Wellness can mean different things to different people, depending on their priorities, so I have picked out some general areas that should appeal to most people. First I considered the "wellness" of the body, that would allow your body to function well and last a long time. To achieve that kind of wellness, you would have to follow state-of-the-art preventive health practices.

Looking at what most affects the wellness of Americans, we must consider that keeping poisons out of our bodies is the first priority. Without that, the other preventive health measures would be futile. The two most common poisons in our cultural environment are tobacco and fructose. [see health-bytes on tobacco and fructose]




Next, I considered the wellness of the mind, which I will call "spiritual health". For your mind (and spirit) to function well, you must interact with others and your environment in ways that keep your mind active, and your spirit in harmony with others. You should also continue to learn as much as you can for your entire life. When you stop learning, your mind ceases to function.

To take a broader view of spiritual health, we can consider ourselves as part of a larger community, which must also maintain its own "wellness". If there is suffering, conflict, or even war in the community, nation or world that we live in, it is a threat to our personal wellness. We all need to pitch in and do our part to promote the wellness of the community (both local and world-wide). Of course that starts in our own back yard.  As they say, we need to think globally, but act locally.

Finally, I have considered that the wellness that we enjoy today is often based on preparation that we did in the past. Therefore, we should start now to prepare for future wellness.

With these 4 broad areas in mind, I have summarized wellness practices in the form of a screening test. If there are wellness practices that you are missing out on, consider making a change, and keep that healthy mind of yours constantly adapting and learning!

Section I (Prevention Practices)

1. We look up evidence-based health info on the internet

2. We never breathe secondhand smoke

3. We avoid eating or drinking fructose (sugar) whenever possible

4. We use dental floss every day

5. We eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day

6. We each take a multivitamin pill every day

7. We wear our seatbelts in the car (100%)

8. Adults over 50 get colonoscopy regularly, as recommended by their doctor

9. Adults never drink more than one alcohol drink per day

  (zero while pregnant!---3-4% of children are mentally handicapped due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, that is, mom drank alcohol during the pregnancy)

10. We never smoke cigarettes (or use other recreational drugs)

11. We each get 1 hour of exercise every day (including adults)

12. We get regular check-ups at the doctor (update our

   vaccines, and keep our blood pressure under 120/80)

13. We never talk on the cell phone while driving

14. We never use tanning salons, or get a sunburn (wear a hat

   or sunscreen when out in direct sun over an hour)

Section II (Spiritual and Mental Health)

1. We participate in hobbies that interest us

2. Family fights never result in physical injury

3. We watch meaningful TV shows, but limit TV to less than

   2 hours/day

4. Family is involved in church or other community projects

5. We plan activities with friends

6. We do volunteer work

7. We set an example for our children by rejecting hatred against

   minorities (racial, gays and lesbians, overweight or handicapped

   people, other religions or cultures)

Section III (Environmental Wellness)

1. We recycle paper, aluminum and plastic

2. We have checked our home for radon

3. We never allow people to smoke in our home

4. We use a filter for drinking water (Brita, etc)

5. We clean up trash on our block every month (or more often)

6. We always vote at election time, and learn as much as we can

   about the issues

Section IV (Preparing for the Future)

1. We teach our children "life" skills

   (cooking, washing, first aid, managing money)

2. Each family member (including parents) is learning and

    practicing a lifetime fitness sport (tennis, disc golf,

    swimming, biking, running, etc)

3. We save money in dedicated funds (college, retirement, etc)

4. We pay off credit cards in full every month

5. We preserve the heritage of our town for future generations

    to appreciate (historic preservation)