Family works

Speaking on illness or wellness

Rob Coombs ID. Min. Ph.D.
Posted 4/30/17

I don’t like the idea of “sick days.” Whoever came up with the idea that you should have to be sick in order to enjoy a day off from work? How about “well days?” Try calling the boss and …

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Family works

Speaking on illness or wellness


I don’t like the idea of “sick days.” Whoever came up with the idea that you should have to be sick in order to enjoy a day off from work? How about “well days?” Try calling the boss and telling him, “I’m feeling especially well today and thought this would be a great day to take off.” Probably wouldn’t go over very well, would it? Perhaps better than well or sick days are “personal days.” That way you really don’t have to be sick in order to take an extra day off. No more sneaking around if you want to spend the day at the mall, in the mountains, or on the lake. I made this arrangement for a staff where I once worked. Since we had to hire substitutes whenever someone was taking a personal day, I let the staff know that if they should choose not to use all of their personal days, they would be given a bonus at the end of the year. After all, we would have spent that money hiring the substitutes anyway.

Even beyond avoiding uncomfortable needs for deception, personal days communicate that a person doesn’t need to be sick in order to get what he wants. In fact, being sick or pretending to be sick to get what we want often has catastrophic consequences in the long run. A much more productive and worthy quest is the pursuit toward wellness. A positive state of wellness is what most of us really want, even more than money, power, or prestige. By a positive state of wellness I am referring to a condition in which person is both physically and psychologically healthy, enjoys supportive relationships with others, does meaningful work, and lives in a clean environment. A negative state of illness reflects the polar opposite: A condition in which a person is both physically and psychologically unhealthy, has few (if any) friends, hates his work, and lives in an unclean environment.

Although the choice of wellness or sickness is easier for some than others due to genetics and how you were nurtured during childhood, ultimately the choice remains yours. How you choose is extremely important as it dramatically influences your daily life.

Persons with a negative state of illness tend to live with the following characterisitcs. One, they are usually depressed. It’s as if a little black cloud (even on sunny days) follows them everywhere. Something is always wrong. Two, they are overly anxious. Even the slightest aggravations become either explosive confrontations or good reason for feeling overwhelmed. Nothing is quite right and for this reason, they stay on edge. Three, they tend to be aggressively hostile. Anger seems to be the only real emotion they understand and express. Even treading lightly around such persons doesn’t work since they need only the slightest encouragement to express their anger. And, four, they seldom feel well and go from one sickness to the next.

Persons with a positive state of wellness tend to live with a different combination of attributes. One, they are intellectually resourceful. This means they can use their brains to understand their options and act in creative ways to solve the challenges of life. Two, they are openly compassionate. They don’t mind sharing their feelings and certainly aren’t threatened by the feelings of others. Sharing and caring are seen as fundamental to the experience of living. Three, they are basically optimistic. Neither blind nor oblivious to the negative aspects of life, they view life through the lens of hope rather than despair. Four, they are less hostile. Anger is one of their emotions, but certainly not their only emotion. They are connected to all of their emotions. And, five, they feel good most of the time. Occasional sickness is reality, but wellness predominates.

What direction is your life – toward wellness or sickness? The choice is yours.


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