The more I considered this question, the more I found that my definition of "healthy" was a rough concept, at best, and I struggled to pin down a more specific definition--that is, until I borrowed this very simple and effective technique from my day job:
- Think of a person you would call "healthy". It can be someone you know, or someone you know about; someone next door or at work, or someone famous. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that when you you look at that person, you think "wow, s/he's really healthy. I wish I could be like that!"
- While visualizing that person clearly in your mind, write down on a Post-it note one thing that you think makes them healthy. Then take a new Post-it and write down another, repeating this process until you can't think of any more. Don't censor yourself--just brainstorm as many things as you can without judgement.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with another healthy person. Do this until you run out of people you consider "healthy". Tip: Don't limit yourself by requiring that the people be perfectly, 100% healthy.
- Put all of your Post-its up on a wall, or lay them out in an otherwise large space like on a table or floor. It doesn't matter what order they're in at this point.
- Find at least two Post-its that seem like they go together. Move them to a new location and write a name for this group on a new Post-it. If you find two that are exactly the same, that's fine. Just stack them on top of each other.
- Repeat step 5 until all of your original Post-its are in named groups. Aim for a minimum of two Post-its in any group; most groups will have more than that. If a group has more than ten Post-its, look for a sub-grouping and try to break them apart.
- Now take a step back and look at your groups. What are the largest groups? Do they contain the qualities that resonate most with you? Do the groups show you anything you didn't expect, or do they confirm what you already thought your definition of "healthy" was?
In the end, most of the qualities I listed for healthy people had nothing to do with their physical appearance--most had to do with their mental, emotional, or spiritual qualities. Some things I wrote down were:
- great energy
- free of disease
- light-hearted ...
I hope you'll take a few minutes to try this for yourself. If you do, let me know what it reveals for you!