How can I live a healthy lifestyle? – Your body and mind are interconnected. In much the same way that you feed, exercise and rest your body, you need also to nurture your mind physically, mentally, emotionally and intellectually. The best way to live a holistic lifestyle is to discover your wellness potential by becoming more aware of your inner and outer self. Where are you on the Wellness Wheel right now?
Discovering Your Dimensions of Wholeness on The Wellness Wheel
PHYSICAL WELLNESS: involves optimizing your physical health and well-being through good nutrition, physical activity and engaging in practices that move you towards a higher level of wholeness while actively avoiding health risks.
TIPS: 1) Look for ways to integrate exercise and physical activity into your daily routine; take the stairs instead of the elevator. 2) Aim for a balanced and varied diet that includes lots of unprocessed high-fiber foods that are low in saturated fats (fruits, vegetables, whole grains). Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary juices and soda.
3) Surround yourself with positive messages and role models; spend time around people who feel good about their bodies and treat their bodies with respect. Place inspirational quotes within view and avoid over-exposure to unrealistic media messages about how our bodies should look.
ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS: embraces our ability to recognize our responsibility to protect the environment not just globally but within our own communities. For example, dumping of toxic waste, second hand cigarette smoke and crime all affect our personal environment and has an impact on the 7 areas of wellness.
TIPS: 1) Recycle: Not just paper, glass, plastic and aluminum but also clothes, furniture, toys, appliances, etc. Donate them to the Salvation Army or Good Will Store in your neighborhood. Also by adopting a ‘Buy No New Goods’ attitude, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on picking up recycled furniture or appliances and be better off for it.
2) Volunteer in your community or mentor at a prison. Remember changed people, change people.
3) Save water: Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes. Fill the sink with water as opposed to letting the faucet run.
OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS: involves having a sense of purpose in life. We all have gifts and talents but too often we choose employment which doesn’t make use of our God given abilities in order to gain purpose, happiness and fulfillment in life. Through vocational, professional or occupational wellness we have the opportunity to make good use of our education and training to hone our skills to make this world a better place. So if your job or career doesn’t bring you the enrichment you desire in seeking wholeness, try a lateral move towards a rewarding lifestyle like volunteering in the community, sharing your gift or talents with others through teaching or even joining a church.
TIPS: 1) Explore a variety of career options; choose a career that suits your personality, interests, and talents; Visit a career planning/placement office and use the available resources
2) Create a vision for your future 3) Be open to change and learn new skills.
EMOTIONAL WELLNESS: is the ability to cope with stress in a positive way and/or improve certain mental states while maintaining a positive sense of self. These mental states include anger, stress, sadness or fear, as well as joy, happiness, hope and love. You need to be able to enjoy life in spite of challenges, frustrations and disappointments. To be comfortable with one’s emotions, you must be able to understand your own feelings, accept your limitations, be accountable for your actions and achieve emotional stability. One example of emotional wellness is being able to learn from the past, plan for the future and live in the present.
One of the crucial steps toward maintaining healthy emotions and living an authentic, self- actualized life is spending quality time alone. Implementing activities that bring peace into your daily life such as prayer, meditation, deep breathing exercises and even Yoga helps you to learn how to be at peace and improves your overall health. They will also develop your ability to focus and center your emotions such as anger, stress and depression to find a solution to your circumstance. Maintaining a happy and optimistic disposition within the context of mental, intellectual and emotional wellbeing contributes significantly to living a far happier and healthier life.
Remember, you must also be able to recognize when you need to seek additional help, advice or professional guidance. This will also assist you in determining your overall emotional health while on a journey to total wellness.
TIPS: 1) Practice Positive Thinking. Be optimistic, and create hopeful expectations for the future.
2) Stop Negative Self-Talk. Statements like “I’m no good” or “nobody likes me” are not healthy. Remind yourself often about your positive characteristics; open yourself to humor…allow yourself to laugh.
3) Recognize Your Feelings. Be able to identify when you are angry, sad, disgusted, anxious and so on. Accept your feelings and emotions, they’re a normal part of being human; once you accept them, even painful emotions will be less troubling.
SOCIAL WELLNESS: refers to the ability to interconnect and relate positively with others both within and outside of the family unit. It involves developing and building close friendships and intimacy; practicing empathy and effective listening; caring for others, while allowing others to care for you, and a concern for the common good for all. Can you maintain positive and meaningful relationships with family, friends and co-workers?
Social Wellness allows us to be friendly and affectionate toward others, while seeking positive interdependent rather than codependent relationships and developing healthy social behaviors. And most of all to be aware of our importance in contributing to society as well as having a positive impact on multiple environments such as work, school, home, church, etc., with the willingness to live in harmony with others to make the world a better place. The socially well person has a network of friends and family he or she can turn to for support, validation and sharing of life experiences.
These relationships are based on mutual trust and respect. A strong social network can create a good mood and enhance self-esteem. Would you believe that warm, close friendships increases your levels of immunoglobulin A which is an antibody that helps keep away respiratory infections and cavities? Also remember to be cognitive of negative and positive relationships in terms of your overall well-being. Friends should always be an asset to your life, promoting upward growth and fulfillment. A true friend would never steal your joy, zap your life energy or be constantly burdensome. Sure every relationship has its ups and downs, good days and bad ones, but you should be reminded to always ask yourself,
“Do they have my best interest at heart?” You’ll discover an even healthier realization if you can measure your friendship to them with the same parameter.
TIPS: 1) Practice Self Discovery. Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas.
2) Cultivate Healthy Relationships. A few strong friendships can be more fulfilling than a large group of acquaintances.
3) Get Involved. Contribute to your community; Share your talents and skills.
4) Laughter really is therapeutic.
INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS: consists of creativity and a capacity to question and think critically; it encourages positive thoughts and being open to new ideas and experiences; it also includes an aspiration for ongoing curiosity. It is the desire to continue learning while stimulating and challenging your mind. It is the determination to expand your knowledge and improve your skills for a healthy lifestyle. Our mental capacity is another important factor that we often overlook.
Mental sharpness is a result of continuing to use the mind in order to learn, teach, communicate, think and experience life productively as a top priority in evaluating your wellness goals. Eating a healthy diet and nutritional supplements can improve your mental faculties, prevents degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s so that you can embrace lifelong learning. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.
TIPS: 1) Read For Fun. Pick up a newspaper or educational pamphlet to remain knowledgeable about current issues and past events.
2) Try to learn something new every day. Keep your eyes and mind open to new ideas and focus on learning something new each day.
3) Challenge yourself to see more than one side of an issue. Watch educational television and enlighten your mind or attend an educational workshop or seminar, not because you are earning credit, but because you want to increase your knowledge.
SPIRITUAL WELLNESS: is the a personal quest for meaning, value, and purpose that involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles or ideals that helps give meaning and direction to one’s life. It is the ability to find peace and balance in our lives in which our values and ethics match our actions. Spiritual wellness consists of a development of a deep appreciation for life, a high level of faith, hope, and commitment to your individual beliefs that provides a sense of meaning and purpose resulting in joy, courage, gratitude and forgiveness.
It’s about maintaining the health of your soul. Learning to listen to your inner voice and trusting your intuition by paying attention to your feelings, emotions and thoughts to gain strength can help you find your direction; but you need to stop and listen. People can express their meaning and purpose in life through good deeds performed towards others, respect for nature, communicating their unity with the Almighty through their lifestyle, art, music, devoutness in religious practices, prayer and meditation.
Spiritual Wellness is an integral component of your journey to complete wholeness. Although religion can be an integral part of spiritual wholeness for some, research has consistently indicated that a spiritual bond with our creator or perhaps a commitment to a higher, greater power for which some believe in, cannot only help people recover from a serious illness, but it can help people live longer and enjoy life more.
TIPS: 1) Nurture Your Spiritual Side. Continue to seek purpose in your life. Understand your beliefs, why you have them, and why you value them. Access the wisdom within you by enhancing your connection between your mind and body and take care of your health.
2) Count your blessings, both big and small. Change your attitude to gratitude through your actions or words and don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the details of life; keep track of them by writing them down to reflect on in times of trouble to uplift your countenance. Remember to thank God for His blessings each day and take time out to thank or encourage someone today.
3) Find inner serenity and tranquility. Center yourself in a calm place through prayer, meditation, recreation, nature walk, exercise (yoga) or solitude. Find what works for you and then make sure you find the time to pursue it. 4) If you haven’t done it already…Discover forgiveness!
Use This Wellness Wheel As A Guide. However, you may find that it will mean different things to different people. According to The World Health Organization’s (WHO), definition of health and wellness is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.
On a whole, each person’s definition of wellness will largely depend on how he or she perceives, assesses and manages their needs and life circumstances. You can “Re-invent the Wheel” by prioritizing what is most important to you. It is a lifetime responsibility in continuing our wellness and evaluating our levels of wholeness.
This is not a difficult thing to achieve if we use our resources wisely as well as educate ourselves as to the things that our bodies require in order to maintain wellness. So, start reaping the benefits from continued wellness today!