The Moses Maimonides-Hoffman wellness survey

This questionnaire has been developed to reflect Maimonides’s unique emphasis on nutrition.

March 5, 2010 19:33
3 minute read.

maimonides 311. (photo credit: courtesy)


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Moses Maimonides, who lived in Spain and Egypt more than 800 years ago, achieved enduring renown as a rabbi, scholar and communal leader, philosopher and master physician. Aimed at integrating classic Greek philosophy and Judaism, his Guide for the Perplexed has inspired people of all faiths with its optimistic view of personal growth.

Throughout Maimonides’s voluminous writings are references to signposts or markers of individual health, which he always viewed as an integration of mind, body and spirit. Conversely, other signposts were indicators of later distress or illness.

Although historical documents show that Maimonides conducted interviews with his thousands of patients to better diagnose their condition and initiate a cure, his specific questions are unknown. Therefore, this questionnaire has been developed to reflect Maimonides’s unique emphasis on nutrition and physical exercise, aesthetic pleasure and friendship, and daily spirituality including thankfulness, meditation and prayer, as the surest path for well-being. I hope you find it useful in identifying your current strengths and weaknesses, pinpointing areas for self-improvement, and enhancing your optimal wellness.

For each question, answer 1, 2, or 3.

1=rarely or never; 2=sometimes; 3=frequently or always.

1. I tend to overeat.

2. I engage in physical exercise or brisk walking at least 20 minutes a day.

3. My sleep is restless.

4. I pray or meditate daily.

5. I wish I could undo many things in my past.

6. I have someone in my life to share my deepest feelings.

7. I read the Bible or other great religious works.

8. I find it hard to control my temper.

9. I have an optimistic outlook.

10. I am inspired by art, music or nature’s beauty.

11. I feel alone in this world.

12. When I look at my life, I feel blessed.

To find your wellness score:

a) Add up your numbers on questions
    2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12, subtotal=

b) Add up your numbers on questions
    1, 3, 5, 8 and 11, subtotal=

c) Subtract subtotal b from subtotal a=

d) Multiply your score for c by 7=

Interpreting your wellness score

If your score is 90 or higher, congratulations are in order, for you’re a role model for others. You’ve achieved a daily lifestyle involving mind, body and spirit consistent with Maimonides’s advice for optimal well-being. Your life is fulfilling and peaceful. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

If your score is 70 to 89, you’ve created a healthy daily lifestyle, but there’s definitely room for growth. As Maimonides would advise, closely examine the weaknesses of mind, body, or spirit that hold you back. Then make the changes you know will be helpful, and optimal well-being will be yours.

If your score is 69 or lower, your daily lifestyle needs a real makeover now. As Maimonides would advise, first pinpoint your weakest areas of mind, body, or spirit, then start making changes. Avoid dwelling on past mistakes, and optimal well-being will come to be yours.

Please note: This scale is not meant as a substitute for a regular medical checkup. In keeping with Maimonides’s view, consult a physician immediately if you experience any sudden change in your normal health situation.

The writer is a New York City licensed psychologist and author of numerous books, including The Wisdom of Maimonides.

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