Sunday, April 14, 2013

Healthy What???

Most people tend to approach “health” as a strictly physical concept. We turn our focus towards the tangible elements such as food and exercise as we blindly embark on this journey towards health. These actions; though fueled by healthy desires, often assume damaging roles.  In an effort to get fit, many people find themselves caught up in a struggle to either maintain or attain some unrealistic level of physical idealism. We have been misguided by social messages suggesting that the photo-shopped, airbrushed, and dangerously thin images in the media are beautiful and healthy. We have been convinced that we can achieve these ideal standards through self-control, diet, and exercise. We have been cultured to believe that external measurements and physical indicators are the sole definition of a healthy individual.  

We seem to approach health with this attitude of ‘what you see is what you get.’ In simple terms: If you look good on the outside, you are considered to be in good physical shape and therefore categorized as a healthy individual.  With that said, we often allow our physical self to define what we are and how we feel, regardless of what is going on internally. It’s not merely about being thin, toned, cut, built etc. Healthy comes in all different shapes and sizes. Yes those are indicators, and a means of measuring our physical progress. However, health is far more than a strictly physical concept. By definition, the term ‘health’ is a noun characterized by soundness of body and MIND; and freedom from disease and ailment. Ironically, this definition speaks nothing of external presentation or physical perfection as a measure of true health. Yet that seems to be our focus, obsession, and inspiration. So…why the delusion?

Relationships. How others perceive us… seems to be a major concern when it comes to looking our best.  We want acceptance. We want others to see us as attractive. With this attitude of constantly seeking the approval of others comes a tendency to ignore OUR own desires as we lose touch with our bodies` natural rhythm. When we approach health with this attitude it seems to go against the core values of this healthy lifestyle because it becomes more difficult to listen to that internal voice.  The internal voice that plays a vital role in providing feedback and keeping us in touch with our bodies wants/needs/desires serving as a key component to maintaining wellness.

Achieving optimal health requires soundness of body and mind. The two are rooted together: one cannot exist completely, without the other. Maintaining physical fitness starts with a sound mind. Our emotional health and mental state play equally essential rolls in shaping overall wellness. It is difficult to meet our bodies’ physical demands when we are not in tune with our emotional needs.  Lets go back to this idea of relationships. Previously I mentioned the influence of relationships, over our health, in a somewhat negative light. Aside from these pressures, relationships can also take on a positive role. Our attitudes and approach to social relationships play a role in shaping who we are. As humans beings we are social creatures… we strive on social interactions and require positive relationships in order to maintain happiness and optimal emotional health. The people in our lives have the power to enhance our progress on our constantly evolving journey towards health. Positive relationships should encourage us to pursue happiness through self-acceptance and healthy choices. We need these relationships.                  

Keeping in mind the prompt for this post and the fact that I am actually being graded on this assignment I must link my personal reflection back to this weeks class reading.  Once again I will examine this concept of relationships. Our need for healthy relationships extends beyond the limits of our personal lives. Professional relationships are arguably the most essential component affecting satisfaction in the workplace.  Strong positive relationships at work lead to success but also happiness.  This means open communication and mutual relationships that are built on trust and understanding. Through entrusting much responsibility on its employees and rewarding them with many benefits Zappos shoe company is the epitome of successful company focused on the individuals and how relationships have the power to positively impact the company as a whole. IN contrast the point I made previously regarding relationships and our desire to be something (healthy) for others, parallels a more classical approach to communication. This form is focused on rules and hierarchies and it tends to disregard the needs and desires of the individuals. People`s individual needs and happiness are of little concern when compared to the overall progress of the organization as a whole.  I think of this lack of respect and concern for the individuals needs as a representation of ignorance. Ignorance similar to that of an individual who ignores their internal cues in favor of presenting themselves, to others,  in the most favorable way possible.

When surrounded by people you enjoy being with and people who poses the potential to have appositive impact on your life, happiness becomes a natural consequence.  Thus enhancing our journey and progress towards self-discovery and attaining optimal health and wellness.