Wellbeing is more than just living a healthy life with physical activity and nutritious eating.
Today, to achieve wellness we look to a multilayered approach combining physical, mental, financial, and spiritual wellbeing. And when we focus adequately on each of these dimensions we can live a more balanced life.
The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as, “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”
What would being well look like for you? Perhaps it’s any or all of the following:
- Being free of illness
- Sleeping 7 or more hours each night
- Looking HOT in your favorite jeans
- Being in a mutually satisfying relationship
- Exercising most days of the week
- Not smoking
- Controlling blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Having an adequate emergency fund
- Enjoying your work
- Raising healthy, happy children
- Having enough for yourself and/or family, plus extra to give back to others
Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it may be you can achieve wellness no matter where you’re starting from.
Common elements of wellbeing are physical, social, intellectual, financial, occupational, and the community/environment.
Achieving whole body wellness requires attention in all areas. You can get fit, have friends, work in a job you enjoy, recycle, and connect with nature, but if you don’t stimulate your mind or if you mismanage your finances, total wellness may elude you.
- Physical – Positive habits of physical movement, balanced eating, adequate sleep, and stress reduction while avoiding harmful habits.
- Emotional – Awareness, acceptance, and positive expression of thoughts and feelings.
- Spirituality/Faith – Involves seeking the meaning and purpose of life. Establishing peace, and harmony, while accepting guidance in the journey.
- Intellectual – Challenging and expanding the mind, as well as, continuous learning, strengths improvement, problem-solving, processing, and creativity. Focus, engagement and active collaboration with others in the World.
- Environmental/Community – Respect, protection, and enjoyment of the Earth and its surroundings, including nature and all those living in it.
- Financial – Understanding and directing money in all economic situations for real progression and security.
- Career – Contribution of unique strengths, skills, and talents to work or unpaid activities, so that it is personally significant and gratifying.
- Social – Connection with others to relate, communicate, and participate with them positively.
Attaining a state of wellness starts with knowing where you are, where you want to go and discovering how you’ll get there. You work to understand yourself inherently and move from the inside-out.
You’ll likely need to spend time in reflection, clear any emotional and intellectual clutter, and let the dust settle. Then you can attend to your individual needs in each area and succeed in making changes and creating transformation.
The area you begin focusing on is less important than just starting. But, I’ve often seen a greater concentration on the physical dimension initially proving beneficial. Positive lifestyle changes in this area can increase your energy and build confidence to address other areas later.
As you go forward, while you may focus on one area to start, you may find that each dimension gets attention naturally. Sometimes simultaneously.
At times improvements towards achieving wellness are seen immediately, other times they’re noticed much later.
While you may not feel complete wellness by checking all the boxes in each area, consideration to each dimension allows for a healthy and simplified balance.
Perhaps, as you achieve greater financial independence, you spend less of your health on wealth and your stress level decreases, you find yourself sleeping better, your creativity increases and you earn that promotion at work as a result.