What is Your Definition of Wellness?
Consider for a moment the flu. One day, someone working in your office calls in sick with the flu. A couple days later, half the office is sick with the flu as well, yet the other half of the office is unaffected. All your coworkers interact and come in contact with each other, are exposed to the same working environment, and are subject to similar stressors. Why did some of your office get sick while others did not?
There are a lot of variables involved in this story, but they all basically come down to one point- some people’s bodies adapt better than others. We are all built with complex regulatory systems to allow our bodies to react to change. The ability to adapt and react appropriately on a physiologic level is what ultimately determines who gets sick and who does not.
A person is generally considered healthy when they are absent of disease or illness. Modern American medicine therefore focuses a lot of effort, research, and money on managing or eliminating disease so that when a person contracts that disease there is a treatment for it. The term for this is “pathogenesis,” which starts by considering the disease and working backwards to determine how to eliminate it.
This is a reactionary approach to wellness- focusing on fixing the disease once it is already present. But if our bodies are inherently designed to adapt and overcome, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on enhancing that process?
Stressors are a part of life, and stress comes in many forms- physical, mental, emotional, social, occupational, etc. Hans Selye MD PhD once said, “complete absence of stress is incompatible with life, since only a dead man makes no demand upon his body or mind.” He also said, “only human beings can transmute dis-stress into eu-stress by using the rational mind.” It is a well-known fact that mindset can make an enormous impact on the recovery process from injury and illness. Mindset can also have a huge impact on the avoidance of injury and illness, because mindset drives behavior.
Instead of focusing on the “pathogenesis” of illness, I suggest we all shift our mindset to proactively look at how to create, enhance, and improve physical mental, and social well-being. Taking care of our physical bodies, being mindful of what we consume, and taking control over how we react to stressors will enhance our ability to adapt and overcome the challenges it is presented with, thereby making us all truly healthier.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the definition of “wellness” is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal. As you actively seek your state of wellness, remember that the staff at Body Logic is here to help you Move Better, Feel Better, and Live Better!