Why Bother with Physical Wellness?
Our mental wellness includes managing and caring about all the different aspects of our lives—the emotional and physical self, the spiritual, intellectual, and social self as well as our environmental, interpersonal and occupational structures. We are complex creatures and when all of these systems work in unison with one another, the result is mental stability. But when they are run incongruent to one another, chaos reigns.
Though each of these areas of our mental wellness work together, I thought it best to break them apart in order to explain each one individually. I know this is better than to dump the big idea of mental wellness into the lap of my audience and then leave the load and move on!
Let’s Get Physical
As kids, our notion of physical wellness is influenced, good or bad, by those around us. I was influenced, for the good, by two people—my favorite brother and my grandmother.
While growing up it was only natural for me to follow my brother, eighteen months older than me. As a result of tagging along with him and his buddies, I learned how to play kickball, hot box, football, and climb trees. Later, when we moved from the city to the country we followed game trails in the woods, fished in streams and camped under the stars. I loved everything about the outdoors—the smell of pine trees and dirt, the sound of bubbling brooks and the view of the immense and starry lit sky from the top of a mountain. Then I grew up and though I don’t play games so much anymore, my love for the sights and sounds of nature remains.
During my teen years, I lived with my grandmother for a short stint and living with her showed me how women could stay fit and trim even as they aged into the grandmother stage. Before natural foods were vogue, she infused her diet with everything natural. Taking vitamins, not medications, going to bed at the same time every night and rising up at the same early hour each day were her habits. When she walked, it was always at a brisk pace, when she ate it was in moderation and her posture was picture perfect.
Even with these two great examples of healthy eating and exercise, I still went through a few unhealthy phases. For one, I smoked. I also forced myself to eat as little as possible to stay as thin as possible. When I decided to adopt better eating habits, I exercised in order to lose weight instead of exercising for the joy, pleasure and good health it brings. Though it took me a while to find my own healthy and sustainable balanced eating and exercise habit, I’ve got it now and it is good.
Our physical wellness is our responsibility, and it is made up of all of our little and big choices we make day in and day out that become good habits or bad habits.
Why bother with physical wellness? We only get one body to carry us through life. Staying physically well ensures that our body will be up for that task.