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Ten Steps to Health and Wellness

by Louise Claire-Pardoe and Jason Paul Claire(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 181 - April 2011


Health and Wellness
Before exploring how to achieve health and wellness through the ten steps that we present in this article, it was of great importance for us to research these terms in their essence and to place the spotlight on how they are understood in the mainstream.

10 steps to happiness

In our research, we discovered that the English word 'health' actually comes from the Old English word hale, meaning 'whole'.[1] The word was formed in prehistoric Germanic times from the adjective 'khailaz', ancestor of modern English word whole. Etymologically, health means the state of being whole.[2]

The most famous modern definition of health was created during a Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and entered into force on 7th April 1948 stating - "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". This definition has remained, unaltered, ever since.[3]

So, what of wellness? According to the Mickinley Health Centre, University of Illinois, wellness "is a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximising an individual's potential. This is a life-long process of moving towards enhancing your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental well-being".[4]

The University of East Carolina defines wellness as "the integration of mind, body and spirit......When we balance the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual and environmental aspects of life, we achieve true wellness".[5]

It is interesting to note that while the WHO defines health as being "complete physical, mental and social well-being",[3] any reference to spiritual wellness is noticeable by its absence.

Much has been written about the differences between the separatist nature of modern medicine, and the interconnectedness of holistic medicine, and we do not intend to go into great depth on this issue. However it is important to point out that in ancient times, philosophy, science, religion/spirituality were never considered as separate units, instead co-existing to create a balanced whole. This concept was considered integral in healing modalities, and healers in this epoch reported excellent results.

It was not until the 5th Century BC [6] that Hippocrates segregated the healing art from the other sciences and established the medicine that we know today. Doctors were trained only to accept what could be experienced through the 'physical' perceptions of the five primary senses, while all else was relegated to the realm of magic and mystery.

Our Story
Twenty years ago Louise contracted a life-threatening virus that attacked her heart; she flat-lined on numerous occasions as doctors tried desperately to save her. It was touch and go whether she would survive, yet through fantastic medical care and sheer determination, she pulled through, only to suffer complications several years later which would see her plunge into deep depression and suffer from agoraphobia leading her to eventually quit her job as a Careers Consultant. Louise had always been a nervous, worrisome person, but didn't consider that these characteristics would have any adverse affect on her health.

Jason too suffered from severe anxiety and depression as a result of work-place bullying and a lifetime of bullying incidents. Throughout his life, Jason had always felt the need to protect himself, yet didn't realize that this fear-based response to life was seriously affecting his health and wellbeing.

Because we didn't know any different at the time, we looked to modern medicine to heal us which it valiantly did, to a point. We underwent surgery and were sent away with packets of pills, generally considered 'fixed' from the viewpoint of today's modern medicine. Yet we still did not feel 'whole' and knew instinctively that something was missing.

Our world was home to excessive mind-chatter, and continued fears and worries. If our state of wellness had been viewed from the vantage point of holistic medicine, significant room for improvement would have been identified. Over time, the more we worried, the more our health deteriorated, and we manifested mental/emotional illness ranging from depression, anxiety and panic attacks to agoraphobia.

Thankfully, a chance meeting introduced us to the gentle energies of Reiki, and from that point our lives were transformed. So impressed by the positive impact of Reiki on our lives emotionally and physically, we enrolled on a Reiki training course, and progressed rapidly through to Mastership. This journey was one of the most emotionally and physically painful of our lives as we began to understand what healing really meant. We learnt to understand the world of the 'unseen'; resonance, energy fields, chakras and the aura, and as a result understood why negative emotions like fear and worry manifest in the form of dis-ease if ignored for long periods of time. Of course it is possible to cover these manifestations up with drugs, or cut out the offending part of the body, but does that go anywhere near identifying the true cause and therefore true healing?

This revelation led us on a journey to discover more about ancient healing modalities, spiritual philosophy, quantum physics, complementary therapy and energy medicine. We began to view the world in a totally different way, understanding that our life experiences, emotions, beliefs, socio-conditioning, environment and our general health were all an interconnected web, each dependent on the other.

At this point we truly understood what the holistic approach to medicine entailed; we got to know ourselves, and what made us 'tick'. In turn we felt empowered to regain control of our health and wellness - the natural state of every single man, woman and child alive on the planet today. After a very long journey, we finally put the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, and became whole.

Ten Steps
As a result of our journey of recovery and discovery, we are passionate about spreading the message of 'wholistic' health and wellness to others and have recently published our first book entitled The Serenity Code - a personal journey to wellness. The book covers the sixteen step stones that we took on our journey, and below we share the top ten that helped us to transform our world.

Ten Steps to Health and Wellness

1. Telling your Story
On our journey, the most important part of the healing process was to identify the places in our life that were the seed-points for the illnesses that we manifested. Through owning these experiences, we really started to heal.  By recognizing and embracing these experiences, it was no longer possible to ignore them and store them in our energy field. We realized that our biography did not have to mean our destiny; with a change of perspective, our biography has truly helped us to heal.

2. Choices
We learnt that the choices we made, positive or negative, were having a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. Making a positive choice rather than a negative one ensures that the body's chemistry remains balanced and healthy. It is well documented that a stress-based, fear response produces cortisol and adrenalin in the body, whereas a positive feeling like love, gratitude or joy stimulates the brain to produce a neuropeptide known as oxytocin.[7] Research shows that oxytocin is a cardioprotective,[7] which means that it protects the heart from damage, as it is one of the chemicals responsible for dilating the arteries, allowing easier blood flow throughout the body. When we chose a positive reaction, we were actually doing our heart a lot of good.

3. Mindfulness
Many of the choices that we made came directly from the subconscious, programmed by our cultural references, beliefs and experiences. Mindfulness is a philosophy, a way of viewing the world around us with concentrated attention on daily experiences from moment to moment. Mindfulness taught us to pay deliberate attention to what was going on in our mind, body and day-to-day life, doing this with non-judgment, compassion, love and respect, both to ourselves and others. Integrating mindfulness into daily life helped us to see things differently and move towards greater levels of health and wellness. By becoming mindful of daily thoughts and external influences in life, we discovered what caused our positive or negative emotions and began to create a new pattern of behaviour.  

4. Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs have been recently described as Memes. Memes are ideas or a pattern of thought that replicate like a virus, infiltrating and spreading,[8] unless stopped in their tracks. In this context, limiting beliefs are viruses of the mind. All those limiting beliefs were created many years ago and were allowed to replicate, infiltrate and spread, dictating to us how to live our lives. Our limiting beliefs were fear-based and extremely negative; we knew of no other way to be! Then we learnt that limiting beliefs could be eradicated, by identifying them and bringing them into the conscious awareness. We began by complimenting ourselves, and being kind to ourselves. Over time we replaced outdated beliefs with new ones that continue to support and nurture us today.

5. Energy Medicine
On our journey we learnt that our thoughts change the brain on a second-by-second basis and in turn, affect the delicate chemistry within the body. As a result, the energetic frequency of the body attracts towards it circumstances and people who resonate, like a magnet. Instead of manifesting anxiety, stress or negative emotions, we tried focusing our attention on what made us happy. At first it wasn't easy, but over time this exercise became so much easier.

6. Natural Instinct
Our natural instinct is real and guides us safely through life, yet like many people, we had learnt to ignore it. When we listened through our heart, instead of our mind, we discovered that we were being guided perfectly through life. Synchronicities happened, and everything fell into place. We no longer felt the need to control or worry. Now we listen to our instinct all the time and are guided to exactly where we need to be.

7. Listen to Your Body
We learnt that our bodies were always talking to us, and the more we learnt to listen to our natural instinct, the more we learnt to listen to our body as a whole. When we ignored the body, it shouted louder and louder until we took notice. For example, Jason knew in his heart that he should leave his old teaching job, yet his mind told him to stay. In the end he experienced a nervous breakdown and was forced to leave.

8. Acceptance, Gratitude and Letting Go
We introduced acceptance and gratitude into our daily experience, committing to letting go of anything that we couldn't influence or change. Simply by doing this, we took great pressure off ourselves and felt freer than we ever had before.

9. Everything is Perfect
When we looked back at our journey we understood that we could have never known what the 'bigger picture' was for us, so we made the decision to release any further expectations about the outcome of events. We let go and allowed the universe to paint a better picture of our world than we ever could have imagined!

10. Clearing the Body Physically
Finally, we identified activities that made our 'hearts sing', i.e., exercising, spending time in nature, healthy eating. We listened to our bodies and ensured we received plenty of rest, sleep and wholesome food.

Without a doubt, the journey that we took from illness to wellness fundamentally changed our lives. The view of the world we had before no longer exists; we gave up our jobs, sold possessions, and integrated our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves. Each day we look forward with gratitude and love to whatever the universe brings our way. We believe that every human being possesses a natural state of health and wellness; the 'wholistic' approach is the key.

References:
1.    Ted Peters. Science, Theology and Ethics. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. UK. pp279. ISBN 978-0754608257. 2003.
2.    www.word-origins.com/definition/health.html
3.    Christian Nordqvist.What Is Health? www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999.php  21/05/2009.
4.    Mckinley Health Centre, What Is Wellness? www.mckinley.illinois.edu/units/health_ed/wellness.htm   
5.    East Carolina University, Campus Wellness Division. What Is Wellness?
www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/campuswellness/what-is-wellness.cfm  
6.    Tracy Latz MD PhD. The Future of Medicine and Medical Training: A Return to Holistic Hermetic Medical Principles. www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-future-of-medicine-medical-training-a-return-to-holistic-hermetic-medical-principles  2010.
7.    Dr David Hamilton, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, workshop 2010.
8.    Urban Dictionary - www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meme   
www.ecu.edu/cs-studentlife/campuswellness/what-is-wellness.cfm

About the Authors
Louise and Jason are authors of The Serenity Code and founders of the DiscoverSerenity Holistic Solutions Training School and Therapy Centre. As Trainers and Wellbeing Specialists they have worked successfully with hundreds of people supporting them to rediscover their own health and wellbeing through training, therapies, books, healing art and inspirational talks. Their life purpose is to support people to see that they are magnificent! They may be contacted via info@discoverserenity.co.uk   www.discoverserenity.co.uk  

Further Information
Louise and Jason run DiscoverSerenity Holistic Solutions and have just published their first book, The Serenity Code: a personal journey to wellness (HotHive 2010), available from www.thehothive.com , www.Amazon.co.uk . or all good bookstores. For more information and signed copies of The Serenity Code, please visit www.discoverserenity.co.uk


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About Louise Claire-Pardoe and Jason Paul Claire

Louise Claire-Pardoe VTCT AAMET EFT BA(Hons) DipCEIG INLPTA

Louise has been working within the caring professions since the late 1990s as a Careers Guidance Advisor, Coach and Complementary Therapist & Trainer. Her life's work now focuses on supporting people to rediscover their health and wellbeing; making an incredible recovery from the brink of death at the age of 18, learning to reclaim her life from deep depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. She gently empowers people to understand that allowing a change of perspective and outlook on life can be the key to peace, health and wellbeing. Louise may be contacted on louise@thehothive.com    www.discoverserenity.co.uk

Jason Paul Claire

Jason began his own healing journey in the late 1990s, discovering complementary therapies to support him in his then role as a teacher in further education. He experienced extreme levels of stress which eventually led to a nervous breakdown. Using his understanding of complementary therapies combined with the philosophies of ancient people, Jason began the journey deep within himself to rediscover his own health and wellbeing. He uncovered his unique gifts as an intuitive and artist and now specializes in supporting people living with work related stress, through healing art, soul readings and self-development workshops.  Jason may be contacted on info@discoverserenity.co.uk    www.discoverserenity.co.uk

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