Good morning everyone, and welcome to Tangible Movement’s first ever Wellness Wednesday! Wellness is one of the topics I am most excited to write about, as it is rich both in content and in universal importance. According to the World Health Organization, the term ‘wellness’ refers to “...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In other words, wellness is an ongoing journey that affects all areas of an individual. Because today marks the premiere of Wellness Wednesday, I thought it would be beneficial to provide an introduction to the wellness - specifically, its eight different dimensions. Each of these categories are related and of equal importance. By gaining an understanding of each of the eight dimensions, one can achieve peak wellness.
1. EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Emotional wellness is concerned with gaining an understanding of one’s feelings. A person with a high level of emotional wellness will be able to successfully handle change, disappointment, and hard times. Some topics within the realm of emotional wellness are self-care, setting priorities, getting quality sleep, building relationships, and coping with grief. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who are emotionally well “have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster.” They are also “able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times”.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS
Environmental wellness considers living a life in harmony with nature. It encourages us to be respectful of our surroundings and to take actions to protect them. The best way to improve environmental wellness is simply to become more aware! Some steps to take to increase your environmental wellness are to volunteer, compost, conserve water and energy, recycle, and research! Environmental wellness is important because it leads to a more balanced lifestyle and makes real change in the world. A great way to get started on this journey is to calculate your current impact on the environment, and try to reduce it!
This site will tell you how many Earths we would need if everyone had the same lifestyle as you, and what your personal “overshoot day” (the point at which resource consumption exceeds resource regeneration) is: http://www.footprintcalculator.org/.
3. FINANCIAL WELLNESS
Financial wellness is the ability to successfully manage expenses and avoid excessive money-related anxiety. According to the 2017 Stress in America Survey, 62% of Americans have reported that money is a significant source of stress in their lives. Having strong financial wellness helps decrease this economic stress, which improves health. Financial wellness initiatives include debt management, retirement preparedness, budgeting, and more! Financial Finesse describes financial wellness as “a state of well-being where an individual has achieved minimal financial stress, established a strong financial foundation, and created an ongoing plan to help reach future financial goals”. The goal of a financially well America is to create a generation of stable individuals who have the capacity to withstand any economic changes in the country.
4. INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS
The term “intellectual wellness” refers to being constantly challenged and stimulated mentally. Having a high level of intellectual wellness is important because it motivates and inspires an individual to develop an understanding of themself and the relationship they have to their surroundings. Ways to improve intellectual wellness include becoming academically and culturally involved, finding and partaking in hobbies, being active in one’s community, traveling, and exploring the arts! People who are very intellectually well are more likely to have stronger problem solving, critical thinking, logical, and creative skills!
5. OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS
Occupational wellness delves into the relationship that one has with their work. Having a higher level of occupational wellness increases personal satisfaction by improving the attitude that one has towards their career. In 2013, Forbes magazine reported that “work is more often a source of frustration than fulfillment for nearly 90% of the world’s workers.” Finding a career that suits you is vital because working takes up the majority of your time during the week, so the way that you feel about it will contribute to your overall well-being. Some suggestions to begin the journey towards occupational wellness are to reflect on your skillset and what you enjoy, set realistic career goals, and use volunteering and interning as an opportunity to explore different career choices in the professional world.
6. PHYSICAL WELLNESS
Physical wellness is focused on keeping the body in top condition so that it can function as effectively as possible. Elements of physical wellness include nutrition, activity, and overall healthy lifestyle. Steps to take on the path towards physical wellness include engaging in daily exercise, practicing portion control, consuming healthy meals, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Someone who has a high level of physical wellness will have a decreased risk of illness, a nutrient-rich diet, an active lifestyle, and a nurtured body. The benefits of physical wellness include enhanced self-esteem and self-control in addition to sharpened thinking and learning abilities. It is important to note that there is a direct relationship between physical and mental health.
7. SOCIAL WELLNESS
Social wellness deals with the relationships and connections that exist in our personal lives. Having a strong sense of social wellness is essential because it improves emotional resilience, provides a strong support system, encourages boundaries and communication, and develops trust and conflict management skills. In order to increase social wellness, one can make an effort to keep in touch with close friends and family, become more active in clubs and community, and learn to balance the demands of a social life with other parts of life. A person with higher social wellness will be well-adjusted, comfortable in social situations, assertive, and able to form meaningful connections.
8. SPIRITUAL WELLNESS
The eighth and final dimension of wellness is spiritual wellness. Spiritual wellness is the journey of finding meaning in one’s life and purpose in one’s existence. This is the most complex layer, as there are many ways to achieve spiritual wellness - religion is not the only way to get in touch with the spiritual self. Because spiritual wellness can only come from within and differs greatly between individuals, there is not a singular right way to achieve it. However, to start on the journey towards spiritual wellness, one can practice meditation and acceptance, reflect on life-changing events, seek a religious faith if desired, and consider who they are and why. A person with heightened spiritual wellness will appreciate their lives, find meaning in their experiences, and strike a balance between the inner self and the outer world.
I hope that this introduction was helpful, and wish you all the best of luck in your individual wellness journeys! By enforcing small changes in lifestyle, you can make a huge impact!
By: Jessica Hutt