OPINION—A couple on the verge of divorce reached out to their ecclesiastical leader for support because they were so unhappy in their marriage.
During their visit, their leader asked them to help him understand what was going on. They reported a general lack of motivation and energy, which specifically affected their ability to work on their marriage. This wise leader began asking them about different areas of their life: social networks, spiritual practices, physical well-being, etc. As the couple thought about these different areas, they said they felt they had a good social network and they were trying to progress spiritually, but they admitted not taking care of themselves physically.
In fact, they said, for breakfast they usually grabbed a doughnut and a soda on their way to work. The leader asked the couple to consider the implications of their nutritional habits, and he challenged them to make a concerted effort to eat healthier.
They reported back to their leader a few weeks later and to their great happiness and surprise, their marriage was doing fantastic and they were optimistic about the future. If this leader would have told them to simply increase their spiritual practices or take a communication course (both valuable interventions in their own right), it would not have had the profound impact that changing the couple’s eating habits did.
One incredible truth portrayed in this story is that a change in one area of our life can make a huge difference in other areas of our life.
Sometimes, we are too narrow-minded in how we view health. We tend to overemphasize our physical well-being or our spiritual well-being or our emotional well-being instead of looking at our health from a comprehensive approach.
If we really want to be well, we must be balanced in the different areas of our life. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to improving wellness. Each person’s definition of optimal performance is subjective and depends on their experience and their goals. Also, each person is unique and responds differently to treatments.
It seems the current health care model is largely pathogenic in nature and largely ignores the importance of preventive practices that could alleviate certain diseases and much suffering. Each of us has goals of where we want to be in different areas of our life but in order to realize our potential, we have to be honest about where we currently are. As we engage in this introspective process, we start to see the gap that exists between where we are and where we want to be. Once that realization has been made, we can start the progress toward achieving very specific goals.
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Written by Chad Olson for St. George Health & Wellness magazine and St. George News.
- Chad Olson is a Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes in helping couples and families reach their full potential. He also helps individuals struggling with pornography addictions in their recovery. He is married and has four amazing children! Some of his favorite things to do include spending time outdoors, teaching and spending time with family.
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