Wellness is feeling good about self with respect to the body, the mind, and the soul. Wellness may be synonymous with happiness. But happiness is too abstract and subjective: what makes one individual happy may not necessarily make another happy.
What makes you happy? A successful career, satisfying relationships, good health, or material possessions? Which one, or all of those? No matter what, wellness is what makes you feel good about yourself.
Wellness needs wisdom. Without wisdom in wellness, you will not experience lasting well-being. Without wellness wisdom, your pursuit of life goals may be like chasing the wind-going nowhere.
Wisdom in wellness involves wisdom of the mind, the body, and the soul. They are all inter-related and inter-dependent on one another. For example, if you have satisfying relationships but your health is rapidly deteriorating, you will not feel well; or if you have a successful career but are emotionally distressed, you will not be in good spirit. Therefore, the overall wellness is contingent on the holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. To cherish and nourish this holistic wellness, your need wellness wisdom, which holds the key to happiness and well-being of any individual.
Which is the most important: wisdom in wellness of the body, the mind, or the soul?
Wellness begins with the mind first, and not the body or the soul. After all, you are what you have become by reason of your thinking. You are a summary of your thoughts, which make you who you are or what you have now become. Your past experiences and your perceptions of those experiences have “preconditioned” how you think. In other words, your background, and upbringing predetermine how your mind perceives your present life experiences. Given that your past exposure might not be telling you the whole truth, you, therefore, need wisdom to “empty” your mind and re-define your current mindset. That is to say, you must learn how to think — something that few people do because thinking is hard, according to Albert Einstein.
You are living in a physical world, and your life experiences are perceived by your body through the five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching). But these sensations may be positively or negatively interpreted by the mind, which stores past experiences of those sensations of body in both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The former voluntarily accepts or rejects those sensations, while the latter involuntarily includes whatever the subconscious mind is exposed to. It is your subconscious mind that often directs and controls your conscious mind. To illustrate, if your subconscious mind is often exposed to “French fries,” it will control your conscious mind in the form of craving for your French fries.
Given that your mind controls and determines your actions taken by your body, and these actions play a pivotal role in the wellness of your body, you need wellness wisdom of the mind. Essentially, wellness wisdom of the mind is the capability to separate the truths from the myths, and to empty a preconditioned mind, such as extra effort will bring success in life. Most importantly, wellness of the mind is the ability to live in the present moment. We are living in an age of speed. As a result, many of us have developed a compulsive mind that does not stay in the present moment: the mind constantly shifts between the past and the future. A compulsive mind often projects past thoughts into the future. If those thoughts are pleasant, there is also the anticipation to repeat them in the future; on the other hand, if those thoughts are unpleasant, there is then the desire to avoid them in the future. Both the anticipation and the desire lead to picking and choosing, resulting in stress, disappointment, and regret, among other negative feelings, which become toxic desires and thoughts that infest the wellness of the mind. Living in the present quiets a compulsive mind, and thus holding an important key to wellness wisdom of the mind.
When the mind is in control of the body, the body attains wellness. When the body is in control of the mind with its toxic desires and thoughts through the five senses, the mind becomes poisoned and incapacitated.
Your mind and your body have a close bondage in that your mental state affects your physical well-being. This body-mind wellness has been the foundation of Oriental medicine for centuries. For example, your heart is more than just a circulatory pump. To the Chinese, the “heart” is an organ of “thinking” (there is the expression: “think with your heart”), which means your heart is a storage of your thoughts and emotions, and hence is responsible for any positive or negative impact on the beating of your heart, or, more specifically, on your heart health.
Not until recently did modern Western medicine begin to recognize the dynamic relationship between the mind and physical illness. William Harvey was the first scientist to establish a link between the heart and the mind, or body-mind medicine. He said: “Every affection of the mind, that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart.” Now, there is even “psychoneuroimmunology” which is the study of how the mind, the brain, and the immune system affect one another in terms of overall health.
Your emotions can have a significant impact on your overall health in terms of regulating your blood pressure and heart beat and rhythm through the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. In addition, your negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety, can adversely affect your cardiovascular system through the release of hormones, such as adrenaline and non-adrenaline, which can cause blood clotting and hardening of arteries.
Ideally, the mind should control the body in order to maintain body-mind wellness. In reality, however, this is generally not the case. You are living in the physical world, and your body is constantly exposed to toxic desires and thoughts of the flesh. To help the mind to maintain and sustain its control over the body, you need wellness of the soul. The soul is like a compass to guide the body; without the former, the latter is going nowhere. But the soul is passive in that it will not provide the guidance unless the mind purposely seeks it. Therefore, the mind must seek the soul for help and guidance.
To conclude, the soul is the most important component in wellness wisdom, but it all begins with the mind first-the mind to seek wellness wisdom to control the body with the help of the soul. The mind cannot do everything on its own.