The vast majority of the workshops I am asked to conduct throughout Canada and the U.S.A. have to do with humor and wellness. It is quite obvious to me that a huge number of people in education, business, the professions and in private life are unwell and want to do something to improve the situation.
There was a survey done here in Canada within the past year, the results of which were interesting. There was an overwhelming consensus, among those surveyed, that stress was the leading cause of their unwellness. When polled as to the source of their stress 14 percent said, their children, 22 percent said, finances and 45 percent indicated, their work. What was more disturbing was the fact that 10 percent of those surveyed admitted to considering doing physical harm to their supervisors. 25 percent of respondents agreed that stress is having a serious negative impact on their sex life.
When you analyse the results of this survey with an awareness of the fact that depression, anxiety, worry and fear are plaguing people everywhere we see a serious need for wellness.
Let me briefly outline the basics of wellness for you with the encouragement to commit yourself to creating your own individual program. The important word here is commitment. Do it and stick to it!
* Humor: Learn to laugh… A LOT! The physical and psycho-social benefits of laughter are clear. Live better, laugh more. Laughter, if not the best medicine, is certainly very good medicine.
* Attitude: Behaviour is attitude in action. Positive attitudes result in positive behaviour while negative attitudes result in negative behaviour. When you change your attitude, you can change your life. Develop positive attitudes and you begin to live in the brilliance of the healthy emotions they produce.
* Relaxation: Learn the restorative art of positive relaxation. Make time each day to rest your mind and body completely for, at least, 20 minutes. You can relax sitting in a chair or lying down. Just do it. You begin by closing your eyes and taking three, deep, slow breaths. As your exhale feel and visualize your body and mind letting go and peace and tranquillity rushing in and dwelling within you.
* Exercise: Get moving, physically. Start by going for a walk. Gradually increase the time, distance and speed of your walk. I like the old saying, “In the morning work awhile. In the afternoon rest awhile and after dinner walk a mile? Walking has been called nature’s tranquillizer for good reason. Great things happen when we go for a walk. As your fitness improves you might want to include other exercises. This is fine, providing you check it out with your family doctor first.
*Diet: People in North America today are overfed, undernourished and overweight. We consume far too much sugar, fat, and empty carbohydrates. When you combine this with increased stress and lack of exercise it becomes clear why we aren’t well. Something as simple as cutting down on non-nourishing foods and increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables we consume can be a good first step towards wellness. At present, I am trying to eat three nourishing meals a day and that’s it. If I do get the urge for a snack I am trying to make it fruit. Notice I use the word trying. When I fail I don’t beat myself up, I just start trying all over again. It is important to be moving in the direction. of wellness.
In your entire wellness program remember that it isn’t perfection that we are trying to achieve, its improvement. We don’t want to become so fixated on wellness that our quest for wellness becomes a health problem. “There is