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Book: Aging Beyond Belief by Don Ardell

If you plan to age, prepare yourself — it's later than you think. The challenge of aging well should be taken seriously, but not grimly! Whatever your age, it's never too soon, or too late, to learn and apply the fine art of aging well, really well. Discover what aspects of aging can't be changed and improve the rest that can. Mold your own realities with REAL wellness, Ardell-style.

The 69 tips — one for each year of the author's life — are thought-provoking, challenging, eye-opening, manageable and fun to read. And all provide practical guidance for intelligently designing your own life-style evolution.
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by Donald B. Ardell, Ph. D.
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Wellness in the Headlines
(Don's Report to the World)

Ardell Wellness Readiness Self-Assessment

Monday August 18, 2014


Visiting the Wellness Center here at could be a health hazard. Shocking? Yes, but this opening statement is intended as such. You should be warned—so I wanted your attention. You should be made aware of the dangers of a lurking risk factor—lack of readiness for REAL wellness.

If you get all motivated to pursue REAL wellness and fail because you were not ready, you could be worse off than when you started. You might suffer a loss of confidence, experience stress and even diminished self-esteem. I surely want to avoid that. 

Which is exactly what today’s REAL Wellness Readiness Self-Assessment is designed to help you discover—if you are ready, willing and able for REAL wellness for the long haul. Once you know the extent of your readiness, you can take steps to create a greater readiness in order to proceed more confidently down that healthy path with a greater likelihood of success over time.

The Ardell REAL Wellness Readiness Self-Assessment

Below is the rating scale to apply as you read and consider each factor in this 25 question assessment of your readiness to not just adopt but also sustain a REAL wellness philosophy and lifestyle. Simply rate your satisfaction in degrees positive or negative for each item.

Enter +3 if your situation, that is, your satisfaction with how your life is currently going regarding the category listed, is exuberant to ecstatic—as good or positive as it could reasonably be expected or hoped for.

Enter +2 if your satisfaction level in the category is very happy to quite pleased.

Enter +1 if your satisfaction is OK to mildly satisfying.

Enter 0 if your most accurate sense is not sure to no problem.

Enter -1 if the most accurate response seems to be mildly disappointed to not quite right.

Enter -2 if the best answer seems to range between very disappointed to quite unhappy about this.

Enter -3 if you’re feeling about the issue is somewhere between I'm on the road to Nowhere to I think I'm about to go over the Cliff of Doom.

Enter the number for satisfaction level that you consider appropriate to the left of each factor listed. When you have scored all 25 items, please total your score. At this point, take a deep breath and read the assessment of your present situation of readiness to adopt and sustain a REAL wellness philosophy and lifestyle.

After that, of course, it is strongly recommended that you assess the validity of the assessment for your life and the extent to which you need to organize and plan for a suitable REAL wellness mindset/lifestyle. The latter is highly recommended, no matter how high (desirable) or low (time to reorganize) your score might be.

_____       1. Choice of current profession or career.

_____       2. Present job or capacity to make a satisfactory living.

_____       3. Marital or partner status.

_____       4. Primary relationships (family and best friends).

_____       5. Ability to have fun and the extent to which you experience good times regularly.

_____       6. Amount of recent occasions when you felt exuberant, filled with a sense that "life is good.”

_____       7. Financial situation and future prospects.

_____       8. Sense of who you are and how evolving (self-respect and confidence).

_____       9. Meaning and purpose in life.

_____       10. Level of self-worth and estimation of how others view you.

_____       11. Prospects for having impact on those who know you and possibly others.

_____       12. Sex life.

_____       13. Body, how it looks and performs.

_____       14. Home life, including range of interests and passions.

_____       15. Life skills and education—awareness of issues and facts unrelated to your job or profession.

_____       16. Capacities for dealing with change, crises, setbacks and all manner of unexpected situations.

_____       17. Nutritional knowledge, attitudes and consumption patterns.

_____       18. Ability to recover from disappointments, hurts and tragedies.

_____       19. Potentials.

_____       20. A range of interests and a balanced quality in your life.

_____       21. Sense that life for you is on an upward curve, getting better and fuller all the time.

_____       22. Level of participation in issues and concerns beyond your immediate interests.

_____       23. Choices about parenting and styles/principles for the guidance of children.

_____       24. Role with network of friends, relatives and/or others.

_____       25. Emotional acceptance of the inescapable reality of aging, decline and death.

Add the plus numbers and subtract the minus numbers. Write the total in this space: ______


+ 60 to + 75: You are in a very good place overall. You are likely to be enjoying life to an uncommon degree and take a moment or two nearly every day to reflect on your good fortune. It is unlikely that there is much stress in your life on a consistent basis. You have so much going for you that is positive and enriching that you have little need or interest in commonly prescribed stress management techniques (e.g., taking medications or setting aside time for ritual deep breathing, meditation and so on). Your high level of daily exuberance renders you largely immune from the adverse effects of negative elements that comes with the territory of modern life. There are few challenges likely to cause you to displace the sense of well-being attendant upon your remarkable and consistent high satisfaction level.

+ 36 to + 59:  You are doing well, much better than most. You should find the REAL wellness concept attractive and consistent with your movement toward effective and healthy living. You already have a well-tuned capacity to deal creatively and efficiently with events and circumstances. Additional advances should come easily for you. All good wishes in continuing to gain additional education and skills for effective decision-making, exuberant living, athleticism and personal liberties.

+ 20 to + 35: You have a well-founded appreciation for the importance of lifestyle choices in affecting the quality of your life. You know the value of personal responsibility, a supportive environment and the cumulative positive effects of little changes, over time. In the months to come, invest additional energies in learning additional ways to strengthen certain areas. You can boost your satisfactions while reducing your stressors.

0 to 19: You can clearly benefit from a modest investment in learning ways to reduce stress and increase pleasures. A flurry of negative circumstances could spark emotional setbacks. Take steps now to avoid slowing your steady progression toward mastery of good living and self-efficacy.

-18 to -37: Stress of a daily nature that interferes will good living seems to be a problem—and it deserves your attention. Stress of a consistent negative nature in life will jeopardize your motivation to choose wisely and to sustain the energy level needed for the pursuit of a REAL wellness lifestyle focused on an enjoyable as well as healthy life. You are a candidate for counseling. You are either too pessimistic or have severe problems in dealing with stress.

-38 to -75: Oh my goodness. What do you do for a living—are you North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il, ruling dictator of the Hermit Kingdom? Something, lots of things in fact, must be done to lighten the load, to eliminate the strains and add positive attractions and good vibrations, delights and healthy pleasures to your life.

Let's look on the bright side for a moment—you are still alive, you managed to complete the test without suffering a cardiac event and you probably have a sense of humor. But seriously, if you truly are as stressed as this little consciousness-raising set of questions would indicate, it's time for a chat—with a wellness professional. Look for someone who is himself or herself enjoying life and having fun. Insist on a professional who will want you to focus on enjoying life. Sure, everyone has to deal with immediate problems but a positive wellness outlook is different from traditional medical counseling. It's likely that the existing stressors will be remarkably diminished by the enjoyments you experience from a shift in consciousness and actions.


© Donald B. Ardell. All rights reserved.

Credit: Donald B. Ardell, Ph.D. wrote High Level Wellness in 1976 (Rodale Press) and a dozen books since, including Die Healthy14 Days to Wellness, Aging Beyond Belief, Real Wellness and the latest, Wellness Orgasms: The Fun Way to Live Well and Die Healthy by Exploring the Secrets of REAL Wellness with Grant Donovan, Ph.D. of Perth, AUS.

High Level Wellness helped spark the wellness movement. Since 1984, Don has produced 683 editions of the Ardell Wellness Report. The four major quality of life dimensions addressed in this weekly newsletter are reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty. 

Signed Don Ardell

(Ed. Note: Views expressed in this and other columns are those of the author and not necessarily those of the SeekWellness Editorial Board.)

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