I hear a lot of questions regarding what wellness is exactly. My quick answer is ‘Wellness is a measure of someone’s mental and physical health.’ I usually get a blank face, so I add this when I sense a need for a more concrete answer, ‘It comprises nearly every aspect of your life, measures and compares them with each other, and puts you at a certain ‘wellness’ level, which is arbitrary to every individual. Once you have a measure of the aspects in your life as a whole, aligned with how you feel, you have your very own wellness level.’ I will break it down further later, but here is a bit more explanation. You may be flying high in one aspect of your life, but in the dumps with another, thereby averaging out to just average. The goal is to reach a point where every aspect in your life is flying high, or at least above average (again, this is arbitrary to how you feel.) To get there it is important to make healthy choices for both your physical and mental well-being, because problems in one area can impact another, as your mental health and physical health are truly linked. This is not to say that wellness is the absence of stress or sickness, on the contrary, there are levels of wellness and you can always strive for a higher level working through the challenges that life throws at you.
Breaking down the aspects of life that make up wellness can make it a bit easier to understand. Each aspect is not finite, as every life is unique in their own way. Here I put together the main points of each aspect for you to interpret into your own life.
The physical aspect contains the need for physical activity, our sleeping habits, and the foods we eat. Physical activity is necessary for optimum wellness. A sedentary lifestyle bogs people down and allows toxins to accumulate both mentally and physically. By getting up and moving, we rid our bodies and minds of toxins and keep them clear of the cobwebs, so to speak. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise is necessary to reach higher levels of wellness.
As we age, we get less sleep. In short, the chemical cues in the brain to sleep don’t diminish but the ability for the brain to recognize those cues diminish leading to less sleep. Today’s thoughts on aging is directly related to lack of sleep. My thought process is if you aren’t getting the necessary sleep over night, take those catnaps in the afternoon when you start dozing at your computer or in an early afternoon meeting. An hour will do you good!
Eat healthy foods that are tasty to you. It’s as easy as that. If you eat healthy foods that you don’t like, you aren’t helping your wellness because your mental health is being affected.
Challenging the mind is imperative for mental health. Finding new ways to expand your knowledge, build new skills, and knowing your own creative abilities will create homeostasis in your mind, leading to a higher level of wellness.
Just like knowing your own creative abilities on the intellectual portion, getting personal satisfaction and at least liking what you do for a living is a big part of wellness. So many times you hear your friends or family complaining about their work and co-workers, saying how much they hate their job, yet they don’t do anything about it. As long as they stay in those situations their wellness balance will always be low. If this is you, sit down with yourself and go over options you have available in your life and start making changes that will get you into a more happy place. Your wellness depends on it.
Occupational satisfaction doesn’t always lead to financial satisfaction, only you can create a lifestyle that is comfortable for you. Live within your means and avoid going into debt, outside of a house mortgage or car payment that is well in your means. Once you get established in a job, find a reputable financial adviser, one that understands your wants and needs, not one that just wants to get your commission money and move on.
How do you take what life throws at you? Do you have non-toxic relationships or do you get bogged down with people that wreak havoc on your life? By keeping an even keel and not over-reacting about every little thing you will be able to cope with the curve balls of life. The biggest thing to remember as you traverse your life’s road is that everyone is going through roughly the same stuff you are going through. My mantra to every interaction is “always assume positive intent” - don’t think everyone is out to get you. Use common sense and your own intuition and your emotional life will be grand!
Your environment nearly always has a bearing on your emotional state. Keep it pleasant, clean, and stimulating to ensure a healthy, mentally and physically, well-being.
This goes way beyond your Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram friends, although in a recent poll of millennial’s, they would rather chat or text rather than actually speak to their friends. That aside, developing a support system with real connections and a sense of belonging will keep your mental wellness in good shape, and your physical wellness will benefit also by interacting via sports, dancing, even shopping! Being social in the right environments can help diminish depression, too. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and be noticed to build new relationships. Give it a try!
Some people equate spirituality with religion. Yes, one definition of spiritual is ‘relating to religion’, however, another definition is ‘relating to the human spirit or soul’. You don’t have to believe in a supreme being to believe humans have souls. Spirituality is really about finding what your sense of purpose is, the meaning of life, without earthly possessions or material things. to have true wellness, you can not overlook your spirituality and what it means to you.
All of these aspects of life are equal to our food intake. When our lives are balanced we are fed in more ways than just with food. Strive to rid your life of toxins in every shape and form and you will be rewarded with a higher level of wellness that will enhance your life and give you more life in your life.
Victor Geraci is a Certified Health Coach. Contact Milano Day Spa for a free consultation and more information on his wellness program.