Wellness-what is it? It’s all over the place and even I consider my business to be a wellness facility. Considering the growing popularity of the world , there still isn’t a consistent agreement on the actual definition. Websters describes it as: the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal. This I feel is too vague and one-dimensional. Wellness is a multi-fasited concept. I did find one phrasing that I liked ‘wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.’ How lovely! Most people just consider physical wellness, but forget mental wellness, which is why I’m going to divide it into 10 sub-categories:
- Social Wellness
- Occupational Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Emotional Wellness
- Environmental Wellness
- Financial Wellness
- Mental Wellness
- Medical Wellness
Social Wellness: positive interactions with and enjoying being with others. Feeling comfortable in leisure and work situations and communicating feelings and needs to others. What’s involved.
- developing and building close friendships and intimacy
- practicing empathy
- practicing effective listening
- caring for others
- caring for the common good
- allowing others to care for you
Cool facts about social wellness:
- socially isolated people are more susceptible to illness and have a death rate two to three times higher than those who are not socially isolated
- approximately 20% of Americans feel lonely and isolated during their free time.
- touching, stroking, and hugging can improve health
- a strong social network can create a good mood and enhance self-esteem.
Spiritual Wellness: seeking meaning and purpose in human existence. On the path to spiritual wellness, once your actions are more consistent with you beliefs and values. Ways to encourage spiritual well-being:
- Explore your spiritual core: who am I? Why do I exist?
- Be quiet: Meditate-focus on the now. Achieve inner peace by focusing on the present-let go of the past and don’t worry about the future.
- Be inquisitive and curious: increases your options and potential for spiritual centering.
- Be and Do: more than reading, but doing and being fully present in the moment in everything you do.
- Practice acceptance: don’t blame other, but take responsibilities for your own actions and the outcome of your life.
Occupational Wellness: work that achieves a personal satisfaction and in which you find enrichment. Taking the path that you can contribute your unique gifts, skills, and talents to, and that is personally meaningful and rewarding. This is something that I find we overlook. People jump from job to job, trying to make ends-meat or trying to find the job that pays the most, rather than something they are truly passionate about. I’ve been there, I had so many jobs before I realized my path in the health word and guiding others. Work should be exciting, so you want to go (not that you’re dreading it)-like something you’d do for free (if we didn’t have a pile of bills and mouths to feed).
Physical Wellness: here is the one that most people think of when they think of wellness. Understand and appreciate the relationship between nutrition and how your body performs. This aspect provides almost immediate beneficial results-both physical and psychological. Physical wellness is the ability to apply your knowledge, motivation, commitment, behavior, self-management, attitude, and skills toward achieving your personal fitness and health goals. Ways to improve physical fitness:
- control insulin by eating the right foods (no 3 poisons), therefore decreasing inflammation and the risk of disease
- exercise 2-3 times a week
- slow movement activities a couple of hours a week: walking, biking, swimming, hiking, etc.
- get consistent and adequate sleep
- use seat belts and helmets
- listen to your body
- practice safe sex
- don’t smoke
- cut alcohol consumption
- control portion sizes
Intellectual Wellness: Creative and stimulating mental activities. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge in improved skills along with expanding potential for sharing with others. As it expands, you’ll strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavors.
Financial Wellness: Having an understanding of your financial situation and taking care of it in such a way that you are prepared for financial changes. Maintaining that balance consists of being comfortable with where your money comes from and where it is going. This I think a lot of people struggle with, especially in the land of the free, where we seem to want more-more-more, even if we don’t have the resources.
- aware of the limits of earth’s natural resources
- conserve energy
- recycle paper, cans, and glass as much as possible
- enjoy, appreciate, and spend time outside in natural settings
- don’t pollute the air, water or earth if you can avoid doing so
- avoid second-hand smoke
Emotional Wellness: awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. Capacity to manage one’s feelings and related behaviors, including the realistic assessment of one’s limitations and ability to cope effectively with stress. You can make personal decisions and choices based on synthesis of feelings, thoughts, philosophies, and behavior. Ways to increase emotional wellness:
- practice optimism
- spend time with friends and family discussing important personal concerns and being supportive of each other
- read a self-help book that is of interest to you
- learn time management skills and other stress management techniques
- smile at least 20 times a day
Medical Wellness: considers influences of person’s health and ways to treat and prevent disease as well as promoting optimal well-being. I think that this simply means being disease-free. Take care of yourself (decrease inflammation by eating the right things) and in the case that you do get sick or succumb to illness-taking the appropriate health-care right, with trusted professionals and treatments to again retain optimal health.
Mental Wellness: leading a life void of depression and anxiety. Depressive symptoms affect the quality and enjoyment of life, because depressed people tend to exercise less, smoke more and eat badly. You can promote mental wellness by:
- physical activity
- eating right
- adequate sleep
- reduced stress
- an optimistic attitude (humor, creativity, faith)
- emotionally enriched environments
Importance of today: wellness is more than just physical, but is a multi-fascited concept that includes emotional health as well.