When you think of wellness and health, what is your first thought? What do you consider a “healthy lifestyle” to be? Wellness is more than just a physical and mental state of being; it truly is a lifestyle decision one must make in order to live a healthy, fully-fulfilling life. There are seven major categories of wellness that, when put together, can help you achieve your potential as a healthy and successful individual. Optimum health is the symbiotic relationship between these seven dimensions: physical, spiritual, financial/occupational, emotional, environmental, intellectual and social.
To be physically well means having the physical strength and energy needed for daily living. It means being able to work and play without feeling too exhausted or tired. Diet and exercise play a major role in the overall physical health of an individual. Some of the recommended activities for optimum physical health are:
- Adequate rest and relaxation
- Proper, balanced nutrition
- Daily physical exercise
- Avoiding unhealthy behaviors like excessive alcohol or tobacco usage
Most human beings have some type of spiritual practice they adhere to whether it be going to a church every Sunday, Temple on an occasional Friday or taking a hike in the mountains once in a while to be with nature. We find great peace in connecting to the greater energies of the universe. Spiritual practices connect us with the Divine, our true selves, our neighbors, and the world in which we live. Our spiritual side is always present even if we do not notice it. Uncovering this piece of who we are is like an awakening. Any number of activities, even playing frisbee with the dog can be spiritual as long as it is done mindfully with the intent to bring truth to ones consciousness. There are proven health benefits to a regular spiritual practices. Find one that resonates with your soul so that you can find meaning and peace on your path to spiritual wellness.
Occupational wellness is achieved when someone finds satisfaction through their life’s work. Typically, this is related to one’s attitude toward work and whether or not they find it both meaningful and rewarding. Professional satisfaction is part of the wellness wheel considering we spend one third of our life devoted to it.
You may already know a little something about stress but being emotionally well is more than just being able to handle stress. Our underlying thoughts have an impact on our emotional well being too. We must be aware of what we think, feel and do. Denying this creates an unrealistic view on life. Emotional wellness implies the ability to accept and allow our feelings and thoughts and enjoy life despite perceived disappointments and annoyances.
- Good sleep is essential to emotional wellness. It may be difficult to achieve, for various reasons; you may have too many things to do, or you may have children who don’t sleep through the night, or you may suffer from insomnia, or any of dozens of valid reasons. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for good sleep.
- Stress can actually keep us from sleeping; a tense body or a mind in turmoil are difficult things to handle. If you keep yourself emotionally healthy, you will have a much easier time sleeping and feel much more rested afterward.
- Proper exercise and nutrition can also aid in decreasing stress.
Environmental wellness may not be on your radar but how we feel about our environment plays an important role in our overall wellness. Often we take the earth for granted. We see our living arrangements as unchangeable. We live lives that are not in harmony with nature and our soul’s desire and create toxic environments that harm others and ourselves. Toxins can be defined as chemical and environmental factors that detract from one’s ability to maintain wellness. This could be anything from excessive UV rays to harmful pesticides on produce. It is important to make informed decisions about the types of chemicals you allow near or inside your body; careful research about your area and the food you eat can mean the difference between a reduction and an increase of toxic influence.
Being socially well refers to one’s ability to interact with people around them. It also means being respectful to yourself and to others. It also is how well you give and receive support. Having meaningful and mutually satisfying relationships is part of social wellness. Many of us have friends but are they superficial or do they have your back when you need them? Living in harmony with those around us, including our co-workers, family and friends is a good marker for social wellness.