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Wellness Lifestyle Resources


Five Practical Steps to Lifelong Wellness

We sense something significant is happening to us but it is hard to decipher.  Not because it is complicated, but because although this new found presence  has made its way into our conscious realm, it is just subtle enough for us to ignore.  So we choose to go about our busy days and nights in denial of the changes occurring within us that might be telling us something is amiss.  We ignore the signs partially out of fear, but to some degree, we suspect that exploring them would interrupt our daily routine. 

Humans are creatures of habit.  We engage in very similar rituals every day of our lives, and when something happens to interrupt these patterns we feel ill at ease.  We cling to hundreds of habits out of familiarity, even if they hurt us.  Our overall wellbeing, which is a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity, requires us to face our health-related fears and change those habits that sabotage us. 

We are complex, multi-dimensional, and multi-sensory. We experience life and form our worldview from varied influences.  While genetic encoding plays a significant role, we are impacted by a number of other important factors.  Our attitudes, beliefs, environment, relationships, and thought patterns have a direct impact on our wellbeing.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quality medical care impacts our health status about 10 percent.  Heredity and environmental factors account for about 20 percent each.  Lifestyle choices amount to approximately 50 percent of our health and wellness determinants.

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Wellness goes beyond these important milestones.  It focuses on optimizing life experiences and moving us closer to a self-actualized state.  Balance and harmony among the nine dimensions of whole-person wellness is the key.  These nine dimensions include the emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, mental, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational aspects of our lives.

No matter how diligent we are, at some point we will face health challenges and ultimately death will occur.  The goal, in the meantime, is to maximize your health span, which is the number of disability-free years that you enjoy reasonably good health.  The best strategy for maximizing your health span is to develop and implement a Personalized Wellness Enhancement Plan.  Consider these five guiding principles as you develop your plan.


The key to lifelong wellness is a decision to discard the fears and habits that result in poor health.  Strive for harmony and balance in your efforts to take control of your own wellbeing.

1. Wellness is holistic.

Optimal functioning requires a whole-person approach. For example, you may be enjoying your dream job, eating the right foods, and exercising; but if you have no real sense of connectedness to other people, a higher spiritual presence, or the environment, loneliness and depression can result. A substantial body of epidemiological evidence has linked supportive social networks to positive health and wellness outcomes. Many factors beyond medical treatment impact our health status. Educate yourself about the holistic nature of wellness, and then take a whole-person approach to living well.

2. Wellness embraces the tripartite nature of humanity.

In the sacred circle of life, we are spiritual beings, we live in a body, and we possess a soul. Our body is the physical vehicle through which we interact with the world. Our soul consists of the mind, intentions, and emotions. This is the psychological lens through which we view the world. Our spirit is the heartfelt realm that impels and motivates. It represents our innermost core, the essence of who we are in our purest, most unadulterated state. We are the healthiest when our body, soul, and spirit work together in balance and harmony.

3. Wellness demands behavioral transformation.

At its core, wellness is a commitment to implement the changes necessary to realize a healthier, more vibrant, and satisfying life. This begins with an awareness of and appreciation for the impact of lifestyle on health and wellbeing. Change is hard but sustainable transformation is possible and the benefits of discarding old unhealthy habits for new healthier ones are substantial. Researchers from University College London found that it takes an average of 66 days to develop a new habit. The more complex the transformation the longer it will take, so be patient. Setbacks will occur, but you must remain diligent. It takes far less energy, money, and time to stay healthy than it does to rebound from a medical challenge. Be consistent and diligent as you transition to a health and wellness oriented lifestyle.

4. Wellness requires personal responsibility and accountability.

To blame your health status on genetics or circumstances is irresponsible and counterproductive, An example of this is when you choose unhealthy patterns, forfeit your responsibility as your own caretaker, then rely on drugs and medical treatments to address the very problems you brought upon yourself. Become a responsible steward of your own wellbeing through health and wellness education. Once you have acquired he necessary skill sets, objectively assess where you are compared to where you want to be. Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based so you can chart your progress. Finally, take the required action to reach your goals. Enjoy the journey.

5. Listen to the wisdom of your body.

We live in a body that is magnificent and wondrous. Even the most sophisticated computer cannot begin to rival its complexity. The body’s organs and systems are intricately interrelated and when healthy, they function in perfect synchrony and precision. Perhaps one of the greatest medical discoveries of the twentieth century is the awesome power of the human body to heal and rejuvenate itself. Our task is to create the right conditions for the healing process to occur.

The key to lifelong wellness is a decision to discard the fears and habits that result in poor health.  Strive for harmony and balance in your efforts to take control of your own wellbeing.  You are worth it!

Gloria Crawford Henderson, CHWC, is the CEO and founder of Age of Discovery, LLC.  She is a certified health and wellness coach, motivational speaker, and trainer.  She conducts workshops and seminars and consults with businesses and organizations that are committed to integrating wellness strategies into their corporate culture.  For more information please visit http://ageofdiscoverywellness.com.


CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

Many years ago I had the privilege of reading the story of Victor Frankl’s life.  It is a profound example of the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, and a source of continuous inspiration for me.  I revisit this amazing story often.

Frankl became a prisoner of war during the Holocaust.  He was exposed to the worst humiliation and indignity imaginable during his years in the concentration camp.  While many of the people he knew and loved were murdered, others committed suicide because they could not withstand their horrific existence.  Dr. Frankl’s attitude of hope and a vision for a better tomorrow gave him the strength and courage to persevere in the  face of what was considered a hopeless situation.  In spite of the terrible conditions he was exposed to, he was determined that his captors would not break his spirit.  Against all odds he maintained a positive attitude, which he credited with keeping him alive.  He was eventually liberated and he  was able to share his incredible story with the world.  The value of having a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances, is the essence of his legacy.  Like Dr. Frankl, each of us can harness the liberating power of a positive attitude, and in so doing, we can alter the course of our life. 

Success begins with a winning mindset and a can-do spirit.  If circumstances have led you to a place where you feel unworthy and insecure, there are steps you can take to shift your thinking and raise the level of your self-esteem.  This is inner-work, and it requires a willingness to be brutally honest.  When it comes to self-development, there are no shortcuts. 

Everyone should have a sacred space, a place where you can go to be totally alone with yourself in quietness.  It can be as simple and barren as a closet in your home, or as mesmerizing as the balcony of a five-star hotel where you can see, hear, and smell the ocean’s waves.  It is not easy for us to spend time with ourselves in a state of honest introspection.  Even when we are alone we often time busy our minds with gadgets or judgmental thoughts of others so we can avoid the intimacy of self-reflection.  Transformation begins with getting to know who you really are, not the persona you have created to present to others and camouflage the real you.

You will need a pad and pen to take notes and capture your feelings.  Once you are settled comfortably in your sacred space, take all the time necessary to explore all aspects of an issue that is of particular concern.  Without judgment, allow yourself the luxury of feeling whatever it is you feel.  It is important to empty out all thoughts and feelings you have about the concern.  Now ask yourself the following questions:

     ·    What role did I play in this issue becoming a problem?

     ·   Is someone other than me hurting because of this issue?

     ·   What do I need to do or say to reduce their pain?

     ·   What do I need to do or say to reduce my pain?

     ·   What are the consequences of my continued bad behavior?

     ·  What stumbling blocks are preventing me from resolving this issue and moving forward?

Once you have fully explored the issue and accepted responsibility for your contribution, create a compelling vision of your desired outcome.  Keep in the forefront of your mind you are probably not an innocent victim, it is likely you contributed to the confusion.  Think deeply about your attitude and consider how it will help or hinder realization of the desired outcome.  Determine your next steps. 

Let’s assume the disagreement is a personal matter between you and a loved one, and it is the result of an egregious offense.  The two of you are hurting, so particular care must be taken to avoid creating more hurt.  Consider beginning the healing process by contacting the individual and extending a sincere apology.  Do not make contact until you are in forgiveness mode.  If you are still in the stage of needing to be right, interaction is premature and will likely be counterproductive, not to mention the unintended consequence of exacerbating the problem.  If you find that the other party is not yet ready to reconcile, apologize and give them the space they need.  In time, the apology will go a long way toward reducing their anger. 

If your primary goal is to resolve the conflict and you remain cognizant of this motive, you will eventually be successful in helping the other person realize your remorse and your intended good will.  

Gloria Crawford Henderson, CHWC, is the CEO and founder of Age of Discovery, LLC.  She is a certified health and wellness coach, motivational speaker, and trainer.  She conducts workshops and seminars and consults with businesses and organizations that are committed to integrating wellness strategies into their corporate culture.  For more information please visit http://ageofdiscoverywellness.com.


What is the Meaning of Life?

Let your gifts, talents, and passion guide you to the greatness within

We spend an inordinate amount of time pondering the big picture questions of life. Who am I? What is my purpose? When will I understand my destiny? How do I find joy and meaning? Why am I here?

These are great questions that require serious thought and contemplation. As a life coach, I am often asked about meaning and purpose. Deep within each of us is the urgent desire for fulfillment, it is fundamental to the human psyche. In order to live purposefully, though, we must grow beyond looking at the big picture questions from a selfish or worldly perspective. Purpose is God-given, it is spiritual, it is internally driven, it shows up in random acts of kindness, and it is divinely designed.

Because we were created with purpose in mind, it is impossible for us to realize joy and contentment outside of it. For years I thought purpose was associated with finding my dream job, contributing to the right charity, or supporting community service projects.  While these are excellent examples of good stewardship, purpose is far greater.  It is greater than dreams and aspirations. It is greater than individual peace and happiness. It is even greater than family and career.

Purpose is the same for all of us, regardless of our chosen profession or whether we support the right causes. We are called to activate and operationalize the great commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself.  This is our ultimate mission.  This is our reason for being.  We are required to grow beyond selfish pursuits and develop a love-based worldview.  When we see ourselves and others through the lens of love, compassion abounds.  This kind of love germinates in the deep recesses of our soul and blossoms through selfless service to humanity.  How we choose to implement this fundamental call to duty is where creativity, adventure, and fulfillment come into play.

What are you really good at? How do you spend your leisure time? Are you a motivator?  Do you enjoy cleaning or decorating?  Life rooted in purpose may not result in fame or fortune.  Your unique brand of purpose  will be expressed in different ways than mine.  Create opportunities to serve wherever you are or whatever you are doing.  Purpose can flourish in every present moment.  Does coaching a little league team or sponsoring a girl scout troop appeal to you?  These are expressions of purpose.  It is offering love-based energy to the universe.  It is keeping your word, being dependable, inspiring and motivating. 

Let your gifts and talents guide you as you determine the most appropriate course of action. If you enjoy listening to people, consider the benefits of becoming a great counselor. If you enjoy painting or playing the piano, find an organization in your community that needs these services. Become a mentor. Volunteer at a local church or synagogue. The more appropriate way to frame the question of purpose is, "How do I use my unique gifts and talents to implement my call to love and to serve?"

We are equipped with the resources and skills we need to brighten someone's day, feed the hungry, comfort the sick, or encourage those who are hurting. When we open our hearts and let compassion flow, we offer glimpses of heaven and we connect with God. Meaning and purpose can only be found by unselfishly giving to others.

"To every generation of young believers comes an opportunity to make a contribution to the fortunes of humanity, unique to their time in life. For the present generation the time has come to reflect, to commit, to steel themselves for a life of service from which blessing will flow in abundance." (Message dated 8 February, 2013 from the Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í Faith).

Serving others is therapeutic and purposeful. It uplifts us spiritually, and it heals our soul. There is no greater calling, and no higher reward.

Gloria Crawford Henderson, MPA, CLC, CHWC, is the CEO and founder of Age of Discovery, LLC, and a certified health and wellness coach, motivational speaker, and trainer.  Gloria conducts workshops and seminars and consults with businesses and organizations that are committed to integrating wellness strategies into their corporate culture.

For more information please visit http://ageofdiscoverywellness.com

 

 

"We hear a lot about finding purpose.  It is not lost, it was imbedded deep within your DNA during conception.  All you have to do is make a conscious decision to give it a voice.  A life of unselfish service is a life of purpose.  There are many clues to manifestation strategies.  Your gifts and talents are the building blocks of purpose, passion and commitment are the stepping stones."

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