Definition of Wellness


Wellness refers to a holistic approach in which mind, body, and spirit are integrated. It is a way of life oriented toward optimal health and well-being, in which body, mind, and spirit are integrated in a purposeful manner with a goal of living life more fully (Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 2000). Wellness is more than the absence of disease, a state defined as “health,” and incorporates a concern for optimal functioning.
Adler spoke of the creative self as the combination of attributes that each of us forms to make a unique place among others in our social interactions (Adler, 1954; Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). There are five components to this factor: thinking, emotions, control, positive humor, and work. As research and clinical experience suggest, what one thinks affects the emotions as well as the body. Likewise, one’s emotional experiences tend to influence one’s cognitive responses to similar experiences. Control is a matter of perceived capacity to influence events in one’s life. Positive expectations influence emotions, behavior, and anticipated outcomes, and positive humor is known to have a pervasive influence on physical, as well as, mental functioning. Enriching one’s ability to think clearly, perceive accurately, and respond appropriately can decrease stress and enhance the humor response that medical research has shown affects the immune system positively. Likewise, work is an essential element in human experience that can enhance or exacerbate one’s capacity to live life fully.
A theory is only as good as it can be understood and then APPLIED! If you cannot apply a theory to your situation, in this case your life and the life of your family, then that theory is just that…something nice to know.
So, let’s break it down for our practical use: What makes you unique? What are you passionate about? What kinds of thoughts are you having? How do you talk to yourself? Are there more affirming words being spoken in your home than non-affirming? Do you look at challenges as opportunities to grow? Do you laugh every day?
Action you can take:
*Create a mantra. Post it around the house and in the car. When you see it, say it! Eventually it will become second nature and a great go-to when things get tough.
*Create a vision board. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years? Using old magazines and poster board, create a collage that illustrates your vision for your life and the life of your family. This is a great activity to do separately, as well as together.
*Make it a point to be silly at least once a day. Kids really love this, and we are really all kids at heart if we let ourselves relax a bit.
*Challenge everyone in your family to say nice things. This can be done in several ways. One way is to have each person decorate a container with a lid. Then each of the other family members must write something nice about that person and put it in the container. Little ones that cannot write yet can draw or dictate what they want to say. Then when everyone is done, sit together and have each person read their notes out loud to the rest of the family. Another way is make it into game. When you “catch” someone saying something affirming, put a star on a chart. At first it seems forced but as time goes by it become more natural.

Change. Discover. Transform.
Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified

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