When reflecting what wellness is, the definition says: “the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health, especially as the result of deliberate effort”- Google search, 2015.
I would like to add the third component of wellness as being the spirit as well. Wellness is balancing these three areas in all aspects of one’s life. Perhaps one of the most important pieces of wellness resides in the mind. Being mindful is important for anyone, but especially to a Type 1 Diabetic. A healthy mind requires a certain nimbleness and resistance to single minded views about one way to treat or manage this disease. As new information is introduced, shifting ones belief, or paradigm, has an opportunity to occur. So much of T1D involves following the numbers, obeying the paradigms of research, and judge ‘success’ or ‘failure’ on these predetermined paths. One ought to believe “everything is the same until it is not” (Langer,1997, p. 5).
A healthy mind may require one to adopt and adapt new information to be useful for the individual. This term is called mindful learning and has three characteristics “the continuous creation of new catagories, openness to new information, and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective” (Langer, 1997, p. 4). When I struggle to find balance in my disease I tend to resist new ideas or techniques to help manage the numbers. Mental acuity may be helpful for lowering frustrations I experience when my disease does not follow the proper grids set up by researchers or the medical community or feel like I have failed because my numbers are outside the recommended levels.
A mindful person, who has diabetes, will tend to shy away from absolutes in his or her disease or it may drive him or her crazy. A mindful person potentially may increase the sense of contentment and peace when he/she is comfortable with information provided, by others, on management and techniques. For each of us it is important to keep in mind, “it is easier to learn something the first time than it is to unlearn it and then learn it differently” (Langer, 1997, p. 85).
If my mind is allowed to become lazy, I have discovered it affects every aspect of my wellness. Physically, I become lazy and put on weight. The attitude becomes there is no managing this disease the ‘right’ way so why even try? Once I put on weight, my blood sugars spike and my insulin intake goes up, thus creating more discouragment, higher costs, and less control of the disease. I tend to sit on the couch and do nothing exacerbating everything. I have discovered a healthy mind may just drive all the other components to wellness. It seems to be the case in every aspect of my life, a healthy mind equates to a healthy body (in the food I eat) and a healthy spirit (my personal beliefs).
Google Search Engine, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.google.com, define wellness.
Langer, E., 1997. The Power of Mindful Learning, Cambridge, MA. De Capo Press.