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What Does “Living Well” Mean To You?

by jenny sansouci on March 21, 2017

While I was going through the initial re-design process for my blog over the last month (it’s currently in development and should be done within the next couple of weeks!), I had to do some deep diving into my “why.” Why is this blog important to me? What is it that really makes me feel lit up enough to share my personal opinions and insights with the world, when I could always just keep it inside my own head and never share? Why did I want to start a blog in the first place? What kind of impact do I hope to have?

When I sit back into the feeling of why I wanted to start a blog, many years ago, it was for a few reasons:

  • I was learning about new things every day that made me feel good, and excited, and healthy, and enthusiastic. 

But why the impulse to share?

  • Because so much of the inspiration and knowledge I found for my own life was what I had read on blogs — if the bloggers hadn’t shared them, I may have never received that spark of insight or inspiration that is the catalyst for change. I wanted to give back to the community who was giving so much to me, and (hopefully) create that same moment of “spark” for others.
  • “Living well” for me led directly to feeling more creativity. The better I treated myself, the more creative I felt, and the more my creativity felt like a wellspring of insight just waiting to burst forth and become something outside of me.

Healthy Crush – “a love affair with living well.”

When my friend Jeanne suggested that tagline for me, it felt like an immediate YES. I thought of it as feeling enamored with the process of experimenting and finding and sharing what feels good. 

But what does “living well” actually mean? And why do I care?

It would be way too easy to say that living well is a list of things like eating lots of vegetables, avoiding sugar, exercising, being nice to people, doing work that makes you happy, and drinking enough water.

But the “living well” I care about is not a list of things to do.

It’s a feeling. It’s a way of being in the world.

I can’t always pinpoint the exact formula that contributes to that feeling of living well (it changes a lot and my experiments are never-ending) but I can always FEEL when I’m living well. I experience life in a much different way when I am.

We all have a different combination of factors that go into our own unique recipe for a life lived well. In fact, my blog many years ago before Healthy Crush was called “Recipe for Life – What’s In Yours?” because I found this concept so helpful and interesting.

I used to write a “recipe card” at the end of each day, and I’d have a plus and minus category — what ingredients (habits) I’d like to keep putting into my life recipe in the future, and what should be removed.

Regardless of the specific things that go into our individual recipes for living well, we can all probably share what living well FEELS LIKE to us.

When I’m living well, it is DIRECTLY related to how creatively expressive and inspired I feel. Sometimes it feels like creative outlets like writing, taking photos, cooking and self-expression are my lifeblood. If I’m creating and sharing a lot, it means my blood is really pumping. That I’m receiving messages and I’m translating them into something that might help even one person, and I’m putting them out there into the world. Even if it’s just a quick Instagram post, it’s energy and inspiration that’s flowing because I’m doing something right that contributes to my physical and emotional wellbeing.

When I’m living well, I don’t have to work hard to experience intuitive and creative flow. When my self-care habits include filling my mind and my body with positive input, and clearing enough space for energy to flow through, it feels effortless. It feels like simply allowing.

When I’m living well, I notice beauty more. I feel joy more. I feel more connected to life. I see things, really see things – and I get sparks of insight or emotion or appreciation, instead of just walking by. I live in a temple of enthusiasm. Inside that temple of enthusiasm, life feels like a celebration and it’s full of vivid color, and most importantly I have the energy and clarity and vibrancy and gratitude to experience it. That energy is alive and it’s extremely contagious. 

Living well, to me, means the ability experience life and all the feelings that come with it in a way that flows through me more fluidly, without getting stuck in anxiety, depression or overwhelm. When I’m living well, those negative emotions simply aren’t able to gain the full momentum they need to consume me. With that comes the ability to make decisions with confidence, power and trust. (TM helps me with this). 

Living well means having consistent habits that I show up for just because I know that the consistency supports me, even if I don’t feel like doing it in the moment and even if there will be no “immediate” payoff.

Living well means having the energy and discipline to show up in reality for the things I set out to do in my mind. It means being able to meet my own expectations and commitments, or if I can’t meet them, being able to adjust accordingly without making a huge dramatic deal about it or feeling guilty. (I just watched this video and it helped a bit with the whole guilt thing, which I am working on).

Living well means having the emotional and energetic capacity to focus on others and how I can be helpful in the world and make some sort of positive difference, rather than focusing on my own internal dialogue constantly. The tricky part is, in order to have that capacity to care for others, I must take care of my own body and mind first. Without strengthening my own self, my “making other people happy” abilities that I care so much about will crumble. The sweet spot is being able to focus on self care and self strengthening without spending time self obsessing, worrying about doing things perfectly, or getting caught up in internal dramas.

Living well means feeling strong in my body, which inevitably leads to a stronger mind and spirit. It means actually listening to my body when it needs to move and when it needs to rest.

Living well means making choices intentionally because I KNOW how they will make me feel, based on trial and experimentation and TRUE LISTENING, rather than making choices because someone said they were good or healthy. The perfect diet or the perfect lifestyle is the one that makes YOU FEEL GOOD. It becomes more work when you have to actually pay attention to what works for you, but it is well worth the payoff when you can truly just look at a food and get an intuitive sense of how it will feel in your body.

Living well means knowing in the moment when something feels like a DEFINITE YES (or a definite no). It means noticing when a pattern of addiction is happening and having the strength and humility to course-correct. This is a constant practice and will never be perfect.

Living well means creating the financial freedom in my life that will allow me to make choices that support my well-being as wholly as possible, so I can show up for what’s important to me in the world, in this life. Relationships, experiences, travel, home, creative contributions…presence…

Living well means having the courage to have faith, and the courage to ask for help when know I can’t do it alone. The faith that I can feel better, the faith that I have the power to change what’s not working, and the faith that guidance will come. That guidance is already here. I just need to slow down and ask… and then open my eyes and pay attention.

Living well means seeing synchronicities, noticing miracles, creating enough stillness and quietude to actually feel and acknowledge when my dreams are coming true, rather than just checking a box and moving to the next thing.

Living well means relating to others in a way that feels like real connection, love, deep laughter, understanding, appreciation and curiosity, without making anyone else’s opinion or reaction to me all powerful. It means having a strong sense of self in relation to others and being able to play together with grace and acceptance. And always being in the field of learning. And forgiving. We are humans trying to find our way in a world with no definite roadmap. We all have so much to learn from each other in relationships and we all have so much to teach.  

Living well means to live my life on my own terms in a way that excites me, even if it seems “unconventional.”

Most of all, to me, living well means waking up with integrity.

Integrity about the woman that I choose to be in the world, knowing that I can attempt to be the best version of myself TODAY, or at least a pretty good version, with all of my tools and resources and knowledge, and with all of my flaws and limitations too. Knowing that I don’t have to do things perfectly in order to be OK at this whole life thing. It’s enough to keep learning and trying and shifting and recalculating. Appreciating the little wins every day, and not letting them slide by unnoticed.

And finally, living well is a constantly evolving process. It has no true definition. It’s a breathing, growing, and ever-changing feeling.

And these are just a few things. I could go on and on.

But when I truly take care of myself, and I hook into the resources and tools and habits that elevate my existence…all of these “living well” feelings become closer to my reality.

The most we can hope for is to get to know ourselves well enough that we have a good idea of what makes us feel great, and do those things as much as possible. And then have the acceptance to let go and choose again when we took a detour or something feels off.

This is why I have a love affair with living well, because living well makes me feel truly alive. Like a sparkling, glittering stream of life.

Am I always “living well”? No way. It’s important to me to share about living well because I know, very intimately, what it feels like when I’m not. And for this reason, I’m committed to experimenting. I don’t have the time or desire to stay in an unwell place for too long.

Here is what I do know: 

It’s in those moments when we DON’T feel well that a quick Google search and a stranger’s blog post can be the spark that changes something powerful within us.

And it’s important to me to contribute to that spark, in some way, if I can.

OK, now I must know…

What does living well feel like to you?!

Let me know in the comments.


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Do you love health, nutrition and wellness? Check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Demetra March 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Hi Jenny,
Great to read your posts again! This is definitely an inspirational one!! You covered living well so perfectly– thank you ❤️


jenny sansouci March 24, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for reading!! Means a lot!


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