One of my daily rituals is going to the Health section of the ScienceDaily website and checking to see if they discovered a food or pill that can make me, like, not die. (No luck so far, but I’ll let you know.) Of course, there’s more to wellness than obsessively trying to extend your body’s shelf life until you’ve gone total Crypt Keeper. But what are we Americans if not endearingly obsessive? Still, I like to think all the recent research that considers mental, emotional, and physical health as an interwoven whole is nudging us toward a more global way of thinking about our well-being. Take, for example, studies that connect vigorous walking to brain health, or studies that reveal meditation is good for the body as well as the mind.
The subjects of Heidi Kyser’s feature on p. 73, “A New Self,” are inspiring examples of people embracing and nourishing their whole selves in the wake of tragedy. They have survived war, mass shootings, and sexual assault. In many cases, their physical wounds have healed, but their psyches have not. How do you repair a soul? Closure and “coming to terms” are more hopeful myths than reality; trauma is an earthquake whose shockwaves only diminish, but never disappear. But by deeply engaging their entire selves in pastimes that range from hiking to dance, these survivors find new opportunities to thrive.