As I think about the month of October, and the amount of support and rowdiness that goes towards Breast Cancer Awareness, I am always blown away. Millions of people gathering in unity to show their love, donate, and speak truthfully about their story is actually the perfect recipe of wellness. It’s interesting that when we think of the word “Wellness” we think of exercise, eating organic, drinking smoothies, meditating, and self-care. And yes, while those are things we can do to help ourselves in pursuing good health, there’s WAY more to wellness than just that. There are what I would like to call certain invisible qualities of wellness that we spend far too little time talking about that I would debate actually supercharge your life towards wellness like making fresh salads using the herbs from your homemade garden never could! These qualities are called invisible because they aren’t given the recognition they truly deserve for being the big players in wellness.
The first invisible quality is unwavering support both by strangers and by those closest to you. Just thinking about being diagnosed with cancer, there is a feeling of sudden despair and fear. I believe that what truly brings the ray of sunshine back into a dark situation is people who choose to show their unconditional love and encouragement amidst the scariest time in a woman’s life. Research in human connection and support is clear about the positive impact that this invisible quality can contribute towards a person’s recovery and overall wellness. Think for a second about a time in your life when you felt hopeless, and notice if it was the care of another person or multiple people who helped you along until you felt whole again. Probably so.
The second invisible quality is service. What do I mean by service? I mean doing something tangible for someone else without expecting anything in return. In relation to Breast Cancer Awareness, it refers to the people who donate their time and money and energy to make a real difference in someone’s life. This shouts love even louder than words can. People can "talk the talk" about caring about you, but what really shows they mean it is what they choose to do about it. If my heart is touched by seeing millions of people take a stand to donate their hard earned money towards cancer research and spend a full Saturday running for the cause, I can only imagine the sort of impact that has on an individual fighting the battle of breast cancer.
Last but definitely not least, the third invisible quality is talking honestly about your story. Why would talking vulnerably about the worst thing that has happened to you ever make you feel better and lead to wellness? Several reasons. Telling your story puts control back into your hands and gives you power over your situation, it unleashes the emotional exhaustion it takes to carry a heavy story like that inside of you, and it leads to unity and hope for others struggling alone with the exact same situation. From a psychological perspective, when we express ourselves honestly, there is a shift in our mind that occurs which translates to feeling like what we were holding inside no longer has power over us. Expressing emotions, no matter how difficult they are to unleash, is liberating to our physical bodies and it actually liberates others by proving to other people that they are not alone in how they feel.
I hope the next time you think about wellness, you not only think about working out and feeding your body wholesome foods, but you consider the tremendous impact of invisible qualities. How can we all incorporate more of these invisible qualities into our health routine- because they really do make a difference.