How ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’ Affect our Health

by Tessa Richter (Switzerland)

Growing up, most of us learn that we are either healthy or sick. And when we are sick, we usually treat the illness on a physical level, with medication, therapy or surgery. We rarely think of our work, our attitude towards life or towards others and ourselves, as being a possible cause of illness. Over the course of many years, I have come to realise that health has another, more hidden aspect: it is connected to us living our true potential as human beings, based on who we are.

Our potential is rather like a muscle: if we don’t use it, it shrivels and its energy goes stale. This affects our mental and physical health, leading to anxiety, lack of energy and motivation, but also to more serious diseases.

Each one of us is a unique instrument of creation, defined by our background, perception and talents. Often, we use only those aspects that are acceptable to the norm and people around us, beginning with our families and schools. We thus cut off and deprive ourselves of a great potential and energy that can be decisive in creating what matters to us.

A young man, around the age of 30, came to me for career coaching. His doctor had diagnosed burnout. He was not yet at the stage of not being able to work at all, but he was off work regularly, generally lacking energy, and unable to breathe properly. Because he also wanted to change careers, but didn’t know what exactly he wanted to do next, and how to go about it, he was referred to me by a friend.

After our first coaching, he said he was able to breathe for the first time again in ages. After about a year he had changed careers and was doing exactly what we had found to be his next preferred career step. He was still working within the same company, just as he had hoped for. And in a team he absolutely loved and who really appreciated him, supporting him in his move.

Source: iCN Issue 22  (Wellness & Holistic Coaching); pages 26-28