The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness


Editor’s Note: This fact sheet accompanied an on-line presentation by Dot Merritt, M.D., entitled “Alternative and Complementary Medicine for Persons with Disabilities,” delivered on August 16, 2000. A transcript of the presentation is available online.

Wellness is a paradigm shift from uni-dimensional focus on the mind, or the body.  It involves six major areas of life: the physical, the emotional, the social, the intellectual, the vocational, and the spiritual.  The next curve in medicine is going to involve population health, a concept that must be multi-dimensional in it's approach to wellness.  This summary is of a book written by Greg Anderson, survivor of meastatic lung cancer called The 22 {Non-Negotiable} Laws of Wellness.

The Universal Laws:

1)  The law of  Espirit: Living life with joy-each day.

2)  The law of personal accountability: If it's going to be, it's up to me.  Robert H. Schuller

3)  The law of unity: The part can never be well unless the whole is well.  Plato

The Physical Laws:

4)  The law of physical activity: Use it or lose it.

5)  The law of nutritional frugality: A little with quiet is the only diet. Scottish proverb

6)  The law of minimal medical invasiveness: The art of medicine is generally a question of time.  Ovid

The Emotional Laws:

7)  The law of stress-hardiness: It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it.

8)  The law of emotional choice: Learning to be aware of feelings is an essential lifetime skill.

9)  The law of developmental motivation: Use what talents you possess; the woods would be silent if no birds sang except those who sang the very best.  Henry Van Dyke

The Social Laws:

10)  The law of human dignity: God created man in his own image.  Genesis

11)  The law of win/win: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  The Golden Rule

12)  The law of present moment living: Be here now.  Ram Dass

The Intellectual Laws:

13)  The law of mindfulness: A mind in its own place can make a heaven out of hell, and a hell out of heaven.  John Milton

14)  The law of creativity: Imagination is the mind of the soul.  Joseph Joubert

15)  The law of life time growth: We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden. Goeth

The Vocational Laws:

16)  The law of life's mission: He dies every day who lives a lingering life.  Pierrard Pollett

17)  The law of purpose through service: Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to be a man of value.
Albert Einstein

18)  The law of stewardship: If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the next generation.  Chinese proverb

The Spiritual Laws:

19)  The law of forgiveness: Forgiveness restores our heart to the innocence we once knew, an innocence that allowed us the freedom to love.  Robin Casarjian

20)  The law of gratitude: Affirm the good things.

21)  The law of personal peace: Without inner peace, it is impossible to have world peace.  The Dalai Lama

The Most Important Law:

22)  The law of unconditional love: …and the greatest of these is love.  Saint Paul


Dr. Merritt is a board certified internist who is also boarded in hospice and palliative care medicine.  She has been in practice since completing her residency at Baylor College of Medicine in 1987. Since 1997, she has applied an integrated approach to medicine that combines nutritional, herbal, homeopathic modalities with the relaxation response and body work.

The presentation is one of a series of on-line presentations conducted as part of the RTC on Health and Wellness, a project of the Oregon Institute on Disability and Development at OHSU. The ILRU Program is a partner in the RTC-HW and has responsibility for organizing on-line presentations.

The RTC-H&W receives funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education. All opinions expressed in the presentation and resource materials are the presenter’s, and no endorsement by the Department of Education should be inferred.


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