I have begun to research wellness in the workplace programs and I see programs to encourage a healthy diet, exercise and social activities. It’s a good beginning and I applaud the organizations that are beginning to think about this and offer these programs but it occurred to me that we have a lot to learn about wellness. Do we even know what real wellness is? If everyone’s eating in a healthy way and exercising, does that cover it? Isn’t that just technically functioning better? What is at the heart of real wellness? What does any of this have to do with an elephant farting? I’ll get to that soon.
I think we can learn a lot about real wellness through our approach to children. As always, all real wisdom originates here 😉 When we have kids, at some point, many of us send them to some kind of organization that cares for them or offers programs such as daycare or a school and if we as parents discover that our children aren’t being treated with compassion and understanding, a natural response would be to either remove the child from the situation or to ensure that this issue is fully addressed to our satisfaction. I think we can all agree that this is an acceptable and healthy response to this kind of situation. So, my question to you is, at what age is it acceptable for a person to be immersed in or exposed to an environment that is not understanding and compassionate? Is it ever a good idea to do this? It’s important to think about it because this question is at the very heart of genuine wellness.
We know what a healthy environment looks like without a doubt when it comes to children. I think most of us can agree that it’s a matter of well-being for a child to be in an environment that respects their individual needs, that fosters their growth and that is compassionate and understanding. So, at what age does this no longer apply? I have to wonder if this is what teenaged angst is all about. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Does a child start to sense these eroding values as they grow older? I’m sure they do. Is it ever a good thing to expose anyone to an environment that isn’t healthy or ‘well’ in this way? Ah but that’s just the way it is right? And this is the farting elephant in the room because even though we’ve become used to the smell, it’s more than unpleasant. In fact, the fumes it’s emitting are causing great harm in our world and the remedy is right under our noses. Real wellness requires care and fostering that care through good relationships beginning with the relationship we have with ourselves, which impacts our relationship with others and with the world around us.
This has become clear to many of us who have taken it upon ourselves to become well. Many of us who have done this, have done so because of the illnesses that have forced us to make this a priority in our lives. And looking at the collective issue of depression, anxiety, addictions and other growing mental and emotional illness epidemics worldwide, I think it is an indicator that it’s time for us to move in the direction of wellness, collectively. So let’s get back to the organizational or institutional level of wellness. Let’s think of an organization in terms of it being an individual entity and the first indicator of well-being within this entity is it’s relationship with itself. What does it-self consist of? It’s employees, management, board and their relationship to one another and to the world. So let’s begin with the immediate self, which reflects outward: the people and relationships that make up the environment of the entity or organization. Is there an atmosphere of self-acceptance, trust and compassion within which it exists? This is the very beginning of establishing wellness. As with an individual, the inner atmosphere is most important. Is it open? Is it compassionate? Is it authentic? Once we answer questions like this, we can begin to make the appropriate changes to create an inner-atmosphere that embodies true wellness, which is reflected outward. This inner-atmosphere, if it’s truly healthy, will inspire better relationships and will provide an opportunity for unprecedented growth. This kind of growth is not only measured on a spreadsheet it is felt in so many ways, on many levels and it will influence and inspire the kind of changes in this world that benefit everyone.