Being healthy is more than taking care of the physical body, said Aaron Hunnel, a motivational speaker who will be at the Oct. 22 Fall into Health event in Morris.
"Health and wellness is not just the absence of illness," Hunnel said. "It's taking steps forward to embrace the true nature of who you are."
Embracing who we are is challenging because "...(there's) a lot of stress at all ages," Hunnel said. "The biggest thing is isolation."
Hunnel is a motivational speaker who draws on his experiences including serving in the military and competing in endurance races to speak to audiences about being authentic and finding fulfillment. Hunnel has spoken at various venues including the Wellness Council of Wisconsin and YMCA. All Employee Conference in Wisconsin. Hunnel of Wisconsin, is the featured speaker at the Oct. 22 Fall Into Health event at Morris Area Schools.
Social isolation, whether it's at work, school or if a person is retired is a "common trend in the American human population," Hunnel said.
People can have many friends on Facebook and even friends in a community but "it's those deep connections that matter," Hunnel said.
Personal connections can be positive but also include times of adversity, Hunnel said.
He served in the military in Iraq and has a deep friendship with Kate, a woman with cerebral palsy with whom he has competed endurance races.
We can't be "afraid of people who are different from us. We need to be courageous and get to know the other person."
If he rushes to reach conclusions about another person, he misses the opportunity to have a deep connection with them , Hunnel said.
Hunnel said he stresses the need to understand compassion when he speaks at venues around the U.S.
Compassion is more than sympathy or empathy for another person, he said. Compassion actually means that you are sharing in a common passion with another person. That common passion can involve sharing a struggle with that person.
His experiences in endurance racing have "ripped away the persona, the masks, and exposed us to what life really means," Hunnel said. "It's brought us together in a powerful way."
High school students may have particular challenges with forming powerful connections to people, Hunnel said.
Students can miss facial expressions, tone and other indicators that reveal more about a comment, a look or other shared communication, Hunnel said.
Students need to find ways to be real and communicate face to face, he said.