IMPROVE thru' PERSONAL WELLNESS
Personal Wellness can be broadly defined as “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” [Dictionary.com]
There are three important things to note about what this definition suggests and one missing piece that I will elaborate upon:
1. Wellness encompasses the body and the mind.
2. It is the result of specific efforts.
3. Those efforts are deliberate.
The missing piece is that wellness is a process. Rather than wellness being something we achieve and check off our to-do list, we must be deliberate and choose behaviors that will lead us toward a desired state. This is important to note because if we think of wellness only as a state of being, we could very well overlook important considerations that will help us sustain our state of being.
Here’s a comparison to illustrate how wellness can be a ‘state of being’ and a ‘process’. ‘Quality’ in business or manufacturing allows consumers to declare whether or not a product is superior or inferior – as in ‘good quality’ or ‘poor quality’. In the production of the product, specific standards of quality are set and numerous processes are created to ensure those standards are reached and maintained. Entire departments and quality management teams are formed to develop new processes and throw out or adapt the ones that don’t work. It’s an ongoing process. It never stops. Just as in our quest for wellness, once we achieve our desired state, there are likely specific behaviours we will have to maintain or adapt in order to stay there.
Being “well” means something different to everyone. Some of us have to work hard at it and for some, it seems to come with much more ease. Either way, our own personal wellness journey often arises out of a lack of balance somewhere in our life that leads to setting a goal. As we work toward achieving our goals, we sometimes fail to recognise all of the factors at play and what’s already going well.
Social Wellness – how you relate to self, others, and community; having supportive relationships and a sense of belonging.
Physical Wellness – how you care for you body and mind; your health and vitality.
Environmental Wellness – how you create environments around you to support your best self, as well as how you relate to the global environment.
Emotional/Mental Wellness – your awareness and acceptance of your feelings; your thoughts, attitudes, and self-talk; your resilience and self-esteem.
Intellectual Wellness – having creative and stimulating activities that allow you to continue learning and pursuing your interests.
Career / Livelihood – having fulfilling and meaningful work in which you nurture your gifts, skills and talents.
Spiritual Wellness – your sense of meaning and purpose in your life; how you integrate your beliefs and values into action.
Financial Wellness – how you understand and handle your money in ways that provide for you now, as well as prepare you for financial changes.
In each of these areas, do you have a balance of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of wellness? Where are things going well? Where would you like to see a change?
Health is a dynamic process because it is always changing.
We all have times of good health, times of sickness, and maybe even times of serious illness. As our lifestyles change, so does our level of health. Those of us who participate in regular physical activity do so partly to improve the current and future level of our health. We strive toward an optimal state of well-being. As our lifestyle improves, our health also improves and we experience less disease and sickness. When most people are asked what it means to be healthy, they normally respond with the four components of fitness (cardio respiratory ability, muscular ability, flexibility, and body composition). Although these components are a critical part of being healthy, they are not the only contributing factors. Physical health is only one aspect of our overall health.
The other components of health that are just as important as physical health include the following:
- Social health-The ability to interact well with people and the environment and to have satisfying personal relationships.
- Mental health-The ability to learn and grow intellectually. Life experiences as well as more formal structures (e.g., school) enhance mental health.
- Emotional health- The ability to control emotions so that you feel comfortable expressing them and can express them appropriately.
- Spiritual health- A belief in some unifying force. It varies from person to person but has the concept of faith at its core.
- Supplement health- Some supplements can help assure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function; others may help reduce the risk of disease.
Wellness is the search for enhanced quality of life, personal growth, and potential through positive lifestyle behaviours and attitudes. If we take responsibility for our own health and well-being, we can improve our health on a daily basis. Certain factors influence our state of wellness, including nutrition, physical activity, stress-coping methods, good relationships, and career success.
Each day we work toward maximizing our level of health and wellness to live long, full, and healthy lives. The pursuit of health, personal growth, and improved quality of life relies on living a balanced life. To achieve balance, we need to care for our mind, body, and spirit.
If any of these three areas is consistently lacking or forgotten about, we will not be at our optimal level of health. We are constantly challenged with balancing each of these three areas throughout life.