Finding a balance in wellness

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • "Whole" is such a health buzz word right now. As in Whole Foods, Wholesome…


    But if you stop and think about what "Whole Health" really means, consider this: A healthy body, in and of itself, does not equal whole health. A healthy mind doesn't either. Healthy emotions do not provide the whole of health; a healthy spiritual life - alone, this also does not.


    But together? We just might have it.


    I've often read and heard spiritual leaders talk about how we are not a body; we are a soul. But we also have a body. And the mind and our emotions are real, too. All of these make up the full human experience; if any one of these gets out of whack, whole health is compromised.

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    The problem is: It is way too easy (and natural) to let one of these essential components of humanity take over and throw the rest completely out of balance. I know, believe me.


    I was in a super hard Monday exercise class when it hit me. I was about 45 minutes into an hour of doing cardio mixed with strength and core training. I was mid-split jump lunges when I thought "I need to stop." I wouldn't say I was in pain - I would say I hit a threshold that I knew was pushing the limits of what I was comfortable with. Before I let myself stop, I realized that I was at what trainers tell us is the critical point: It's here, when you push past the point of comfort that growth often occurs.


    I also realized that I wasn't completely focused on the task at hand - my mind had begun wandering to other things: what I needed to accomplish at work that day, what a friend I hadn't spoken to in a few days was doing…you know, just wandering to other stuff. As I was thinking and attempting to do the focus-requiring exercise, I was unable to give it my all. My body was literally giving out on me because my mind had checked out on the task at hand.


    That's when I had the insight.


    We simply cannot operate on full cylinders with all of our essential components, all the time. We are not designed that way. We need to ensure adequate time and attention to each, to ensure optimal benefit to all.


    If you've ever noticed people who are really, really into exercising - it can become their focus, right? Like it's the only thing that matters. It becomes the key to life: without The Routine, functioning becomes difficult. They swear by it: I need my Routine and that's what keeps me sane, functioning, whole.


    For others, the intellectuals, they might say the same thing about thinking. I think, therefore I am. For the emotional crew, delving into emotion after emotion - the rollercoaster of how one feels - is all that matters. And then we have the spiritual bunch - so totally and completely committed to a higher purpose that perhaps daily life functioning becomes dysfunctional?


    We are each born with a unique blueprint - some of us are more naturally inclined towards athletics while others are drawn more toward intellectual pursuits. Some of us have a depth of caring and breadth of loving heart that would leave a sense of coldness if not around.


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    And, as I mentioned a bit earlier, what isn't easy or "natural" for us can be uncomfortable (or even hurt) at the point of growth. We feel like we have to stop - return to the comfort zone.


    In working to balance all of these components, some we will naturally lean in towards; others we may need to work harder at embracing. Or, we can stop at the point of discomfort. But what will happen, then, to growth?


    For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. 

Published On: May 10, 2013