Sounding the way to Wellness
It is coming up on two years since the opening of Clarion Counseling & Consulting, an organization founded in the belief we can all live better, healthier lives. It has been a wonderful journey and a privilege to be of service to people and organizations across the northern plains. And now with an updated website, I will be providing regular blogs on the issues and concerns we are facing personally and in our communities. On occasion, I will have guest authors contributing blogs, and they will have the opportunity to provide their thoughts on specific issues or more global concerns.
To get things rolling, let’s look at the components which are essential to psychological good health. Researchers have typically focused on five areas of well-being: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Each of the five has its own value, and in future blogs, we will explore those values and think about how they tie into all aspects of our lives. For now, a few thoughts on each:
It almost goes without saying, but I am saying it anyway—work, for many people, has become much more sedentary and has led to phrases like “sitting is the new smoking” which I first heard at a health and wellness conference a few years ago. The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle can be seen in the dramatic increase of obesity rates in recent years. Books like “Younger Next Year” extol the virtues of exercise and good nutrition as essential to living healthier lives. Though we know there are barriers and difficulties that can get in the way of being physically well.
Ever heard someone say they’re “in a mood?”
Well, our moods are important, and being sad, depressed, or anxious is quite different from being happy, joyful, or content. And often, those moods can seem like automatic responses to the world around us. We know choice, circumstances, and what has happened to a person are all part of the emotional puzzle.
We are relational beings, and even the very introverted still need meaningful connections. How we trust and connect impacts us and makes a difference in how we thrive as human beings. During the 1950s and 60s, while doing research on primates, Harry Harlow showed us that an infant monkey without touch or connection with a meaningful caretaker would not survive. We now know children raised without a nurturing connection often grow up mistrusting others. They express tendencies to reject their own needs to love and be loved. Pause to think for a moment about the consequences of someone living a disconnected life and what the remedies are.
I was thinking about the importance of intellectual pursuits and challenges and how it connects to being engaged in our jobs. Pre-Covid, a Gallup poll found 33% of workers in the United States felt engaged in their jobs while 51% felt disengaged and 16% actively disengaged. The unhappily employed typically believe their contributions or voice did not count. Now I’m not sure what impact the increase in people being out of work or working from home will have on engagement, but clearly many employees have felt unappreciated or undervalued by their leaders. Having a voice, being listened to, and being allowed to add something of worth, for many people, is essential to have a sense of wellbeing.
What do you call someone who thinks only of themselves, has no regard for others, and gives little thought to the consequences of their actions on other people or places? Now I know some of you will immediately come up with a specific name or two - I have a couple. The idea here is not to beat up on any individual narcissist, who likely wouldn’t notice or care if you did. It’s more about the importance of having a sense of something other than yourself. It is the tie into having a meaningful life which really is only meaningful, in a good way, if others remember you as appreciative, caring, compassionate, and grateful.
Future blogs will include more thoughts and perspectives on the meaning of and practices of good health. To read them go to the Clarion Counseling & Consulting website https://www.clarioncc.net, new blogs will be posted on the first of each month. Looking forward to your comments and please contact me if you have any questions about my services or want to set up an appointment.