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What Health Is...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

One of my first memories of being a sweet young first year university nursing student is sitting in a classroom during orientation and being required to write out a definition of health. At the time I recall thinking “what the heck do I know about health? I just got here.” In retrospect, I realise that I wasn’t actually “required” to do anything. The exercise was part of a Professor’s research and, no doubt, we were all given the usually blah, blah, blah consent speech but, since I knew even less about research than I did about health, I felt the jab of requirement all the same. I don’t remember what I wrote – it did fill up the entire page and I’m sure I rambled around quite aimlessly for most of the definition.

This exercise repeated itself at the beginning of each year – I suppose we were being measured to see if our definitions became fine-tuned after each successful year of education. By 4th year, I felt downright cocky as I shortened my definition to a few short words that I remember distinctly; “Health is spirit, body, and mind in balance.”

I remember it, of course, because I still believe it today. As a Health Coach, I am often asked by people what kinds of health conditions I encounter with my clients. While I have my fair share of clients losing weight, coping with diabetes and hypertension, I don’t limit my practice to those with physical body conditions. In my opinion, if any part of the health triad is out of whack, my client is facing a form of ill health and working to achieve balance in these three areas is the key to restoring health. As a result, I work with people who face a myriad assortment of health concerns. To answer the question, I offer this non-comprehensive but descriptive list of elements of what I believe health to be.

Health is:
• freedom to think your own thoughts without fear of reprisal from the nasty little voice(s) in your head
• managing your time in a way that meets the needs of your own priorities, not just the priorities of others
• taking care of business – work, play, love – in a way that feels right for you
• choosing food to fuel you not fill your emotional voids
• connecting to your God – whatever your definition
• recognizing the width and depth and beauty of your human emotions and feeling them fully
• knowing your life purpose and living it without doubt
• taking your medications and eating your prescribed diet
• managing your finances in a way that supports your current and future needs
• owning your illness and taking responsibility for managing your own care and recovery
• loving yourself and developing the capacity for unconditional love of others
• living successfully in a world full of people who are different that you
• recognizing the depth of your ego’s influence on your choices
• practicing gratitude
• operating from a place of compassion and kindness
• treading lightly on your own ground
• the ability to laugh: heartily and with abandon
• investing in a healthy tomorrow by adding some fitness activity today
• considering fitness activities for all three aspects of health: physical activity for the body; learning or brain games for the mind; meditation or prayer for the spirit
• keeping an open mind
• affirming others for the good things they bring to your life
• follow your health provider’s instructions
• deal with your addictions
• stop procrastinating
• …
The list could continue all day but I’m pretty sure you get the point. In my work, I have known tremendously healthy people who were dying of cancer and tremendously unhealthy people who looked, for all the world, like they were truly capable of immortality. It ends up being a matter of balance in the health trinity.
Spirit~Body~Mind in Balance
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Mmmm lots to read and consider as there is a lot of wisdom here... I feel like you read my tantrum blog in advance when you wrote this, lol. There is a whole aspect of health and family or environment too. That is where I am today planning my upcoming "surprise" knee replacement. We just moved a bed out of my room and replaced it with another and I am getting my kids settled so I can concentrate on my own needs. I feel like it is going to be a fantastic 2012... but with a lot of work.

    Knowing trees I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass I know the meaning of perseverance.
    3346 days ago
    Oh my, but what a list!

    Definitely going to keep it handy as a reference for myself and others!

    Thx for sharing!

    3372 days ago
    Good one, thanks for sharing these words of wisdom....
    3377 days ago
    Super blog: wise and thoughtful. I am sure you are a wonderful resource to your clients.
    3378 days ago
    LOVE this idea - I need to work on this balance more!
    3378 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    I couldn't agree more! And today's thought for the day is extremely apposite too.

    Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else.

    - Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activis
    3378 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/6/2011 12:12:01 PM
    Since I have started taking yoga classes again, back care yoga, I am so much calmer, postive, happier and just better. Granted not working has helped my pain level and management but I will get this wt off and be healthier in the end.
    3378 days ago
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