When hiking with a group, the rule is to move as fast as the slowest hiker. This way everyone is together and can be supported if any problems arise. Sometimes it may mean that the stronger and faster hikers will carry the heavier items to help the slower hiker and empower them to do more. Working together improves the success of the team to get to the peak or through the expedition.

I find this to be true in so many other areas of life. In movement, our entire body is connected through fascia. When we focus on the pain in one area, we may miss the problem in another area. For health and wellness, focusing just on eating and ignoring movement and/or mental health won’t allow us to fully be our optimal self.

And I think of this often when I think about building a strong society. A society works best when we support each other and help to lift up those who struggling. Sharing burdens, recognizing limitations, removing barriers, and focusing on the good for the whole.

For me, the success of an entire entity is based on the sum of parts. The more we address the problems that are limiting the weakest section, the more success will be found.

With the upcoming election tomorrow, I can’t help but worry about the health of The United States. Will we be severely limiting our success or moving toward it? Rather than focus on party affiliation, I want to look at the success of society.

Having a strong base is crucial. As individuals, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a place to start. Access to food, water, shelter, air, and the basic items to support a human is the most necessary element. There are food deserts in low income areas, food costs increased about 10% in 2022, water crises in Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi, areas dealing with PFASs in their water, housing rental costs increased 14% from 2021 to 2022, and more basic need issues.

Above this is security and safety, which includes financial security, health and wellness, and physical safety. Sixty percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Our federal minimum wage ($7.25) is almost half of the lowest livable wage cost ($13.87 in South Dakota). Women and people of color are typically paid less than white men. Access to health care is an issue, with 80% of counties not having adequate health care services. Our health care costs are 40% higher than Germany, the next highest country. The maternal mortality rate is rising with about 24 women dying for every 100,000 live births. This number will increase as abortion restrictions limit medical treatments for ectopic pregnancies, fetal abnormalities or death, and high risk medical issues for the mother. Physical safety has become a larger problem, as the rate of hate crimes based on religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and gender are increasing.

The third level is about social needs and having a strong sense of connection and belonging with others. For me, this is where our role government comes into play. Just with the first two levels, it makes sense why the US has high levels of stress and mental health issues. We are consistently having an uphill battle. Our political system is adding to our problems by cutting access to programs, restricting funding, and creating laws to limit access.

As a society, we can do better for all people.

My guess is that you already know someone who is struggling. What do you think could change to help empower that person? Think of that as you ponder what you really want from society, how we can thrive, and what values truly matter to us. 

All humans want to be loved, be productive, and feel cared for and safe. If we begin there on commonly agreed upon values, we can create a society and government that supports us. We need to vote for policies over party, local politicians than can improve our cities and towns, and for the future we want to create.

Go out tomorrow and vote.

Kate Hamm combines her 15+ years of experience in the fitness industry and high-end resort program development into sought after wellness coaching and adventures at AnamBliss. Visit www.anambliss.com for more information on coaching services and future retreat dates and locations.