First let us look at the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of wellness - ' The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.' and ‘a healthcare system focused on wellness, not sickness’. Next a definition of health: 'The state of being free from illness or injury' and 'A person's mental or physical condition.'
So often we simplify our understanding of health and define it by its antithesis, to be ill. So, if we aren't 'ill' that makes us 'well'. I recently read an article that looks beyond this idea and broadens the approach we can take towards our 'well-being', hopefully helping us to consider the choices we make and why we make them:
'Wellness is not about whether a person has a disease. It is about the internal experiences of their bodies and the ability to make constructive choices, based on their abilities to enjoy life and be well.
Wellness is that state of concern in which you are relatively invincible, nothing can ruin your day, you feel alive, vital and confident and experience a high state of well-being.' *
Understanding wellness in this perspective can open up questions about our daily lives; do we make decisions that best suit us, or are the kindest options for us? Do we choose the paths of least resistance because ease is preferable to challenge? Where is the balance in our lives? Are we satisfied by the choices that we make and do we feel assured that these choices best contribute to our individual and also the well-being of others? Hopefully, we mostly feel great, satisfied and content; grateful to ourselves for making this our regular experience.
I write this without an intention of offering answers, everyone of us will have a different set of requirements, my intention is to encourage everyone to value their bodies and minds and feel to well. You deserve to feel great most of the time, and be confident in the knowledge that it is down to the choices that you make!
Remember to give yourself space to reason and evaluate. A massage might be something that sustains personal wellness acting as a gift to the body and mind.
Massage relaxes the central nervous system and as a result can change the hormones released in your body. Studies show that after a massage the levels of dopamine and serotonin present in the body increase, while cortisol levels decrease.*1 Our bodies operate on feedback loops and they seek experiences and products that give us releases of dopamine and serotonin but unfortunately the mind isn't always aware of the side effects. So where that sugary snack, or cigarette might reward us with that same chemical change, our body then has to work hard to detoxify. If only our minds were able to see the bigger picture! Maybe don't wait until you feel unwell to seek out remedies. Take the choice to look after yourself daily and make healthy choices. I promise you will feel good!
Be kind. Be aware. Be well, treat yourself to the good things in life and be responsible for your own well-being. What does it mean to you?
* Author unknown
*1 Field T1, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C.'Cortisol Decreased and Serotonin and dopamine Increase Following Massage Therapy' International Journal of Neuroscience 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.