We have been experiencing an intense focus on “wellness” for close to a decade now, but it seems little has been done to really improve health and well being in this country.
Many corporations have gotten on the buy reshi bandwagon as a way of adding value to the employee package and hopefully limiting health care costs. Some programs include onsite medical care and bag lunch classes on nutrition and exercise. Very progressive programs may have lifestyle consultants or personal coaches. But most merely house onsite exercise equipment that employees may use in spare time.
Unfortunately, these elements do little to improve overall health and well being except for the most avid and health conscious employees. Why? Because physical condition and nutritional intake is only a small part of the whole person.
The number one killer in this country is heart disease. Yes, food and exercise play a part in maintaining health. Obesity is a health issue. But a major cause of heart disease as well as many other chronic and deadly illnesses, is chronic stress. How many people even know exactly what stress is and what it does? The fact is, if strenuous exercise is the only solution used for stress, it can be deadly.
Wellness programs would be much more effective if employees were given concrete information regarding stress, what it is, how it impacts the body and mind, and what they could do about it.
Employees would benefit from understanding that the source of their stress is not lack of exercise, but emotion resulting from real life problems. Problems including relationship conflict, finances, parenting, life/work balance, negative thinking, and other issues cannot be solved merely through meditation, relaxation, exercise or a hot bath. Stress producing problems must be solved and they can be eliminated. They are the source of life-threatening chronic stress.
Most of us struggle with one thing or another. If finances are a problem, a better solution is to find an expert who can help us reach financial health. If relationship conflict is a problem, it is more helpful to find a coach or therapist to teach effective relationship skills and move us toward relationship health. If you are stressed due to lack of time, it is more helpful to learn time management skills and balance your life. Most of us weren’t taught these skills growing up. We cannot be expected to know what we never learned. But we can be expected to identify and find solutions to our own stress related problems.
I see this all the time with clients who come in with depression, anxiety, anger management problems or other stress related issues. In some cases these individuals work out religiously and have healthy eating habits.