Health And Wellness

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The pursuit of physical health and wellness is, of course, as old as mankind. The more affluent the society, the more obsessive the pursuit. In the last hundred years, the West has tackled it quantitatively, scientifically, empirically, and mathematically. For a far greater time, the East has approached it holistically. But everyone is after the same thing: health and wellness.

Health and Wellness Defined

Not to point a finger of blame, but the French philosopher Rene Descartes did isolate mind from body in the 17th century. This is what characterized the Western approach to life and medicine and science up through the 20th century. It is still our manner of thought, particularly in the context of health and wellness.

Fortunately, we are moving away (however slowly) from that limited view. Common sense and consensus dictate fresh air, plenty of rest, clean water, and a balanced nutritional diet and plenty of exercise, avoiding pollutants, minimizing stress, and maintaining positive relationships. Are these almost platitudes? Yes, they are, though they are not the whole story.

To a very large extent, we are as well as we want to be. Our body (that is, our health) reflects the connection between our mind and our emotions. When we are angry or stressed or overworked, for example, the negativity affects our body chemistry and in turn our immune system. Behold: cold and flu, exhaustion and sickness. Optimal health and wellness are a composite. Not what Descartes, swayed perhaps by the enthusiasm in the age of scientific discovery in which he lived, could have separated out into clinical compartments of a mathematical formula.


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