Any time an individual begins a so called "health journey" they often have the immediate realization of the weakness of their will power. As we draw to the close of our day, we wish to present you with our No Excuses November wellness challenge for DAY SEVEN & EIGHT • Testing your temperance, which is a crucial point and one necessary for you to achieve your goals. Temperance (a.k.a. self control) is defined as "moderation or voluntary self-restraint." Practicing temperance will help ensure you are able to beat your own worst enemy -- self. But how can this be done? We'll tell you in just a moment.
First we would like to ask you, what is "wellness"? Merriam-Webster's definition reads, "the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal," and we think that's a pretty fair verbal depiction. Knowing this, what then will drive you to attain the epitome of wellness? Your mind -- your thoughts, your beliefs, and your values all drive you in the direction of your destination. "Whatever you think, you believe; whatever you believe, you become" is a powerful visual of your reality. Why? Our thoughts produce our beliefs, and our beliefs produce our actions. If you believe in your heart that Twinkies are healthy, then there is nothing in your thoughts to stop you from eating them. It is time to sit down and be serious with yourself about your present thoughts. Are they true? Accurate? Backed by solid science? Does the current state of your health prove that you are the epitome of wellness? If not, then which of your current thoughts or beliefs are inaccurate? Take a moment, grab your pen and paper and start scribbling your thoughts and beliefs about "wellness". Then add your present state of wellness to your scribbles, be sure to include your current actions towards wellness (a few writing prompts are included below). When you are through, join us on a brief journey further into your inner workings.
There is a marvelous teeny little part of our brain that has BIG power to determine our wellness. "Whatever a man thinks in his heart, so is he," is a well known proverb that has modern scientific evidence to prove its worth. The hypothalamus "links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland." "That's great," you say, "but what does that mean?" It means that our hypothalamus has the capacity to literally take our thoughts and produce chemical instructions within our body to make our physical body line up with the thoughts we think. For example, if we think in our heart, "I am dying," our body will literally begin to produce chemical signals that direct our physical body to follow the direction of that thought! That's incredibly powerful information. No wonder scientists have stated that 90% of all disease begins in the mind! What happens then, if we determine to think positive thoughts? "I WILL succeed." "I CAN do this." "I am getting BETTER." "I am WORTH it!" You do the math -- if negative thoughts produce negative results in the body, positive thoughts will ultimately produce positive results. It's all in the thoughts you allow yourself to think!
What does this have to do with temperance? Temperance, or voluntary self restraint, is a result of our thoughts. When we think something is good for us, our hypothalamus will ultimately lead us to choose the path of that which we think is good. When we think something is bad for us, our hypothalamus will ultimately lead us to avoid the path of that which we think is bad. Our thoughts produce our beliefs which produce our actions. If our actions are not lining up with what we believe is best, then it's very likely we have inaccurate thoughts (small or large) blocking the path to our success. If we believe exercise is good, but we fail to exercise, then it's likely we have little thoughts like, "I don't feel like exercising right now," or "I'd rather watch the rest of this show first." Which, in turn, inhibits our actions from having a straight shot at success. Look at your thought list again. Do you have false thoughts causing you to compromise? "Just this once." "It's a special event." "I just don't care today." "I'll be good tomorrow." "It's just a little piece." By evaluating or "testing" our thoughts, we indirectly test our temperance or self control. If we lack self control, it is our thoughts which are the culprit.
The most important challenge you will ever have in achieving wellness is the battle over your thoughts. Replacing false or negative thoughts with true and positive thoughts is the only way you will gain control of your self and be able to successfully practice the art of temperance. The good news is that it IS possible, it simply takes being more aware of the thoughts that drive your actions. Truth, when you think it, will become a belief, and that belief will become an action, and that action will set you free -- free from the "old me."
Analyzing My Thoughts
If you have trouble analyzing your thoughts on your own, the following questions may help you get started.
What is "wellness" to me?
Is my family the epitome of wellness?
What are my family's health habits now?
What are my health habits now?
Is my Wheel of Health able to roll (see DAY ONE)?
What are my strengths and weaknesses?
What are my "triggers"?
What social support do I have?
False Thoughts in My Family
Something else you may wish to seriously consider is the topic of your family history. Our family is typically the source of our core beliefs and values; our morals, our habits, our view of ourselves and our world. Our families do all they can to raise us right, but sometimes we grow up in situations where the beliefs that are imparted to us aren't entirely accurate, and sometimes they can be downright wrong or even harmful to us. One area of discussion that is often overlooked when confronting our "inherited thoughts" is that of health and wellness -- particularly in the area of nutrition. My family, for example, is largely German in heritage, and what was considered to be "healthy" food in the era which my great grandparents were raised in has since been proven not to be the best for my health or that of my family in our current age. Why? Instead of being a hardy labor force, full of farmers and herders, a great many of us now sit or are relatively idle during the majority of our waking hours in comparison to our ancestors. My present lifestyle habits required me to make some significant changes in order to improve my health, and once I committed to these beliefs, the journey became so much easier for me. At first, there was resistance to my wanting to change family traditions (not only from my family members, but myself as well!). Once people began to see how much my health improved though, they began asking questions wanting to know how they could change their lifestyle too. The thoughts and experiences I shared, in turn, began to bridge the gap for others to find wellness for themselves, and since that time, the wave has continued to roll. It's important to remember that it all begins with our thoughts, if you are leery of starting big, then start small. Either way, your life is sure to improve.
Thus far, the intensity of our wellness trek has been relatively mild. Water, Air, Rest, and the bare bones of Nutrition. From here on out, we will begin to pick up the pace. Be certain to evaluate any issues you may have with Temperance over the next two days. And by all means, feel free to share thoughts of those things which have helped you!
NOTICE: The information provided herein is meant for educational purposes only. We accept no liability for your use of the information provided. As always, use your best judgment and if in doubt, please consult your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.