Let’s face it, there aren’t enough hugs in the world. And we all need usually much more than we get. Wellness practitioners would seldom go wrong offering participants a hug of understanding, empathy, and support to keep going or face a new challenge. But there’s also a time when hugs aren’t the answer. If you’ve raised children you know: The love you shower on them doesn’t always produce the right choice. In those instances — whether it’s the teenager keeping their curfew or the participant following through with their commitment to walk 30 minutes every day — sometimes a little tough love is called for instead.
Halbert Dunn wrote a paper in 1959 entitled High-Level Wellness for Man and Society. To the extent that leadership is about advancing a vision, Dunn should be credited with being the thought leader of the wellness movement in America. Of course, other leaders who preceded him held similar views about the importance of holistic health.
Aristotle and his thoughts on metaphysics in the pre-Socratic Greek era portended a vision for wellness. In 1866 John Harvey Kellogg founded a “Sanitarium” that, expanding on his Seventh Day Adventist beliefs, attracted people from throughout the country (including Mary Todd Lincoln) to hear lectures on healthy living and to partake in “diet reform,” frequent enemas, and “physical culture.”
We’ve known for a long time that friends can have big influence on health. If you hang out with buddies who smoke, you’re more likely to smoke. If they’re into binge drinking, your chances of binge drinking go up. And if your friends are overweight, guess what?
But can you achieve the opposite effect, to influence positive health behaviors, by building support through team or group participation into your wellness program?
Organizations have long used activities like retreats, ropes courses, team sports, and internal competitions to build coworker camaraderie and enthusiasm while accomplishing group goals. Shared experiences forge bonds that can translate into better performance. You can bring these advantages of team participation in wellness programs:
An easy way to boost the number of men involved in wellness activities is to design programs around sports themes. The NFL playoffs, holiday bowl games, and the Super Bowl are great opportunities to sponsor single events or month-long campaigns. Some ideas: