From Illness to Wellness

Most people who know me, know that I am an avid reader of spiritual, psychological and health & wellness books.  A book I frequently use in my work is “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.  The title isn’t so appealing to most lay people, but the content is a treasure for all humans who endeavor to live life with fullness and passion.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not about sex, but living according to the practices will certainly improve all relationships, especially intimate ones.  During a recent perusing of the pages (as I often read tidbits from my favorite books each evening), I was caught by a quote that says, “Don’t do anything that is not play.”  And he really means ANYTHING!  I have read those words before, but this time it hit me differently because I’m in a different place in my life and what I consider play has changed dramatically.  We are programmed to “work” hard at everything and believe that having success, fame or a relationship will bring us joy and happiness.  However, those who actually have money, success, fame or great relationships and are truly happy, healthy and fulfilled would probably not chalk it up to hard work alone.  Most would say they loved the journey and had fun.  The connection between emotional wellness and physical health are well known in health psychology and related fields.  Since humans are social animals it is no surprise to know that healthy relationships can provide deep fulfillment and unhealthy relationships can cause deep pain.  Here is an exercise to help you understand the values behind how you choose to spend your time and energy:

  1. Make a list everything you do that you do not consider “play”
  2. Rewrite each item as: “I choose to_________”
  3. Acknowledge the intent behind your choice  and rewrite again as:  “I chose to _____________ because _____________”

So what is the difference between illness and wellness?  It’s as simple as the difference between “I” and “We”.

Dr. Patricia Shutt is Co-Founder and Clinical Psychologist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches in Delray Beach, Florida where she helps clients achieve lifelong wellness.  For more information, call  (561) 278-6033.

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