Health vs wellbeing

THE terms health and wellbeing are often used together.

Health generally refers to an absence of symptoms, while wellbeing is a distinct feeling in the body—a sort of ‘good to be alive’ feeling.

This feeling of wellbeing arises when we are eating well, exercising regularly and taking care of our needs on the physical, mental and emotional levels.

It is the absence of this feeling that alerts us to the fact that our needs are not being met.

So if we are not eating well, rather than feeling wellbeing, we’ll suffer from indigestion, bloating, or feel lethargic or run down.

This is the body telling us that something in our diet is having a harmful effect on us.

The same thing happens in other areas of our life.

At times we may be overwhelmed by emotion.

This will cause us to be physically tense, edgy or anxious.

If we pause to reflect on these feelings, we’ll recognise that we have a need in that moment to share what’s going on with a trusted friend, or seek some counselling.

As soon as we do that, we notice our sense of wellbeing returning.

There will be other times when we may feel mentally overloaded.

This causes the mind to go ‘on the blink’—we’ll be stressed out, unable to think clearly and sleep poorly.

Here our body is telling us to hit the pause button.

Maybe take a weekend off to reflect on the issues that are troubling us, and get some inner clarity and resolution.

In all these ways, the body is constantly alerting us to the things that undermine our wellbeing, and showing us what works when we attempt to deal with them.

There is a lot of wisdom available to us through a simple feeling connection with the body.

Unfortunately, we often ignore these early warning signals, which exposes us to the risk of a full blown health crisis further down the track.

One of the main reasons we do this is that we are not taught to listen to the body.

Our education system emphasises learning through the mind, so we take a very cerebral approach to life’s dilemmas, including researching the right diet, exercise programs and so on.

This leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion, because not only are there a lot of contradictory opinions out there, but each of us is unique.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to diet.

What helps your body to thrive will be unique to your particular digestive system and temperament.

The same applies to exercise programs, emotional needs and so on.

Hence the importance of developing a feeling connection to the body. Your body is the truest guide and mentor for your wellbeing.

Paying attention and following the wisdom of the body will maximise your health and your joy in being alive for the long term.

by FRANK VILAASA
Anahata Wellness Centre

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