What is Wellness?
People often think Wellness means physical health, such as nutrition, exercise, weight control, etc.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines Wellness as: “Being in a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
What Are the Dimensions of Wellness?
Some experts say there are ten dimensions or aspects of Wellness; others say there are seven, and still others maintain that Wellness encompasses six or eight mutually interdependent dimensions.
But what is certain is that when you change your habits, you change your life.
You want to become the best kind of person you can be. You want to reach your full potential. You want to care about yourself in all areas of life.
That said, this article will discuss five aspects or dimensions of life that you must become aware of to make choices toward a healthy, fulfilling life so you can thrive:
Holistic means each dimension is interrelated with the others. In wellness, you consciously develop the whole self, living life as fully as possible.
You develop physical Wellness through what you do to your body and what you put inside your body. Looking good and feeling good will also raise your self-esteem, so you achieve psychological benefits as well.
To stay healthy as you age means giving more thought to your health than perhaps you have been to date.
Ideas to Improve Physical Wellness
Get Sufficient Exercise
A ten-year study of 8,500 middle-aged men and women showed that sedentary workers had three times as many heart attacks as manual workers.
Therefore, physical exercise often makes the difference between enjoying life at seventy and being afflicted by aches, pains, and boredom at the same age.
The many benefits touted of regular exercise proponents include improved conditions of the heart and lungs and other body organs.
The Oxygen delivered to body cells improves blood circulation and overall health.
Also, a test conducted by the Japanese Education Ministry found that men who exercised regularly had the physical stamina of men ten years younger, and women, that of women who were five years younger.
Regular exercise and physical activity can:
- Give you an emotional lift
- Improve your mood
- Boost energy
- Promote better sleep
- Strengthen bones
- Protect your joints
- Prevent bladder control problems
- Ward off memory loss
- Keep your weight under control
“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.”—T. Colin Campbell
According to a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), “The prevalence of obesity was 39.8 percent and affected 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016.”
In 2020, the U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent, the first time the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark, according to the CDC.
Our country has lousy eating habits.
Hippocrates called the “father of medicine,” has said: “Thy food shall be thy remedy.” Better than food is a remedy is food for health maintenance!
Most health experts recommend that you eat a balanced, healthy diet. But what’s a healthy diet?
It should include:
- Protein (found in fish, meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and beans)
- Fat (found in animal and dairy products, nuts, and oils)
- Carbohydrates (found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and other legumes)
- Vitamins (such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K)
- Minerals (such as calcium, potassium, and iron)
- Water (both in what you drink, and water found in foods)
Get More Sleep
To have good health, you must get sufficient rest. It has been said, “sleep is to the man that winding up is to a clock.”
Sleep restores energy to the body, brain, and the rest of the nervous system.
Sleep also gives us a break from the many tensions of the day. In sleep, we rest our bodies and get rest from such burdens as loneliness and poor health.
Spanish author Cervantes said centuries ago concerning sleep that, “it is meat to the hungry, drink for the thirst, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot.”
Proper sleep is vital!
How much sleep?
A research paper published in Sleep Health recommended the following ranges for sleep for healthy individuals and those not suffering from sleep disorders:
- Teenagers—eight to ten hours
- Adults and young adults—seven to nine hours
- Older adults—seven to eight hours (or slightly decrease to 6.5 to 7 hours per night)
Be aware that sleep is an ever-changing field. To learn more about sleep duration, visit: https://www.sleephealthjournal.org
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Here are a few tips:
- Make sure your room is well ventilated.
- Turn down the noise.
- Avoid drinking coffee or cola drinks after midday.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal or spicy foods shortly before bedtime.
- Learn to relax (meditation, reading).
- Practice deep breathing.
- Try a warm bath to help you relax.
- Play soothing music.
- Have the right mental attitude and emotional state (the worst thing you can do is a worry when you can’t sleep).
What are emotions?
According to Wikipedia.org, an “emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. Emotions are complex. According to some theories, they are states of feeling that result in physical and psychological changes that influence our behavior.”
Ideas to Improve Emotions
You will want to understand and respect your feelings and attitudes as well as others.
You will want to recognize and control your negative emotions by first understanding your emotional triggers.
What are the emotional triggers?
Also referred to as “hot buttons,” emotional triggers are those situations, words spoken, or problems that may cause you to tense up or feel distressed.
Most of us have specific needs or values—when others do not acknowledge these needs they will take us on emotional ups and downs.
Examples of everyday emotional needs:
- To be treated fairly
- To be needed
- To be valued
- To be liked
You will want to manage your emotions creatively, feel positive, and maintain optimism and enthusiasm about life.
Here are a few techniques to help you shift your emotional state if you feel triggered:
- Relax: Breathe and release the tension in your body.
- Detach: Clear your mind of all thoughts.
- Center: Pretend that your awareness can be moved and drop it to the center of your body just below your navel and feel your breathing, as this will help you clear your mind.
- Focus and Implant: Choose one keyword representing how you want to feel or who you want to be in that moment.
For instance, you could choose the word “patient” if someone is getting on your last nerve!
“Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can apply to personal decisions, group interactions, and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.”(Source: Vanderbilt.edu)
Value lifelong learning.
Continue to grow intellectually.
Expand knowledge and skills.
Ideas to Improve Intellectual Dimension
- Virtual Classes
- Career Counseling
- Online Therapy
- Intro to Screenwriting
- COVID-19 in Africa: Managing the Outbreak in Primary Care Settings
- Food as Medicine and Our Genome
Udemy.com (“Learn anything on your schedule.”)
- Personal Development
Udemy also invites you to share your gifts with others on their platform.
Experts consider learning essential to a well-rounded life.
More ideas to improve intellectual wellness:
- Learn a foreign language
- Play games
- Play instruments
- Do puzzles
- Join a book club
- Go to or watch a TED Talk
Like food nourishes the body, information and continued learning nourishes the mind. Stay current with world events.
Experts consider learning essential to a well-rounded life.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”—Albert Einstein
Never stop learning.
Idea: Turn off the TV and Netflix and read!
“I’m still learning.”—Michelangelo (at age 87)
Social Wellness means fostering genuine connections with those around you, being comfortable and confident with other people, and having a healthy relationship with family and friends.
Social Wellness also means letting others care about you.
Getting involved in your community, sharing projects, helping others, and volunteering when needed are ways to improve your social Wellness.
Build a social support network.
One of the most significant benefits of having good social wellness is that you develop a network of friends and family members to whom you can turn for assistance when needed.
Social Wellness means a sense of interconnectedness and interdependence = a sense of belonging.
Today, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged to practice social distancing to prevent the virus’s spread. Having in-person, face-to-face interaction is limited.
The health guidelines to 1) stay six feet away from others, and 2) avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, may cause some to feel isolated.
But with the nationwide (and worldwide) spread of the pandemic, and most people’s desire to protect themselves and others from this disease, you may also discover a feeling of community.
We’re all in this together.
You feel part of something bigger than yourself.
You care about the greater good of society.
The sense of community is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself when it comes to social Wellness.
“The compassionate actions of its members most accurately measure the greatness of a community.”—Coretta Scott King
Ideas to Improve Social Wellness (And Expand Your Social Network):
- Find an interest group online.
- Join a book club (expand your mind and social circle).
- Get involved in your community.
- Build new relationships.
- Schedule time with family, friends, or colleagues—on Zoom, if necessary.
- Recognize when you are in an unhealthy relationship.
- Refrain from blaming or criticizing others
- Communicate your feelings.
- Practice self-disclosure around those you trust.
- Have fun!
A word of caution: You want to form quality relationships built on trust, intimacy, and connection. But know your boundaries. If you find that you have a bond to someone critical and negative that increases your stress level or drains your energy, it may be an unhealthy union.
And if someone is hurting you emotionally or physically, RUN!!
Spirituality: “Having to do with the human spirit as opposed to physical things.”—Oxford English Dictionary
Many believe that a “spiritual” person spends time defining personal values and ethics and makes any decision in life to complement them.
Someone concerned with his spirituality will search for meaning and purpose in life and strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others with or without organized religion.
A spiritual person will balance inner, personal needs with the rest of the world and care about others’ welfare not just what satisfies himself.
Spirituality means having a calm heart.
Ideas to Improve Spiritual Wellness:
- Meditate. Take five to 10 minutes each day to stop, reflect, and free your mind of worry. Meditation will focus your attention inward; it feeds the heart.
- Have Purpose. Think profoundly and at length about the meaning of your life; if you have a religion, study and practice it.
- Practice Yoga. It can improve the overall quality of life: sleep, spiritual well-being, anxiety, depression, mood, and fatigue.
- Think positively. Believe it or not, you can choose how to feel. Enrich your life with positive thoughts.
- Be grateful. There is no room for resentment or fear if your life is full of gratitude; appreciate the natural world around you.
- Be calm. According to one proverb, “A relaxed attitude lengthens life.”
- Write your memoir. See the miracles in your life more clearly. Find the meaning of life by writing your bio.
Wellness includes five mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. Neglecting one element can negatively affect others.
And ultimately, your overall health, well-being, and quality of life will suffer.
Make choices that empower you to grow in all dimensions: Physical Wellness, Emotional Wellness, Intellectual Wellness, Social Wellness, and Spiritual Wellness.
We each have our views on life and what it means to live life fully.
While all elements or Dimensions of Wellness do not have equal balance, your goal is to strive for an agreement that feels real to you.
Through Wellness, you do indeed have the secret to holistic growth and prosperity.
Total Access Medical, LLC
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Vanderbilt University: Recreation and Wellness Center
A Family Caregiver’s Guide: Seven Secrets to Convert Negative Triggers to Positive Emotions