Well-being is an overused term without definition. I see well-being as a three pronged approach to living a life with
optimal holistic health with passionate expression, spiritual conversation and social activism. First off, optimal holistic
health is the very basis for well-being. If our health is compromised in anyway our well-being decreases initially. I say
initially because those of us who have struggled through maintaining our physical well-being through illness have found other
ways to forge those building blocks and often give larger focus to the other areas of well-being to make up for what we lack
in the physical part. If you visit any children's hospital specializing in terminal illnesses you can see this expression
at work. Though their bodies are not in a state of well-being it is made up for by an increased need for passionate expression,
spiritual conversation and social involvement and activism. Just like a human loosing one of their five senses and seeing
the other four increase in awareness, the same goes for well-being. Loosing the building block of physical well-being only
means that the other aspects of well-being kick in at a higher capacity and awareness.
Passionate expression simply
means that to help us maintain well-being we need a way to express ourselves in an artistic fashion. This can mean any aspect
of expression including but not limited too: journaling, motivational speaking, artwork, graphic design, poetry, computer
programming, talking to a therapist, cooking, etc. This type of expression in any form is an important way to let the mind
and body emotionally re-charge. Just like the body needs a good sleep to re-charge your emotions and passions need any outlet
to emotionally release and re-coup. It is a simple concept but one that many people disregard as unimportant and often times
put at the end of the list of things to do in a busy week. Some lucky people can infuse their passionate expression in their
everyday work, but don't let that fool you into thinking they are in a higher state of well-being because our society is so
negatively work focused these people need to have another outside source of expression to re-charge in this capacity.
Conversation has nothing to do with religion. This is an important distinction for people to remember. I am not saying you
need a religion to see your well-being thrive. I am saying that every human needs to engage in conversation about what spirituality
means to them and how that is expressed in their lives. Some may find spirituality in religion but others will find spirituality
in astrology, philosophy, nature, family, culture, ideas, science or art. Whatever way one finds to engage in this conversation,
it is important to have and continually develop by listening to others and creating a safe way to express it within your own
capacity. Belief in an idea larger than ourselves has been and will continually be a necessity for basic survival and growth.
The last aspect of well-being is social activism. This does not mean you have to stand on a picket line or participate
in a rally to engage socially. This means that you have to find a way to actively participate in the society you live in.
Whether that be by utilizing the first amendment to protest and voice opposition or whether that be to actively run for office
to activate social change. This can also mean being any ally for a population that is struggling to thrive and grow in the
society (i.e. LGBTQ). At its most basic level this means to simply know what is going on in your society by watching the news,
reading the paper or going on-line. It is simply not an option to disengage from the society that raised you and helped you
grow. Being part of a community is essential for the growth of an individual. This why developmentally it is so beneficial
to live on campus when going to college so ideas, values and ideals can be challenged and voiced in a way which others can
hear and understand. This is how our community grows in tolerance and knowledge.
Oddly enough, a time that I felt my well-being was flourishing was right after college when my physical health
was actually diminishing. After dealing with a senior year filled with headaches and painful sleep my mother took me to a
chiropractor to address some of my pain and after that meeting my life truly changed. He engaged me with conversation not
only about my physical health but about depression, diet, nutrition, physical activity, etc. I flourished under his care and
loved the way he cared for me as a whole person, not just a physical body. I felt better, I thought better and I finally began
cherishing my family, degree and social status as a powerful woman that can change the world. This experience is why I put
optimal holistic health as the first building block in a person's journey toward well-being. As my body started to feel and
function better I was able to do more, act more and engage in a society that pain and inability took me away from.
The clearest example of a time where my well-being greatly diminished
was when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was young, just out of college and ready to take on the world. I suddenly was thrown
into a medical world that I didn't understand and they in turn did not understand me. I became passionate about women's wellness
during this time because as I traveled through this medial mess I wasn't being taken care of emotionally, spiritually or passionately.
My physical wellbeing was being treated so that I could then work on the other states of wellbeing but that was just the tip
of the iceberg. I didn't feel well in any capacity and thus did not have the strength to actually help my body heal its self.
It was only during a hospital visit for a few days that I talked to a Chaplin that asked me all the right questions and none
of them had to do with how I was feeling or my illness. It was only after that discussion that I decided that my health was
in my hands and if I wanted to get better I had to find something other than my illness to encompass my life. This was a dark
time for me and it took conversation, listening, spiritual connections and social change that encouraged me to make it right.