What Does Real Health Mean to Me? – Donna

By: Donna Kramme, CEO of the Riordan Clinic

Real Health to me encompasses the body, mind, and spirit, and orchestrating them to work in harmony. If even one of the three is out of sync, our life can be in chaos. We are all on a journey to achieve this balance, and along life’s way there can be challenges. For some it can be a life-altering or life-threatening physical illness; for others it can be a spiritual crisis; and yet another may experience a mental trauma. Unless you are in the middle of it, who is to say which is the worst.

The one area I’d like to focus on is emotions – one emotion in particular – gratitude. Just this one little part of who we are and how we see the world can affect our body, mind, and spirit in a big way.

At the Riordan Clinic, each staff member chooses a saying for his/her business cards. My card has always said “grateful.” I have been asked many times if I would like to change it, and my answer is always no. This word/emotion/action means so much to me.
It keeps me balanced and gives meaning to my life.

When I express gratitude, I am the best me I can be. I am better physically, mentally, and spiritually. When life gets in the way, and I run short on showing gratitude, my body takes a hit. My mind doesn’t seem as clear and my spirits are low. Now and again, it takes a bit of time to figure out why I am out of sync and what is going on, and then it hits me – sometimes like a ton of bricks – I haven’t shown as much gratitude.

It is easy to be grateful during the good times, when everything is going well. I don’t seem to falter then. It is when times are harder and the blessings are not quite as obvious, or maybe I’m just not paying close enough attention, that I might fall short in showing enough gratitude. These are the times when we learn and grow the most, and become the person we are meant to be. Sometimes it seems that the more challenging times come more often than the easy times, but maybe this is where we should show the most gratitude. When you think about it, it seems like a small thing, but I believe it can make a world of difference in us. There are days that the gratitude trickles out of us, and other days it is like a deluge.

Real Health to me is made up of so many things, but showing others gratitude not only helps your Real Health but also theirs. Next time you are troubled and wondering why: remember those you love and who love you, the roof over your head or the safe haven you have found, the food that you have been given or that you have been able to give to someone else, the beauty of the earth and the stars above, and how today you grew just a little bit stronger by a challenge you faced. Each moment of our lives is an opportunity to change our path if we want, to find love, to care for another, and to make someone else’s life a little better. Be the better for someone else.

Time, as we know, goes so fast, and in the blink of an eye we have missed that very important something. Don’t let another day go by without noticing all the little things that make this world such a wonder, and take the time to tell someone that you are grateful they are in your life. Count those blessings one by one.

I leave you with these quotations:

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. –William Arthur Ward

I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.
–Mike Ericksen

Each month we have guest authors write a column for our Health Hunters newsletter with the prompt “What Real Health Means to Me”. We’ve been blown away by the content, and the variety of answers, that they have provided. We know that Real Health is very personal and health goals vary. We hope that you find their stories inspiring and will share with your friends and family as well!

All “What Real Health Means to Me” articles

If you’d like to write an article of your own, please email us at newseditor@riordanclinic.org.