Monday, February 21, 2011

Final Post

These were my ratings in Unit 3:

Based on your reflections, and on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being optimal wellbeing), where do you rate your A-physical wellbeing, B-spiritual well-being, C-psychological well-being? Why?

A: 7
B: 4-9
C: 2-8

Rating (B and C) is hard, which to me means the low scored are deserved, because I allow so much fluctuation.  I no doubt have valid reasons to be upset, but I would ideally like to see that I handle things better, or more consistently.

Here are my ratings today:

A: 8
B: 4-9
C: 5-8

Yes my scores changed J Physically, I have been exercising more and I am getting in better shape, I can see the muscles tone in my arms again, and I can run a lot longer now.  I still have some progress to make, I would like to see my muscle tone in my legs more J, then maybe I will give myself a 9.  When I look like Jillian Michaels I will be a 10! Haha!  Spiritually, they have not changed, I am in the same place, I have better days than others when I am more spiritually aware, but I have days I am not.  Psychologically, I think this is where I have improved the most.  I have really been better within my mind, I have found my mental strength.  I do still have rough days, but I am learning what makes it a rough day.  When I don’t sleep well, I have anxiety and am much more mentally weak. 

Here is my week three goals and activities:

Develop a goal for yourself in each area (physical, spiritual, psychological).

A: Exercise, three times a week minimum. 
B: Pray more, ask for the help I need.
C: Control my thoughts, stay positive and hopeful.

What activities or exercise can you implement in your life to assist in moving toward each goal?

For the exercise, I have looked up local activities and found swimming and running groups I can attend.  We just bought an elliptical machine and home gym, so I need to use them :)... For the praying, it is all within myself, I need to build on my relationship with God.  For the controlling my thoughts, this is also internal, but there are some other tools I can use, possibly seek counseling.  The tools I learn in this class and all the others are very helpful, and making more of an effort to use them would help me tremendously.

I HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!  I do exercise a lot more, mostly three times a week, but some weeks only once or twice.  I still have work to do, but I am doing wayyyy better.  I have not started praying more, but I will keep working towards it.  I have really learned how to gain control of my thoughts and have been staying positive and hopeful!

This has been one of the most influential classes I have taken in my degree program, I am kinda glad it was the last class I had to take.  I learned so much and I will be carrying it over to assist others for sure!  Making the kind of changes I want to has been hard, but I have made some change, and I am proud of what I have accomplished, and motivated to keep moving towards my goals. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Introduction:  Why is it important for health and wellness professionals to develop psychologically, spiritually and physically? What areas do you need to develop to achieve the goals you have for yourself?
I believe each is an important aspect of health, true health can not be achieved if one or more areas are not healthy.  A professional needs to live what they teach.  It gives them a deeper understanding of what they are asking of others, how these activities impact our health, and what it feels like to go through the efforts and struggles.  Dacher said in the letter to the reader of his book, Integral Health, that he had been "inadequately prepared to care for others' lives."  That is a very eye opening statement.  We go to doctors, who are truly inadequately prepared, and until we prepare ourselves, we all are inadequately prepared to care for our own lives.  It takes learning, growing, gaining knowledge, and effort.  There is more than getting an education in medicine needed to help provide care for other’s health.
Another aspect to consider is that “optimal wellness/flourishing is self cultivated rather than reliant upon extrinsic healing” (Dacher, 2006).  It takes deep work within one’s self to flourish, and this can be a never ending quest.   
I think each area is in need of development for me to achieve the goals I have.  I can use improvement in all three, psychological, spiritual, and physical.  I don’t think being completely well is possible, there will always be a higher level of wellness to work towards. 
Assessment:  How have you assessed your health in each domain? How do you score your wellness spiritually, physically, and psychologically?

On a 1-10 scale: 
Spiritually:  6-8
Physically:  8
Psychologically:  6-8 

Spiritually, I feel like I live at an 8.  But I have to add that sometimes I am at a 6, simply because I neglect looking at life in this way and get wrapped up.  I will let days pass without praying and thinking about the gratitude I have for my wonderful life.  It is always in my heart, but sometimes I don’t make enough effort to keep it in my mind.  There are opportunities to be grateful in “every moment.” (Schlitz & Amorok, 2005) 

Physically, I think I do pretty ok physically.  I exercise at least three times a week most weeks, I can run miles, not a marathon (yet), but a good distance.  I am mostly happy with my physical appearance, I wouldn’t mind a little toning in my thighs J.  I eat healthy for the most part.  I do need to increase my fruits and veggies a little more, and work on portion control at dinner.  I have the “finish the plate” syndrome.  I take pretty good care of myself.

Psychologically, I have the most struggles in this area.  I am very proud of myself for overcoming my anxiety through my own mental strength and will.  But I also don’t take enough care of my mind.  I allow myself to get too overwhelmed at times.  I allow myself to drive myself nuts at times.  It is the area that I feel I need the most focus at this time.  I gave the range of grade that I did because I am both proud of my psychological wellness (the score of 8) and also unhappy with my psychological wellness (the score of 6).       

Goal development:  List at least one goal you have for yourself in each area, Physical, Psychological (mental health) and Spiritual.

Spiritually:  I want to really connect with God each day, more than my nightly prayer.  I want to live in a state of spiritual connection and gratitude.  I want to share my spirituality with my family more. 

Physically:  I want to continue to exercise, and do it more.  I would really like to reach the level of fitness that I have potential to reach.  I want to continue to eat well, maybe even a little better.  I can use more fruits and vegetables on some days, and I suspect I don’t get enough calcium through dairy.   

Psychologically:  I want to take what I have learned and use it with mental exercises.  I want to reach towards “Olympic mental fitness.”  I think I could have a much better level of psychological wellness.  I would like to feel that I am much stronger and wiser with my psychological wellbeing.  I want to “find happiness that begins with us and then keep cultivating it until it is huge and unreserved, and does not hinder even during life’s unexpected events.”
Practices for personal health:  What strategies can you implement to foster growth in each of the following domains; Physical, Psychological, and Spiritual. Provide at least two examples of exercises or practices in each domain. Explain how you will implement each example.

Spiritually:  Prayer (#1 individual and #2 family)

Physically:  Exercise (cardio, strength, flexibility) and Nutrition (more fruits and veggies).

Psychologically:  Visualization and meditation. 

I will implement each by making efforts everyday to focus on these activities.

I plan to use Dacher’s approach as well, I think the loving-kindness activity will help me to gain strength both spiritually and psychologically.  I really appreciate the concept Dacher presents called “Skillful Action,” this is to restrain unskillful behavior and encourage skillful behavior (a similar action that was described is to become aware of and remove the cause of unnecessary suffering).  I think this is exactly how I will be able to improve my psychological health.  I have to train my mind to work in the way I want it to.  I also really appreciate and plan to use the suggestion of Dacher to use my physical workout as a time to do a mental workout as well.  I expect to see an improvement in my mental fitness when I use this time and activity for exercise both mind and body.  Dacher also points out that “psychological development becomes a springboard for spiritual development.”  I think once I reduce the mental chatter and struggles, I will be able to achieve an even deeper spiritual development, maybe one that I am currently incapable to truly understanding (Dacher, 2006).   

Commitment:  How will you assess your progress or lack of progress in the next six months? What strategies can you use to assist in maintaining your long-term practices for health and wellness?

I think I will have a mental idea of how often and effective I am with trying to do these things.  Memory.  I think it is a wiser strategy is to write my progress down, not just rely on memory.  My main strategy is to involve my family, make this a joint venture, so we all work together to have the health we desire.

I also plan to use personal vows, commitments, to myself.  I will probably say them to myself first thing each day out loud, in order to remind myself and continue to devote myself to working toward the goals I have for myself.  These vows come from Dacher, they are:

“I commit myself to:

Enter a personal process of self-development.  I recognize that this requires an inward turn that is supported by the necessary changes in my outer life and is grounded in regular contemplative practice.

Study, understand, and integrate an integral vision and its principles and practices into my personal and professional life.

To hold a vision of health and healing whose final goal is health, happiness, and wholeness – a possibility that exists for every person regardless of individual circumstances.  I recognize that health and healing is this expansive sense can continue up to and through death.

Uphold the ethical principles of a spiritual life.  In general, this can be defined as those attitudes and behaviors that serve to eliminate suffering and promote peace, health, happiness, and wholeness for ourselves and others.

Meet every individual as a unique sacred being.  The individual’s circumstance, need, temperament, and capacities will define the personalized process of health and healing.  I recognize that deep, unconditional listening is necessary to achieve this goal.

Develop through personal contemplative practice a healing presence that is acknowledging, comforting, reassuring, safe, nonjudgmental, and infused with loving-kindness.

Acknowledge and support the innate healing capacities in each individual.  I recognize that the individual is the ultimate source of his or her health and healing and the author of his or her own life.

Hold all life as unique and precious.

Serve.” (Dacher, 2006) 

These may provide a frame for the vows I will say to myself. 
One of the most significant pieces on information Dacher gave in these last reading assignments is this, "As I write this final chapter, I am painfully aware of the gap between this lofty vision and the reality of our life and our world.  Biological imperatives still have the power to pull us back to preoccupation with survival and physical needs.  Psychological conditioning can easily force us to live more instinctually than intentionally.  It is difficult to clear a new path.  Yet, here and there, we must remember to take a deep breath and to focus inward in order to remember who we really are, why I am compelled to write this book, and you to read it."  (Dacher, 2006)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week 8

The loving kindness and visualization are for sure my two most beneficial exercises.  I prefer them by far.  I think because I am a beginner I need the thought process each offers to fallow in order to benefit.  I can't not sit still in my mind yet, but these help me a little more each time to feel as though I am learning how to gain control of my thoughts.  I think this will eventually lead into being able to use the subtle mind exercise and meditation (chants and clearing the mind type of exercises) with more success. 

I have it on my to do list each day to make the time to "meditate" (mostly I mean to use some form of mental relaxation practice) and most days I take at least a few minutes.  Overall I would like to completely improve this process and have 15 minuted when I first wake up and 15 minutes before bed to use these kinds of exercises.  It takes making it happen, so I need to work harder.  I do think making it a daily event for myself will help me to foster mental fitness in an even more successful way.