This is quickly becoming a buzz word in our nation and rightfully so, as we see an increasing need to take charge of our health and well being.   Especially baby boomers, who are not going down without a fight.  In recent years, the term “wellness”has expanded to mean far more than physical health.  One of my favorite definitions of wellness is:

“Wellness – the quality or state of being healthy in body, mind, and spirit…especially as the result of deliberate effort.”

Being healthy in body, mind and spirit creates total life wellness and it only comes by result of deliberate effort.

After battling cancer 8 years ago, followed by 7 years of chronic illness, I have been on a quest for greater wellness in my body.  This means taking charge of and responsibility for everything and anything that I can…. nutrition, supplements, exercise, sleep, stress levels, and minimizing my exposure to toxins so prevelant in the enviorment today. To be perfectly candid… I don’t always like the time, effort & energy that “deliberate effort” takes.  Sometimes, I wish that my fairy godmother would come and wave her magic wand and grant me the fitness to run a 10 miler, magically reduce my stress… or wave off 10 lbs, just in time for that special event!

That would be so much easier!!  Maybe not as effective in “personal growth” but that’s okay… right!??

Maybe… or Maybe not:

I wonder… Would crossing the 10 miler finish line be as meaningful without all the time and effort put into training runs?  Without the discipline of doing the work, especially when I didn’t “feel” like it?

Would “magically disappearing stress” give me any tools to help me teach my kids or even my clients reduce the stress in their lives? Or what about the next time that stress threatens to overtake me, what if there is not magic wand on the horizon then??? I would not be equipped to deal with it from all I learned the last time.

Would the compliments of how great I look in my special event outfit resonate and make me feel proud, without the memory of disciplined food choices and focused nutrition?

I don’t think so… (so put away your wand, Fairy godmother, or at least wave in a new & fabulous pair of shoes!)

We have all been there… staring our favorite dessert down, looking over the menu and really wanting the fries, when we know an extra vege side will be much better for our “dress fitting goals!”  Tempted to hit the snooze button when the weather is cold, it’s dark outside and the alarm goes off for our morning run!  Or how about when the chaos of juggling sports, kids, volunteering and work makes us want to change our names from “mom” to “unavailable.”

But when we win the battle at OKcake Corral, and skip dessert!  or crawl out of our nice warm bed,  push through the tired and on out the door…or when the stress of a packed schedule results in our family pitching in to help, so everyone makes their activities on time???  When this happens, we experience great satisfaction and pride!  We have our own, personal Nike “just do it!” moment… and it feels GREAT!

So wellness achieved as a result of deliberate effort is worth it!  This definition also highlights the need to work at our wellness on an ongoing, intentional basis… so we create a habit, a lifetime mindset of choosing what will bring us greater wellness and thus satisfaction in the long term.

It is on those dark cold mornings when we lace up our shoes and hit the pavement regardless of how we feel.. that makes us “a runner.”

It is the choice to drive past the fast food joint on our way home from a long day at work or even plan dinner ahead of time-  that makes us healthy eaters, committed to staying in shape or fitting into a special outfit.

It is taking the time to create a schedule where everyone pitches in to help the family that teaches our kids the principles of taking responsibility, making choices and compromise.  Critical lessons for life success when they are older!

Wellness is not a one time thing…it is our daily decisions to choose wellness- one decision at a time- that results in our being healthy, fit, energetic, less stressed & peaceful.  Being “well”  opens the door to experiences we may not otherwise have if we are limited in health, fitness or stamina.  If you have ever lost your wellness, as I have, then you know what it is like to watch others enjoy doing what you long to do, but cannot due to poor health.

It in these moments that I am grateful for the fact that “deliberate effort” can create wellness.  That is when I am glad that by taking responsibility I can actually change my level of wellness in body, mind or spirit.  I am grateful that wellness can increase as a result of my deliberate effort… because that means I am not stuck where I am… and that I can change myself and my life if I am willing to do the work.

So I invite you to ponder: What is wellness to you?  What deliberate efforts are you taking to create greater wellness in your life? Just 1 choice… in 1 area of your life …can begin the journey to greater wellness! Then make that same choice over and over again! Cheers to you and your “deliberate efforts!”

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