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Style & Substance: On seeking wellness in your life

Dear style & substance,

I have been really trying to “be well” for the past six months, but seem to be foiled regularly. What is your best way to achieve wellness?

You are the norm; seeking wellness, feeling foiled, and starting over. However, how YOU view wellness may be the key to actually achieving your own personal success. We think of wellness as an overall feeling of satisfaction, good health and contentment. It does not mean that you are free from the strife of life, but that you manage it as it comes along, with less clinging, more coping, and moving through the problems rather than dwelling on them.

Two different models that we often suggest are paying attention to the different aspects that make an individual feel balanced: the models are what we simply call The Internal and The External. Eventually both aspects will merge into one, but deconstructing both will allow you to explore your strengths and define areas for improvement. Your exploration within these models will help you in developing your own personalized plan, based on these classifications.

For the Internal Model; your whole self can be visualized in quadrants; physical body, intellectual body, spiritual body, and emotional body. Each of these components can be addressed though your internal thoughts, interpretations, and attitudes and external manifestations of your actions. “Feed, nourish or water” each portion daily. Ask 3 people how they would feed their physical body and you will get 3 different answers….so, this is your call. Our example would be the physical body requires movement, healthy food and water. The intellectual body hungers for new ideas and stimulating conversation. The spiritual body longs for “down time”, silence, gratitude, meditation or prayer. The emotional body desires connection, friendship, love and caring.

The External Model focuses more on the outward and tangible. As Martha Graham once said, “the body never lies.” Evaluate your physical self: How you look, your energy level and how you move, are just a few indicators of your overall health. Create a checklist to help you customize a manageable and realistic plan of action. One of the surest ways to derail your progress is to focus solely on your weight. Your “fighting weight” does not equate thinness; your ideal weight is a reflection of healthful eating, exercise, and emotional equilibrium. So often in our culture we idealize a figure that is not necessarily the right body type for everyone. You decide where you feel best and have the most energy. That is your “fighting weight”, which is maintainable and healthy.

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