It is pretty basic to start a blog off with a quote, but that is exactly what I am going to do.
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as:
“The active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”
There are a number of different definitions of wellness from all different sources, but after sorting through a few, this is the one that stood out. It is the definition upon which I base my practice. It describes wellness in 2 parts:
The active pursuit: This isn’t something we do one day and we’re set. It is something that is constant and everchanging and that needs adjusting in order to reach our optimal state.
The state of holistic health: There are different dimensions that need our focus and energy to be working in harmony.
As many different definitions of wellness as there are, there are even more different dimensions of wellness that are used. The GWI breaks wellness into 6 dimensions that are all encompassing.
Physical: Trying to achieve a healthy body. This is the most commonly practiced and main area of wellness people practice. This includes exercise, sleep and nutrition and more.
Mental: An internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect and function. It helps us avoid the pitfalls of stress and worry. It is not just the absence of mental illness, but also the ability to problem-solve and be creative.
Emotional: Being aware of, accepting and expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others. The ability to effectively manage these feelings in different situations and circumstances.
Spiritual: Searching for meaning and higher purpose in human existence. Not necessarily religion related, rather, it is about determining your passion, values and beliefs and living your life according to those.
Social: Connecting and engaging with others and our communities in meaningful ways. Having more genuine, supportive and healthy interactions with others and making the most of the connections you have.
Environmental: Fostering positive interrelationships between planetary health. It is important to ensure that you are putting yourself, others around you and nature in the best position to thrive in the present and more importantly, the future.
Why is this important? Well, there are clearly many different facets of our lives that are incorporated into optimal wellness and a state of holistic health. You may be absolutely killing it in 1 or 2 categories, but that could be because you are letting others suffer which may be more detrimental than beneficial in the long run. There are 168 hours in a week. People will work out 6 days a week and think that they’re taking care of their health, but in reality, that leaves probably 160 hours where other forms of wellness need to be addressed. Balance between all 6 is the key.
The other major factor is that wellness is centered around being proactive rather than reactive. Keep in mind, you may encounter a problem or event that causes a reaction to make an improvement in some category of your wellness. But it is then a continuing practice of making a lifestyle change that will foster growth and an improved quality of life. An optimal state of wellness allows us to face and overcome challenges in the present, then in turn be prepared for or prevent them in the future. Why just survive when you can thrive?