Every year brings new trends and health crazes. Through it all, one world has proven to be the most impactful on health. That is the world of wellness.
We keep hearing, here and there, people talking about wellness and how they are trying to make changes to their lives to be healthier. Some associate wellness to a particular dietary lifestyle, while others believe it is a meditation practice. But what is wellness, and how do we achieve it?
As explained by the University of California in Davis, wellness is the process of being aware and understanding what lifestyle to adopt to achieve a long healthy life (1). It is not a one-time diet, a temporary exercising routine, or a few pills taken every once in a while. Wellness, with its multidimensions, is a complete realm by itself.
The World Health Organization defines wellness as a state of complete wellbeing: physically, mentally, and socially. It adds to the definition one more idea: being well does not mean that you are not ill. So, a person who has no sickness is not necessarily well.
The National Wellness Institute, on the other hand, explains further by stating that a well individual is one who is conscious, evolving, and successful in achieving full potential.
Wellness matters. To have a good quality of life, live long years, and be happy; you must feel well. Wellbeing is involved in all aspects of your life. It affects your actions, your emotions, your thoughts, your work, and your social interactions. When one element is dysfunctional, the others will suffer.
There are nine dimensions of wellness. They are all interrelated and equally important for the pursuit of optimum health and happiness. When you understand the true meaning and value of every dimension and try to optimize it, only then can you achieve complete wellbeing.
It all begins with a healthy home. Everyone dreams of it; but, very few know to what it refers. Your home is as healthy as its building materials and practices, air, floors, paint, walls, and furniture. What products you use can either help build up toxins or prevent it. There are five principles for a healthy home (2).
Five Principles For a Healthy Home
- Make sure it is dry. Moisture leads to respiratory problems and is a prominent factor that attracts mites, rodents, molds, and roaches. Also, do your best to keep it ventilated. Try to increase the fresh air supply to reduce moisture and improve air quality.
- Your home has to be clean. That means it should not expose you to contaminants and chemicals. Also, when you clean your home, pests will not have a favorable environment to survive.
- Make sure it is pest-free without resorting to toxic pesticides, and contaminate free. Do not smoke indoors and keep an eye on the most common home contaminants like pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and asbestos.
- Safety is essential when at home. That means you should be protected from falls, poisonous materials and burns. Maintain well your home, never neglect it.
- When renovating, be aware of the products you are using. Some paints contain lead which could lead to respiratory illnesses.
You achieve spiritual wellness when you have a meaning and purpose to your life. Your choices represent what you believe in and value the most and that reflects your spiritual wellness. This dimension of wellness is in the abstract.
It is not measured or tested; but, it brings peace and meaning to your life. It could include religious faith, beliefs, values, ethics, principles, and even morals. You can maintain your spiritual wellbeing by prayer, meditation, yoga, breathing(s), and more.
You are well, physically when you take care of your body properly and help it function as it should. That includes balancing physical activity, nutrition, and mental wellbeing. To understand the basics of this wellness dimension, you must understand how your body works.
Your organs, both internal and external, are in charge of maintaining your physical wellness. Your energy levels help to charge these organs with the adequate amount necessary for proper functioning. So, all you will need to do is eat a well-balanced diet, workout regularly, sleep early, and get a yearly physical to keep an eye on your body’s performance.
When you are aware of your emotions, understand and accept them while being able to manage them effectively, you are at your optimal emotional wellness/wellbeing. When you are emotionally healthy, this does not mean that you have to be happy all the time, but rather, that you are able to slow down from time to time to practice mindfulness.
Life is filled with challenges and problems. When you know how to cope and deal with these issues, you would have achieved good emotional health. Think of it as looking at the glass half full instead of half empty.
When you are doing exactly what you want in life, are satisfied with it, and able to balance work and leisure, you are in complete occupational wellness. That’s when you feel motivated and interested in your tasks, are working hard and enjoying your personal life at the same time, communicating and collaborating with your peers, and feeling inspired and challenged at work (3).
Financial wellness. This dimension is realized when you are working well and able to meet minimal financial stress while establishing a strong foundation in the presence of a successful future financial goal.
In other words, you are making enough money to support your needs and are managing your financials properly. This kind of wellbeing lowers stress levels that most people face when in a financial crisis. It is an essential part of your life that can have a negative effect on all other dimensions.
Intellectual wellness. Being intellectually well means that you are engaging in creative activities that are stimulating your mental functions. In that case, you are being able to expand your knowledge while effectively using resources around you. You can sign up for additional courses, be involved in cultural happenings, get engaged in your community, and build personal hobbies.
Your social wellness is an essential dimension of wellbeing that refers to your interaction with others. When people face difficult moments in life, it is their relationships that offer some kind of support.
There are three pillars of social wellbeing: communication, healthy relationships, and stress management. Remember, social wellness should not include bad habits that you might believe are a sign of social acceptance, like drinking, drugs, and smoking (4).
We do not exist as lonely beings; we are a part of the whole world. The way we live our lives in harmony with this world determines our environmental wellness.
This dimension is at its optimal when you know how to be environmentally friendly and conscientious, protect yourself and others, reduce the use of toxic chemicals like pesticides and pollutants, and take the appropriate actions to benefit the future generations.
Every one of these dimensions is essential for maintaining optimal health and long positive life. They are all equal in importance and should be well understood and maintained. How well are you balancing your wellness dimensions? Take this FREE Quiz to discover your Holistic Wellness Score.