around, that healthier people are happier people. But this is not a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Health derives from happiness far more often than happiness derives from health. It behooves us, therefore, to learn how to be happy, to keep our hearts light, and to manage the inevitable stress of life. I, for one, try to minimize my daily dose of news and current events. It helps to avoid television and radio. I also make sure that I do at least one thing I really love to do, every day. Finally, I relax my mind and body through massage, stretching, and breathwork. Taken together, these techniques keep me smiling and well.
6. Break the Stalemate. Many people want to get with the program for health and wellness, but something always interferes. An impulse or an emergency may distract them. A lack of progress or immediate gratification may discourage them. A bad environment or inadequate resources may hinder them. Do any of these sound familiar? Then I urged you to consider a rather odd-sounding strategy to break the stalemate: set out to do the opposite of what you want, as extremely as you can possibly imagine. Ironically, this paradoxical intention may be exactly what you need to get back on course.
7. Stop Weighting. The epidemic of increasing body weight around the globe has many negative consequences on health and wellness. It contributes to a wide range of diseases and conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, which would otherwise be minor players in the human family. It behooves us, then, to keep our body mass as small as possible. Staying well hydrated, appreciating our food, and exercising daily are three simple but effective weight-loss and weight-control techniques.
8. Start Exercising. It took two Provisions to cover the four basic types of exercise: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Our flesh and spirit need all four on a weekly basis. Endurance comes from aerobic exercise such as walking, running, biking, or swimming. If you’re sweating and breathing hard for an extended period of time, you’re building endurance. Strength comes from weight lifting. Whether you use machines, free weights, or cans of soup, it’s good to lift weights two or three times a week. Flexibility comes from daily stretching. Mixes of dynamic and static stretches, which never cause pain, form a complete routine. Balance comes from strength and coordination. The more you practice the less klutzy you will be.
9. Supplement Your Life. If proper hydration, nutrition, and exercise can help us experience health and wellness, proper supplementation can take that experience to even more optimal levels. Nutritional supplements are an important part, but only a part, of our supplementation options. We can also supplement our environment with additions, modifications, and eliminations that will summon our full powers of creativity, inspiration, and love. This goes back to our conversation about support, systems, and structures that make for health and wellness. Properly targeted, high quality, just-in-time interventions can easily make the difference between success and failure.
10. Sleep Well. No discussion of health and wellness would be complete without focusing on an activity that should take up approximately one third of our lives: sleeping. Competitive athletes understand the importance of sleep to their athletic performance. It’s while we sleep that our minds and bodies build strength. It’s also while we sleep that our creative imagination comes to the fore. Unfortunately, too many people suffer from sleep deprivation, either from insufficient or poor quality sleep. We need about seven and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If you’re not getting that much sleep, then pay attention to the time immediately before and after you sleep, the quality of your mattress, the light and sound in your bedroom, the allergens in your environment, the relaxing power of breath, as well as the boundaries that you set for family and friends. That way you will truly discover the treasures of sleep.
Properly applied, these ten strategies for health and wellness can make anyone feel better. If you want to apply them in your life with the assistance of a LifeTrek coach, just give us a call at 757-345-3452. We’ll be happy to talk with you free of charge.
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
It sounds like your year is off to a great start, and I couldn’t be happier for you. You deserve it! You are doing good work, and it’s exciting to see your book taking shape weekly. It is amazing how our lives can go in different directions after what we think are “setbacks.” Best wishes for continued happiness and success.
I am the new guy in the AvantGo neighborhood! I am from Mexico City and I think LifeTrek is such a great source of healthy, wealthy tips. Congratulations! Keep on the track!
My wife, a writer and writing teacher, emails a newsletter to 400+ each month. She can only send 50 emails at a time, apparently because of a limitation with our ISP. You send out email to thousands each week. I told her I would ask you how to do it. (Ed. Note: This takes more than a short reply. For her size list, tell your wife to check out http://www.ListBuilder.com or call me for a month of coaching. In that time, she too will be ready for thousands!)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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