I read a book by Kelly Brogan, MD called A Mind of Your Own. In the early part of the book she asks you to think about a person you know who is radiently healthy and describe them. Your intuition likely tells you that this person sleeps and eats well, finds purpose in their life, is active and fit and finds time to relax and recover mindfully. The more I pictured this imaginary vibrantly healthy person it was easy to add other traits they had to embody. This person must have beautiful skin, hair, and nails, a small waistline and white teeth. They probably love to cook and have their own garden and so on.
The author then asks for you to think about a person who you feel is unhealthy and describe them. I pictured an overweight middle aged individual waking up with dirty sheets and a messy room lighting up a cigerette before brushing thier teeth. Popping a bunch of perscription pills and bullying thier way through the day with caffine and sugar feeling anxioius and isolated and driking themselves to sleep at night.
Yet when I asked myself to think of an ACTUAL person I knew who I felt embodied health and vitality I realized that this healthy person was more a blend of each of these extremes. I know plenty of woman at the gym who look like olympic athletes, eat balanced nutrient dense meals, give back tirelessly to those in need and love thier jobs. Yet those same individuals struggle with stress, feel depressed and anxious, drink wine before bed to eliminate the endless tossing and turning, and worry their marriage is crumbling.
I began to ask myself what the true definition of a vibrantly healthy person really is. After more thought I revised my definition with different attributes. So let me start again…
My intuition tells me that this vibrantly healthy person is always working to be better. They believe that success comes from the journey. They work hard to surround themselves with a community that brings them happiness, fullfillment and success. They understand that mistakes and failures are the gifts that promote the greatest change and learning opportunities. They beleive in their ability to be successful in life. They show up. They try hard. They have fun. They have meaningful connections to others. They nourish themselves. They give love to others. They feel loved. They lean into the tough times. They are spiritual. They ask for help. They are self aware. And yes, they are happy in life just as it is.
This exercise was meaninful to me. It forced me to describe in my terms what healthy means to me. I realized I didn’t need all the descriptions of daily routines and physcial attributes to describe what a healthy person looks like. Intrinsically I know optimal health can’t be found on a plate or in the gym or by what your teeth look like. Real health comes from a deeper place within us and that is what I will strive for.
Thrive Health & Wellness