Wellness: Add Some “SPICES” to Your Life

October 1, 2008 6:30 pm

Wellness is not merely the absence of disease, but a sense of overall enjoyment and satisfaction experienced in everyday life. Simply asking someone a generic question such as, “What did you do for exercise yesterday?” may not be enough to help them move towards wellness.

Instead, asking “What makes you get out of bed in the morning?” or “What excites you?” can help us connect with people on a more personal level. Such connections set the stage for success allowing us to partner with them and discover what will make their life work.

The right support allows people to move toward finding their own sense of flow—a place where success and challenge are balanced, producing an experience of effortlessness and, potentially, joy.

The recipe to create this flow is unique to every individual, but we can use a list of ingredients or “SPICES” to help discover what will assist each person to find what works for them:

  • Social
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Career
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual

When something goes wrong with any one of the “SPICES” we may find imbalance with one or more of the other “SPICES”.

For example, losing our job (career) may mean losing friends (social), creating a sense of isolation (emotional). This isolation may contribute to unhealthy eating habits causing weight gain (physical) or general malaise (spiritual). This imbalance can cause a downward spiral in mental and physical health and may greatly affect our quality of life.

Similarly, if we are struggling in one area, having success in another area may help us restore our balance. For instance, when we find the ‘love of our life’ (social), we are revitalized (emotional) and therefore more willing to find a way to afford a gym membership (physical) or fill out a job application for that dream job (career). Modest success in just one area can be the impetus that creates momentum for our whole life, creating a feeling of flow.

General examples, while helpful, may seem “Easier said then done,” for many of us. We may have good reasons to be pessimistic or fearful. Becoming hopeful and contemplating a life of balance and joy may feel like a set up for failure and disappointment. Health issues and serious mental illness may hamper our ability to look beyond the moment and hope may seem like something we can only have once we “get well”.

The key to finding balance, or even believing we are entitled to it, is very personal and may begin with asking a Wellness Specialist or trusted peer to help us.

Each of us can create our own personal recipe of daily or weekly practices that can help us think and act hopefully. These activities may be as simple as a walk in the park, as daring as trying acupuncture or as intellectually stimulating as journaling for ten minutes a day, three days a week.

Over time, and with patience, these small steps can lead to small successes that can create flow, begin to put “SPICE” back into our lives, and bring balance, wellness and even joy.

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