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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Introduction: Simply Well

Simplicity is an enormously compelling notion. Today, especially in the domains of health, we are literally deluged with data about what to eat, what supplements to take, how to best exercise, and how to express our feelings. The more options we have, whether in health or in other areas of life, the more we look for and need simple, clear maps that guide us through the labyrinth of information, technology, and goods and services that surround us. Simply Well is just such a guide - a bare-bones, common sense and enjoyable approach to health of body, mind and spirit, based on a foundation of education, self-awareness and self responsibility.

When we are ill, or looking to make a change in lifestyle to support our health, help is certainly appreciated, but an overload of input can actually become a burden, compounding confusion and raising doubts, convincing us that things are much more difficult than they are. Even after we have set a reasonable course for ourselves, we may hear that certain “experts” have found the very strategies we are using to be worthless or even damaging. To make matters worse, well-meaning friends and family members have unending opinions about and prescriptions for our health. Imagine having a chest cold that you are handling quite well with rest and liquids. At a meeting with a group of friends you cough a few times and are immediately offered a string of unsolicited advice about what you could (and in fact should) do about it; advice that ranges from a formula for making garlic and walnut tea to seeing a doctor before the cold turns into pneumonia. Sound familiar: In times like these, we need the simple self-confidence that comes from knowing our body and trusting our experience in what works best for us. Building that confidence by education and self-awareness is what Simply Well is all about.

Far from simple, the human body is a miracle of complexity. Its ability to adjust to a wide range and quality of input and to enact wondrous transformations is nothing short of miraculous. Our bodies magically transform food into muscle and blood, ovum and sperm into child, breath and voice into communication. If we had to consciously monitor each of these functions, we would be a sorry species. Some of us forget to brush our teeth; imagine if we had to monitor every breath!

While our bodies may be complex in their functioning, good health is really quite simple. Basic healthiness is the organism’s standard condition, as systems generally seek balance (or homeostasis), and will maintain this condition unless deprived or interfered with. Generally speaking, good health is our birthright. The human task is to be a responsible caretaker of the inherent wisdom that already governs the body. Give your body the raw materials of fresh food, water, and air, move it vigorously, supply it with life-affirming stimulation, encourage it to establish caring relationships with others, and it will generally work like a charm. When temporarily weakened or ill, your body can draw on two billion years of active, balance-seeking instinctive heritage to propel it back on course. The choices recommended here all favor trusting and responding to your body’s natural wisdom and inclinations to guide you toward good health and wellness.

The Wellness Energy System (Lite)
Illness and Energy
The Iceberg Model (Lite)
Cultural Norms
Illness-Wellness Continuum (Lite)
Illness-Wellness Continuum Revisited
An Overview
How Best to Use This Information

Personal Wellness
Personal Wellness Lite
   Introduction: Simply Well
   Part I: Starting Points
   Part II: Loosening Up
   Part III: Taking Action
   Part IV: One Step Beyond
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