A Guide to Holistic Well-being: Part 2
Read Part 1 here.
Continuing with the five indexes:
Anyone who has suffered from a bad case of the flu knows that even if everything else is going great in your life, physical impairments will quickly cause lead you to a sense of misery and distress. Regrettably, unhealthy lifestyles which are often tied to a lack of sense of purpose in our work lives has led to a series of unsettling and dangerous health concerns from the obesity crisis to diabetes and heart health issues.
Physically active people not only have improved bodily health, but also enjoy several mental health benefits as well. One recent study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”
The entertainment section of our newspapers has a virtually endless array of information of the depressions, divorces, and other dramas that seemingly never end for Hollywood stars. Though these “stars” have all the wealth and esteem they could ever desire, the lack of support and profound and caring relationships evidently causes serious problems in their lives.
As the poet John Donne said several centuries ago, “No man is an island unto himself.” We need people in our lives who care about us, accompany us during hard times, and rejoice with us happy times, and likewise it makes us human to be able to give back to people in the same way.
Belonging to Community
Returning to the writer and poet Wendell Berry, he once said, “A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
Not only is our society hyper-individualist, but the vast majority have little to no relationship with the people who share the physical spaces where we live. Finding ways to engage with those who live closest to us and to take responsibility for the health and well being for the places where we live is the last, and perhaps most important aspect of the concept of holistic well being because it gives meaning and practicality to the rest of the attributes.