Wellness simply explained.
Wellness is a growing trend but what exactly does wellness mean in layman terms?. I wanted to know a little more.
I found wellness to be more than just looking after your health and well-being. Wellness is focused on making decisions towards a happy and fruitful life, balancing your spiritual, mental and physical well-being. It is made up of 5 interconnected dimensions where each dimension is as important as the other: 1) Physical dimension (exercise, diet, sleep), 2) Intellectual dimension (lifelong learning, healthy mind, career path), 3) Social dimension (improve social relationships, protect the environment, contribute to community activities, 4) Spiritual dimension (meditate, be yourself, respect other faiths), 5) Emotional dimension (emotional balance, optimism, seek support).
There has to be a balance across each of the dimensions and disregarding any of the dimensions could have an impact on your overall wellness and quality of life.
Let’s take a look at the 5 dimensions in more detail.
1) Physical wellness
Physical wellness focuses on the need to reduce illnesses through regular physical activity and eating and sleeping well.
A physically well person is able to make the right daily decisions from eating healthy, exercising regularly and ensuring you get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep per night. They then have the ability to understand their body and read warning signs for potential illnesses, leading to a healthier and enjoyable life.
Physical wellness attributes:
- Regular exercise – Look outdoors to increase energy levels and reduce stress
- Healthy diet – ‘You are what you eat’ – try healthier alternatives such as quinoa or brown rice or seek professional advice on improving your dietary intake
- Sleep – Get a good night’s sleep by adopting good sleep hygiene practices
2) Intellectual wellness
This dimension expands your knowledge as a lifelong learner, driving mental and intellectual stimulation at work or in the classroom.
There is focus on continued learning and ensuring suitability of our occupation, making use of our skills and talents which result in us feeling happy and rewarded. Your mind essentially needs continual stimulation for it to remain active and continue to learn and your chosen career/educational path needs to suit your skills and interests.
Your approach and attitude to work should always remain positive resulting in optimal job performance and ensuring complete satisfaction and happiness in your life.
Intellectual wellness attributes:
- Lifelong learning – ensuring a transferable skill set
- Healthy mind – stimulate your mind through reading or pursuing interests/hobbies
- Career path – change your occupation if it does not suit your skills or interests
- Flexibility – Don’t be rigid and instead be open to new thoughts and suggestions
3) Social wellness
The social wellness dimension encourages a social responsibility to protect and preserve our environment.
The natural environment can have a positive effect on our health and well-being. It reduces stress levels and has a calming effect which improves our mood, enabling us to build and enhance social connections. This subsequently encourages others to connect with, and be respectful of nature.
Social wellness attributes:
- Improve social relationships – meet friends in person and ditch the Whats App groups
- Protect the environment – recycle, use less energy, save water
- Contribute to community activities – don’t think only of yourself
4) Spiritual wellness
A spiritually well person lives a life which is consistent with their own values and beliefs.
There are many different belief systems globally and irrespective of which is right or wrong, you should look at what is right for you and not focus on the values and beliefs of others. Show curiosity and question the purpose of your existence, eliminate any distractions and focus solely on what is important to you.
On your journey to becoming a spiritually well person, you will experience positive emotions of happiness and hope together with negative emotions of sadness and disappointment.
Spiritual wellness attributes:
- Meditate – Join a meditation class and learn to meditate alone
- Be yourself – don’t let others dictate who you are
- Respect other faiths – be tolerant of other faiths
5) Emotional wellness
Emotional wellness focuses on the need to recognise and understand your feelings and also the feelings of those around you, earning their trust.
An emotionally well person’s outlook should remain positive and should focus on caring for themselves, thus viewing their life in a positive manner. It enables you to feel an emotional balance and ready to face all matters of stress that come your way.
If emotions get the better of you, they could impact the way you live your life, therefore you need to understand when to seek assistance and support from others.
Emotional wellness attributes:
- Emotional balance – understand and control your feelings i.e. stress, anxiety, depression, etc
- Optimism – view your glass as ‘half full’ and rid yourself of pessimism
- Seek support – reach out to others when you need support
A Conclusion to Wellness
The interconnected dimensions of wellness contribute to a healthier way of life, when viewed holistically.
On learning how to appreciate and apply each dimension, whilst focusing on balancing your spiritual, mental and physical well-being, you should start to see gradual benefits in your day to day.
The aim is to live your life as fully as you can.