If you have been hearing about wellness everywhere you go these days, you are not alone.
It seems like the entire world has woken up to this concept and is looking to make it a way of life. You only need to scroll your social media feed for a few minutes to find multiple posts and people talking about it.
In a way, this makes total sense given how complicated our lives have become in the modern world.
Today, we face more challenges than we ever have and the increasing sophistication of these challenges only adds to our troubles.
It is not a surprise that billions of people are suffering from something or the other that’s affecting their happiness and quality of life.
This is why wellness has become such a common talking point among people.
People are finally realizing that life is meant to be lived well and doing so is possible even in the world we live in.
But despite all this, do we know what wellness really is?
What Does Wellness Mean?
If you ask ten different people what wellness means, you are likely to get ten different answers.
Some might say it means to live happily without any concern, some might say it means achieving proper health, some might say it relates to one’s purpose in life, and so on.
Like art, wellness happens to be a subjective concept.
What constitutes wellness for one person might not apply to other people.
So, to understand wellness, you have to take a holistic approach and remain open to definitions that you might not agree with.
In fact, even in ancient China, Greece, and Rome, people acknowledged that wellness includes different dimensions of one’s life.
They understood that these dimensions are all interconnected and that only by taking care of them all we can ensure harmony, happiness, joy, and fulfillment.
For example, if your health suffers, other dimensions of life such as career, finances, and relationships might also get affected.
The opposite is true too.
If one area goes well, it has a positive impact on the other areas.
The Many Dimensions of Wellness
If you want to achieve holistic wellness in your life, it is important to pay attention to all the key areas.
As mentioned above, these areas are interconnected and you have to create a balance between all of them.
Even though this might sound like a herculean task, the truth is that if you get the little things right, everything else will take care of itself.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the many dimensions of wellness.
This is perhaps the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “wellness.”
After all, as the old adage goes, “Health is the greatest wealth.”
If you think about it, your physical and mental health form the foundation of all the other dimensions of life.
Without being healthy and fit, nothing else even matters! Unfortunately, though, most of us only realize this when we get sick.
To achieve physical wellness, you need to begin by assessing how your body and mind are functioning at the moment.
What ailments are you suffering from? Do you have an ideal weight? Are you lacking strength in a particular part of your body? What about your stamina? Are you able to run a mile without getting tired? Also, what does your mental landscape look like? Do you get stressed often? What effect do challenges have on you?
These and many other questions will help you understand how things are right now in regard to your health.
You can then take steps to improve it and finally achieve physical wellness.
To start with, you can include some common measures in your daily routine. These are exercise, yoga, eating a proper diet, getting enough sleep, practicing stress management, staying hydrated, looking after your skin, limiting alcohol intake, cutting down on sugar intake, etc.
These measures, when done sincerely, can begin to show positive results within a week or so.
And they are easy enough to not disrupt your life too much or take away too much of your time.
One important facet of any human being is their intellectual side.
This is different from the mental health aspect that we talked about above.
While mental health mostly relates to a person’s psychological well-being, intellectual wellness refers to a person’s curiosity, creativity, mental abilities, mental stimulation, learning, and so on.
To achieve intellectual wellness, you might need to take a deeper dive into your mind.
As each person is unique, you need to understand how your mind is shaped and how it likes to be stimulated.
For instance, you might be a highly curious person and may want to learn as much as possible about the world around you. However, you may lack creativity. On the other hand, you might have sharp logical skills, but you may lack the motivation to learn anything new.
So, try to figure out what matters to you most when it comes to your mind.
What do you naturally get attracted to? Whom do you get attracted to the most? What are the types of activities you like doing? What are the types of movies you enjoy watching? What types of friends do you like to hang around with? What skills do you value the most?
The answers to these questions will give you an overview of your mental landscape. You can then take steps to ensure intellectual wellness.
You can also do some other common things toward this end.
For instance, you can read books, learn a new language, take up a new hobby, converse with different people, play a musical instrument, watch different genres of movies, and so on.
Most people’s ideas of wellness relate somehow or the other to emotional wellness.
When someone says that being happy is akin to being well, they are essentially focusing on their emotions.
When someone says that being carefree is akin to being well, they are again focusing on their emotions.
If you think about it, this is only obvious.
After all, we humans are highly emotional beings and our emotions tend to influence most of our actions, behavior, decisions, etc.
So, it is vital to achieve emotional wellness given the fluidity of our feelings and their influence on our lives.
But how do you do that?
Well, again, you need to start by understanding your emotional landscape. You need to venture deep within yourself and figure out how you want to feel on a day-to-day basis.
You can start by asking yourself some essential questions.
Do you understand how you react in various situations? Can you recognize all your emotions and at any given moment? Do you tend to share your feeling with loved ones or do you generally remain closed off? How do you feel when you are faced with challenges? These questions will help you make sense of your emotions and how you express them in the external world.
When you finally have an overall understanding, you can begin to make progress toward emotional wellness.
To do that, you can practice mindfulness, talk to people you trust, use positive affirmations, get enough sleep, engage in healthy relationships, communicate openly, do things that make you happy, and so on.
Spiritual wellness is an important but often neglected dimension of wellness.
It refers to a person’s sense of purpose and larger meaning in life.
When people ask what the meaning of life is or what they are meant to do in their lives, they are essentially trying to address this particular dimension of wellness.
There is something inside us that wants to find a deeper meaning in life. It is not content with doing our everyday chores and settling for a mundane life.
It seeks something larger. It wants to connect with a higher power or achieve a greater sense of self. As you can probably tell, this can only happen if you go into deep introspection and understand yourself thoroughly.
Thousands of people go to great lengths and travel the entire world trying to figure themselves out.
Spiritual wellness also includes identifying, defining, and developing your principles, values, and beliefs. These become the foundation on which you can live a life of peace, meaning, purpose, and contentment.
So, if you’re trying to attain spiritual wellness, you need to first be clear about what matters to you in your life. This seems like a simple question but it is anything but. It will take you on an inner journey that will reveal things about you that you had no idea existed.
You can also do some other things to achieve wellness in this dimension.
You can meditate, pray to any higher power you believe in, practice yoga, take part in religious or spiritual practices, take part in community activities, help other people out, and so on.
Environmental wellness is a multi-dimensional concept in itself.
First of all, it involves recognizing that our actions have an impact on mother nature. As such, we should take steps to protect and preserve natural resources.
We should work on designing our life in such a way that minimizes our carbon footprint and ensures sustainable living.
Today, technology is advanced enough that we can make real and concrete changes. And when we finally do that, we can remain satisfied that we are not hurting our very homes.
Secondly, environmental wellness also refers to creating a pleasant and positive atmosphere in your home and workplace.
You need to make sure that you actually want to spend time at these places and that they boost your well-being instead of making you miserable.
You can do many things in this regard. You can ensure that there is enough light and airflow, you can place potted plants throughout the spaces, you can use essential oils, you can declutter your spaces, and if possible, you can also play some soothing music. Apart from this, you should also try to spend as much time as possible amidst mother nature.
There is nothing more healing than being around nature’s elements.
Finally, environmental wellness also refers to the type of people you surround yourself with.
After all, people are a big part of your immediate environment. If you have more positive people around you, you are bound to be more positive as well.
And if you hang out more with negative people ( jealous people, toxic people etc..) , their negativity is bound to rub off on you. So, be mindful of whom you invest your time in.
Social wellness, as you might have guessed, mainly relates to your relationships and interactions with people in society.
As social animals, human connections matter to us immensely.
We care about understanding others, being understood, being in other people’s company, sharing memories, creating memories, talking about random things, having a support system when things go south, and so on.
On top of all this, we also like to maintain and nurture intimate relationships.
This is where your loved ones come in.
The relationships you have with your parents, siblings, spouse, children, and friends have a huge influence on you as an individual. The quality of these bonds influences the other dimensions of wellness.
So, when you are trying to achieve social wellness, there are a handful of essential things you must learn. You must learn how to effectively resolve conflicts, ( like dealing with critical or judgmental people or forgiving people). You need to learn to respect other people and appreciate diversity. You also need to be able to contribute to your community in whatever way you can.
These things will provide you with a sense of belonging.
You will feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
In times of crisis, you will know that you have a support system to fall back on.
This is what social wellness looks like. It’s the knowing that you are a part of society and have a good place in it.