Do you consider yourself healthy? Is your spouse healthy? Are your closest friends healthy? Are your children healthy? What about your coworkers? Your siblings? Your parents?If you tried to answer that question for anyone other than yourself, you probably had a hard time giving something other than your best guess. After all, it’s their body. It’s their fitness level. It’s their stress level. It’s their sleep habits. And there are probably many personal health issues they deal with that you have no idea about. While a person’s quality of health is certainly objective in some ways (test results from the doctor, or the outcome of a surgery), a larger component is our personal subjective evaluation of our own quality of health.
If I were to ask you to rate your overall health on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most healthy you’ve ever been, you’d probably take a quick “mental inventory” of a few things (your weight, blood pressure, energy level, eating habits), and then assign yourself a number. Now, if I were to ask someone else to do the same thing, chances are their “mental inventory” would be different than yours. They may consider their sleep habits, their stress over money issues, their resentment toward their job, and their general sense of “well-being.” Not only do we all assess our health in infinite ways, but one man’s “5” might be another woman’s “8.”
My point is not to state the obvious: “we’re all different,” but to get you thinking about your quality of health in broader terms. There is great value in being able to see how all aspects of our lifestyle are connected. In reality, your health is more than your BMI and blood pressure. Consider the following questions:
How do your sleep habits affect your job performance, your relationship with others, or your general moods?
Who were you with when you last felt energized and alive? Where were you? What were you doing?
Have you noticed patterns with your eating habits? If you tend to overeat, is it connection with a specific emotion or even a specific person you spend time with?
How do you feel when you’re experiencing financial struggles? Do those struggles affect how you take care of yourself in general?
When you’re feeling “spiritually in-tune,” what does the rest of your life look like? How does your body feel? How does your thinking change?
Here’s an exercise to get those “broader connections” rolling:
On a large piece of paper, write the following category headings: physical, nutritional, emotional, financial, spiritual, family/relationships, and professional (add more if you’d like to). Write how you currently feel about each aspect of your life (you can write this beneath each heading). Write general statements (feeling bad) as well as specific details (felt like my speech last week was horrible and I made a fool out of myself in front of my coworkers).Take a break and come back to it, see if you’ve missed any other observations. Then begin to look for patterns. Do you notice that your professional and nutritional categories show a connection? Can you see certain areas that routinely seem positive, yet you’re not sure why?
The key is to be honest with this exercise. This is the first step to finding the keys to living your “Optimum Life.” Eventually you’ll be able to formulate strategies based on these connections. The end goal is to find balance where all areas are concerned.
So now, on a scale of 1 to 10... How’s your HEALTH?