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Enid
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Journey to Wellness

well·ness

/ˈwelnəs/

noun

the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

Reaching a state of wellness is a combination of several factors, as shown by the “Wellness Wheel” above. Nutrition, Physical Activity, Renewal, Resiliency, Relationships, Sense of Purpose, and Self Talk all play a role in the overall wellness of an individual. Realizing what segment is not working, or finding out what is working helps us find balance. When we examine what is going well in life, we attract more of it.

A sunny fall day attracts outdoor exercisers to the Enid Recreational Trails.

According to Rebecca Kroeker, of ATS Counseling Agency, “Self-talk is a critical factor in obtaining wellness and adding to our happiness. Happiness is found in the truth. Reality can be harsh, but it also can be a blessing.”  

Rebecca Kroeker
Rebecca Kroeker, MHR, LPC – ATS Counseling

She adds that our “self-talk” is crucial to lasting changes. “We don’t have to obey our thoughts,” she explains, “We are free to accept them, reject them, challenge them, reframe them or ask our brain to find another thought! So, when we face obstacles or life just doesn’t behave, we can choose to focus on the negatives or see the silver linings.”

Kroeker describes the idea of an actual “happiness equation” developed by Mo Gawdat, a former Google [X] executive. In 2001, he realized that despite his incredible success, he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would: examining all the provable facts and scrupulously applying logic. Eventually, his countless hours of research and science proved successful, and he discovered the equation for permanent happiness.

(Mo Gawdat images used with permission.)


Thirteen years later, Gawdat’s algorithm would be put to the ultimate test. After the sudden death of his adult son, he and his family turned to his equation- and it saved them from despair. In dealing with the horrible loss, he found his mission: he would share his equation with the world and help as many people as possible become happier. He authored a book called Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy, that Kroeker highly recommends.

Kroeker explains his equation as, “Happiness is equal to or greater than the difference between events of life and your expectations.” Gawdat chose to somehow make sense of his personal tragedy and move forward to help others. When Kroeker asked permission for his book to be featured in this article, Gawdat’s response was, “Thank you for spreading happiness.”

Kroeker also compares the idea of unreasonable expectations to that of a “Bridezilla” who has so many high expectations of her wedding day that one little problem seems to ruin it all. Using Gawdat’s equation, it’s easy to see why the controlling bride would not be as happy as one with simpler expectations.

Happiness and subsequent wellness are daily work. Negative self-talk is one of the biggest adversaries of true wellness, both mentally and physically. When we dwell on negative thoughts, stress chemicals are released that damage our bodies and brain. According to research, to remedy this situation, we need five positive thoughts for every negative one. Experts suggest memorizing on 5-7 positive thoughts so we are prepared to counteract any negative ones. One way to do this is to assign one positive thought to each of the five fingers on our hand, and then recite them when the need arises.

Focusing on gratitude is another helpful tool. It’s a personal choice of how we “ground” ourselves and practice mindfulness. “Just 20 minutes a day of slow, methodical breathing and exploration of statements of gratitude, scripture, or other uplifting thoughts can create feelings of gratefulness and connection. Kroeker tells of one patient who practices a ritual that has been passed down in their family to set a positive tone for the day ahead. A wrapped package is placed at the foot of their bed daily to remind them that “Every Day, Life is a Gift.” 

Jonathan Bushman, DO - Reliant Health and Wellness, PLLC
Jonathan Bushman, DO – Reliant Health and Wellness, PLLC

As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Jonathan Bushman of Reliant Health and Wellness, PLLC, views the patient as a whole person…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many patients can become overwhelmed by the amount of change that needs to occur, to the point they may never start on their journey to wellness. “A fixed mindset equals no change” he explains. “They must believe they are capable and have the means to make the change.”

A Health Coaching Program is now offered by his office to address managing weight issues, diabetes prevention, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, depression, and medication management.

“Change occurs when the pain of remaining the same is worse than the pain of change,” says Bushman.

Lupus, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis…not the description you would expect a personal trainer to give of herself. Kat Kannberg is living proof that people with chronic health issues still need to strive for daily exercise to feel their best. “Movement is key,” says Kannberg.

Kat Kannberg, Personal Trainer at Finer Physiques with Kara Bergdall,  Competition client.

Kannberg has been a fitness trainer at Finer Physiques since 2011 and has a robust clientele to show for it. Many female clients cite wanting to regain the body they knew before their children were born, another is tired of wearing “mom” swimsuits and is focused on building muscle for an upcoming family beach vacation. A select few even train to compete in serious physique and fitness contests. 

One standout client is Carolyn Poplin, 71, who immediately volunteers the opinion that “Kat is the best trainer around!” Poplin trains three times a week for 30-minute sessions upon the advice of her doctor, to strengthen her joints and core and improve her breathing capability. She is reducing the size of her food portions, adding in more fruit and vegetables, and avoiding heavy meals in the evenings. Along with an increase in water intake, she is also reducing the amount of red meat she eats to help with her gout issues. She reports a steady, slow loss of about 15 pounds at this time. 

Carolyn Poplin strength trains for her health.

Poplin comments that there are no limitations on age at Finer Physiques, and she feels very comfortable working out there.

Every person seeking Kannberg’s expertise is required to complete a health profile questionnaire, including exercise and nutrition habits. Kannberg is an advocate of clean eating, which means avoiding high sugar, fried or over-processed foods. Instead, she recommends fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins, lean meats, and fresh herbs and spices for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Striving to eat cleanly at least 80% of the time is a good way to keep nutritional goals realistic!

Many Enid citizens are actively pursuing a state of wellness. The temporary ice rink installed downtown for a “Holidays on Ice” event, attracted many seeking outdoor fun and exercise.

Libby and Heidi Long ice skate for fun.

The Enid Recreational Trails is a permanent fixture that many local people frequent in their quest for wellness. It’s a great place for walking, running, biking, fresh air, and fellowship.

Jeffrey Falcomata works out for his needs.

One late fall day, the most inspirational person encountered on the trails is Jeffrey Falcomata. He is witnessed faithfully completing his strength training routine by utilizing the stretching area near the trailhead parking lot on South Cleveland Road. He explains that he uses the sturdy bars to anchor his resistance bands as he works to restore strength to his chest muscles. He is unable to do push-ups or lift heavy weights for his workout, as he is still recovering from having a 3 cm tumor removed from his brain and spine in 2019.

Although the surgery was successful, it caused a loss of hearing in his left ear and sight problems in his left eye. These obstacles do not deter him from completing his exercises as planned. Due to the changes in his health, he was forced to retire at age 60, but he does not speak negatively about anything, he chooses to see the silver linings. 

Without question, Jeffrey Falcomata has achieved a state of personal wellness…his unique state, and he’s truly inspirational!

Holly Taylor
Holly Taylor
Holly Taylor from Taylor Creative is a past feature writer for the Enid Monthly. Holly has worked in the communications field since her graduation in 1981 from Oklahoma State University with a BS Degree in Advertising. Taylor Creative has been providing freelance graphic design, photography, and writing in Enid since 1990.

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