It was fun to participate in PERSAD’s first "5K Run & Fun Walk" this past weekend. One participant told me that he used to walk every morning but had gotten out of the habit — and perhaps this would get him started again. He said that besides the great exercise, the walking also helped him to clear his head and to feel emotionally better too. We all need a regular wellness habit. With PERSAD’s mission to improve the well-being of the community, our counselors frequently talk to clients about the need to develop a wellness practice.
As a group, LGBTQ people experience higher rates of stress and anxiety. Efforts to hide or to cope with prejudice and discrimination can render LGBTQ people especially vulnerable to the negative effects of stress.
Done regularly, a wellness practice can sustain you in times of stress, help to ward off stress-related disorders and illnesses, and lift you up when you are struggling. A wellness practice is simply a commitment to a daily activity that improves your well-being. It can be a physical activity like walking, running, or swimming; a mentally-focused activity such as meditation or reading; or even a deeply personal activity like prayer or singing — or anything else that makes you feel good.
A key test of a wellness practice is that it is good for you today AND good for you tomorrow…unlike some things we do in reaction to stress that make us feel good at the moment, but that we might regret later, like eating three pieces of cake, or drinking too much.
Like other types of practices, the repetition is part of the magic. Practicing increases our skills. Those with good wellness habits have a better chance of reacting positively within stressful situations than those without a wellness response habit.
If you don’t currently have a wellness practice, I hope you will join me in making a commitment to develop a practice that sustains you.