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Our Wellness: A Reflection of Our Culture

By November 14, 2011 - 4:08pm

I love taking photos of Christmas decorations around my hometown of Montrose, Colorado. I make my own Christmas cards (creativity is a VIA strength of mine), so the photos are often used to signify both local and global sides of the holiday season.

On the global side, those who celebrate Christmas often do so with ornaments. I have spent Christmases on the East Coast, on the West Coast, fifty miles from Canada and on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Ornaments were never missing from the decor.

On the local side, taking photos on our main street often causes a reflection of my community to appear like some ghostly image superimposed on the window scenes. At first, it perturbed me that the images had this reflection - until I realized that it made every holiday globe fully unique. Only in that moment was the sun at that angle . . . were the cars parked in that place . . . could the history of my community be remembered.

Wellness is something like the globe in the window. Human beings are more alike, health-wise, than different. So, in a sense we are "ornaments" - each with our own individual design that is usually close to the designs of others in our family.

Beyond genetics, though, is a reflection of our culture and its health practices. Several years ago, I learned that undeveloped countries have higher incidences of hypothyroid do to the lack of iodine. On the other hand, more developed countries may iodize salt - but they also can overuse salt. The result is higher rates of hyperthyroidism.

Rates of non-communicable disease are increasing . . . diabetes, high-cholesterol, obesity, etc. These are things we have some control over! They are a reflection cast on us, largely by lifestyle. If we want the reflection to change, we need to change our "windows" on the world.

We can become more aware of our diet, exercise, healthcare choices, etc. It is like taking the ornament we call our body and seeing the reflection that our culture has on our ability to "shine". Once we see it, we can make changes - tint the glass, change angles, move the internal/external lighting. This is something like making different lifestyle choices.

It is hard work, though. The reflection is there and in some ways will always be there. It takes energy and support to change how the reflection impacts our "shine".

Today, I am proud to be a wellness coach because I want to empower others to shine.

Where do you see your culture reflected in your health and wellness (good or bad)?

My blog - with photos for this post - http://midwifeofchanges.blogspot.com/2011/11/our-wellness-reflection-of-our-culture.html
Cathy Hartt, RN, MS, CNM

Group Leader

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