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For the World Health Organization, Wellness is "...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
And when it comes to the National Wellness Institute, we can find Wellness defined as "a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential."
So where do we stand with all these concepts and ideas about what is supposed to be our state of wellbeing? Are we aware of what it truly means to be well, to have an overall feeling of wellness?
Whichever your answers are, it is non-refutable to say that the idea of wellness has taken the world by storm, but that it hasn’t necessarily had the same effect on all of us.
Some people are still reluctant to what the concept may bring them: an almost radical change of lifestyle. Meaning they’ll experience some sort of rewiring in their brains while adapting to the new challenges and ideas of what life can be.
We’re not saying that adapting to a wellness lifestyle is a must for everybody either, but we do believe that taking part of a journey where one becomes more in tune with our body and our mind will bring us to a much calmer, confident, capable overall state of being. True & tested, folks.
First of all, we have to break it down into different areas. The wellness world comes with different layers and/or components to it. Meaning there are different departments where we need to achieve this wellbeing status to feel satisfied and happy in life.
The Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation establishes 8 dimensions of Wellness:
Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships and interactions that help us feel loved and loving.
Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments and surroundings that support well-being and make us feel at ease navigating through life.
Satisfaction with current and future financial situations. Flow in our finances, and feeling secure and stable when it comes to money issues.
Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills to put into good use, and challenge our minds.
Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work and professional occupation. Having a career/job that’s nourishing instead of draining.
Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and good sleep while tending to what the body asks for in order to stay energetic and functional.
Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system that helps us feel part of the bigger picture. Sense of community as well as helping others around us.
Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Finding our true calling. Connecting with one’s inner identity and aligning with personal growth.
These areas of life benefit from working in the strengths and capabilities we can achieve within them, while acknowledging key elements and practices that can guide us towards supporting and enriching them as well.
The list here can go very long. Nowadays we have seen a rise in certain kinds of training, mindful exercises, better eating and sleeping habits and general self-care rituals that have made people more aware of their day to day life and more conscious of the way in which they’re living that life.
Yoga, Tai-Chi, Boxing, Running, Meditation, Pranayama or conscious breathing, Sound Baths, Vegan & Organic eating, Fasting, Juicing, Detoxing and so on are just a few of the many practices that are currently taking place in many lives. Some of them have been gaining practitioners little by little for a long time now like Yoga; some others are fairly new to the table like Sound Baths and Fasting, even though a lot of them have been practiced for over centuries in other cultures.
You see, we are so embedded in a work & social culture that it’s usually hard to find time apart for simply being alone with our thoughts. We then live anxious, sleep deprived and internally dissatisfied.
When we do yoga, we tune in with our breathing, the way our body moves, our physical strength and the way our thoughts respond to challenges. It makes us aware of our feelings as well, and connects us with our higher sense of being. It allows us to see beyond our limitations and tap into a higher source of energy. The result: you’ll leave the class feeling more capable, more confident, more relaxed and ready to take on the world.
These feelings then make you able to take on everyday responsibilities with more determination and more focus.
The same thing happens with Running and Boxing, and most sports to be honest: they bring you to a state of mind where focus is much needed and where resilience and determination play an important role. Your body releases endorphins and that puts you in an instant happy mood. When you run, you can feel how stress and anxiety are left behind little by little, and it’s like washing away all troubles, leaving you in a more positive mindframe than before.
If we talk about Meditation and Sound Baths, we can say they open your mind to endless possibilities and take you out of the physical experience for a little while. They link you to your thoughts and feelings in a way that’s hard to do when we’re focused on work or school or daily errands and struggles. Setting time apart for pampering the mind with silence and/or soothing sounds can leave you feeling like you just had a brain massage. Thus, allowing us to think more clearly and be more effective on a physical level. Tackling problems with a different perspective.
And if we include better sleeping and eating habits, the results are endless. If your body can do all it does being under little to no sleep, imagine what it can do if we give it enough, good rest: Wonders, right? And what about eating healthier, not only for a perfect body, but for its perfect functioning. If we eat foods that help us stay energetic rather than making us feel lethargic and slow, our body will respond to them with a boost in stamina and an increase in our capabilities. It’s really simple math, right?
It can feel like we’re in a race to be the best one out there, and that’s not such a bad thing if the race is with our own selves to become that best version of ourselves we want to be, but when we let this race become about everyone else we fail to find satisfaction even when we win it.
When we are at peace with our nature, when we find happiness inside first, everything around us seems to fall into place. The puzzle starts making sense and we find ourselves able to sail through life in a much easier way than before. The concept of Wellness is then a platform to start developing our potential in all areas of our lives, so we can thrive as individuals and then help others thrive as well.
In general, we can then say that Wellness is being in good physical and mental health. And because mental health and physical health are linked, if we experience problems in one area, they can impact the other. That’s why improving our physical health can also benefit our mental health, and it goes the other way around as well.
Keep in mind that the journey to feeling better and being more satisfied in life is not one to be finished in a day or two, it’s more about a change in mindset and our day to day actions what can bring us closer to developing our full potential as human beings.