Glen Alex has spent his life advocating for better health for people, and now, in his new book, Living in Total Health, he offers a balanced and sometimes surprising journey into what it means to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, or what it has. be popularly known in the health and wellness community as “wellness.” Glen defines this new term as “the sum total of the wealth and well-being found in good health. Well-being means to be rich in health: that one has reached certain physical diagnostic ranges and has a meaningful or joyful life. Balance” .
That balance is evident in this book because it’s not just about exercise or nutrition. Instead, Glen divides the book into three sections: Physical Wellness, Emotional Wellness, and Mental Wellness. Each section is then divided into four chapters, including “Moving Your Body” (Physical Wellbeing), “Being Present” (Emotional Wellbeing), and “Being Stressed Less” (Mental Wellbeing). Each section and chapter is packed with discussion, personal stories to illustrate Glen’s points, and exercises to make the reader more aware of and practice the topic at hand. Glen further clarifies his goal in the introduction by saying, “The purpose of this book is to offer a different perspective on health, not to regurgitate available practical information on diet, exercise, etc. The intent of Living in Total Health is to activate your critical thinking and challenge your approach to health if you haven’t met your goals.
One aspect of Living with Total Health that I particularly appreciated was that Glen continually reminds us that everything we need is already within us. She does not ask us to perform any miracles, but simply to do what we were naturally born to do. Instead of telling us to do intense workouts at the gym, it redefines exercise as any kind of activity that requires movement, like walking, yoga, or even laundry or dishes. The challenge is to activate. Sure, some people may choose to do more, and that’s great, but for most of us, Glen’s words of wisdom are a much-needed reminder of how we can get started.
Glen also makes it clear that we don’t have to agree with the health crowd that it becomes one size fits all. Each of us has our own individual body and consequently our individual nutritional needs require much more than “a proprietary diet plan”. She encourages us to find out what foods our bodies react well to and to find the nutritional balance in what we can enjoy and what will not bother or inflame our body. Other key physical aspects she focuses on include the importance of stretching, including when and how to do it, and the benefits of massage, including massage safety tips so you can ensure you find a reliable and trustworthy massage therapist.
In the section on Emotional Well-Being, Glen explains the difference between feelings and emotions and how they are signals with messages for us. Perhaps the most powerful discussions in this section had to do with separating our emotions from those of others. Glen discusses the importance of setting boundaries with people, including emotional ones. Sometimes we may have to draw a line with someone on how to treat us, but we may also have to draw an emotional line that we do not allow ourselves to cross when taking on other people’s problems. While we can be sympathetic to people, Glen warns us not to metaphorically put ourselves in someone else’s shoes that aren’t our own; In other words, let’s not take someone else’s emotional baggage.
In the midst of these discussions of boundaries, Glen brings up the issue of domestic violence, and I think she makes a strong point here about the difference between a conscious and an unthinking choice. Many batterers will claim that a woman’s behavior is what led them to hit her, but if that’s true, why don’t these men leave the women to work out the frustration in their lives? These men are also not incapable of containing their anger as batterers will not behave abusively in public but only at home, which is proof that people make conscious decisions.
In the final section on Mental Wellbeing, Glen focuses on how the accumulation of unhealthy life choices commonly affects the mental health and stability of most of us. At the forefront of mental issues is how stress affects us, and Glen offers advice on how to reduce it. He also helps us rethink our support systems and introduces the concept of creating an ecomap of your support system as an effective exercise for greater mental wellness in your life.
There is much more to Living in Total Health than I can explain in this short review, and throughout the pages of the book, Glen tells us like it is, in a gentle but direct way, like the good coach that she is. Towards the end of the book, she explains her thinking about her purpose in life that shaped her writing this book: “I strive to fulfill my purpose of being on this earth, actualizing and sharing my inner gifts with others. My truth and perennial state of love provides the foundation I need to reach my goal of becoming the best version of Glen and the reflection of my Creator that I am capable of being.”
We should all strive for a similar purpose, and we can achieve it. Reading and practicing the principles of Living with Total Health is a good step towards that achievement and a greater sense of happiness and general well-being.