The Art of Wellness

The mind is an extraordinary tool and when disciplined it makes an excellent servant

What does it mean to be truly well? Certainly, both in mind and body and we all know that there is more to being well. This is often forgotten in these times of fast food, comfort, convenience and the soundbite. That which is forgotten can be remembered and it is this aspect that can profoundly yet easily instill a fuller sense of wellness in us.

Well being is about wholeness, balance and harmony and it is apparent on many levels. It is becoming obvious that our physical state of health is linked with the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being. To be truly well, all facets of our being must be included. Everything in life, people, situations, circumstances are instrumental in serving and guiding us to our natural state of well being, which is our birthright. Surprisingly, sickness is not necessarily excluded as it can point the way to wellness. A flu or cold after a binge or late nights in the office may be a sign to slow down. Challenging circumstances may lead one person to prevail, another to go under or another to profound personal discovery.

The way we respond to the situations life presents us is a measure of our well being.

Choosing A Lifestyle
Great traditional such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda offer comprehensive and clear instructions for the attainment and maintenance of health and well being by including each level of being from the ground up; body, mind, emotion and spirit. Many practices demand stringent adherence to rules and this is fine if they can be achieved. However setting impossible goals or trying to adhere to disciplines that are too strict will create unhappiness when we predictably fail to live up to them. Rigidity in anything can affect each level of being often with negative results, as by its nature, our being is flexible. Whatever you choose to do should be seamlessly integrated into your life. Some important questions to ask are; do I enjoy this or does this inspire me? Can i do this regularly? Is the location convenient? If you answered no to any of these questions then the chances are that you won't be doing the activity for very long, or if you do, you may soon be unwell.

Nearly all diets encourage eating fish or lean meat with fresh, chemical-free vegetables and fruit with legumes or nuts. What we eat affects our emotions and mental health. We can be sure that whatever we do for our general physical health will ripple through every level of being. For example excessive sugar can affect the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, producing symptoms such as mental disorientation and panic attacks. Whatever dietary principles you follow, moderation is the key, so if you must eat sugar or any other potentially harmful substance, keep it moderate and avoid being rigid.

Exercise affects the body, emotions and mental function. All exercise releases pleasurable brain chemicals known as endorphins, which make us happy and positive. Our body is strengthened and detoxifield, though too much exercise can be addictive and may lead to strain or even permanent damage. Be it swimming, walking, aerobics, dancing, pumping, Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates - whatever your choice, use moderation. Do one or two types of exercise to avoid repetitive strain, and to strengthen and stretch different muscle groups and develop various coordinative functions. And remember to get a good night's sleep after all that effort.

Mind and Emotions
Being conscious of our emotions is an important aspect of wellbeing. The saying 'Know thyself' partly refers to recognising our emotions and developing the maturity and power to deal with these feelings in a constructive way. Meditation is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious emotional programmes. These intense responses can wreak havoc in our lives. Meditation helps us realise that we are not our emotions, yet they are part of our humanness and are important for our well being.

Mind and emotion are inextricably linked. When we work with our emotions we are also using our mind and vice versa. The mind is an extraordinary tool and when disciplined it makes an excellent servant. Meditation, martial arts, and yoga use some of the finest techniques for cultivating a quiet and focused mind that serves the greater good of the individual.

And finally spirit. Spirit cannot be separated from other levels, because ultimately all is spirit and spirit infuses all that we do. The more consciousness there is in our life the more evident spirit is and the more well we are.

Ultimately well being is about dwelling consciously in spirit, being free of suffering, be it from emotional bondage, ill health or a worried, fearful mind.

By Lina Lotto