by Suzanne Duval d'Adrian
The very first time I heard the term ‘wellness,’ I immediately thought of good health, eating properly, taking vitamins and occasionally hitting the gym to get some exercise. Like most people, it took me a while to realize that there is more to wellness than just a focus on our physical being. It’s a common misconception that’s been around for a long time. It’s also one that we need to change.
We need to first acknowledge that there are multiple parts to wellness, then recognize their individual and equal importance and realize that they all work harmoniously together as part of a continuum. In 1948, the World Health Organization was already clarifying that “health is a state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Facets of Wellness
- PHYSICAL: Exercise, diet, maintenance, stress reduction, relaxation
- INTELLECTUAL: Expanding knowledge, reading, writing, exploring, listening, observing, questioning
- CAREER: Finding satisfaction and worth in work, professional development
- EMOTIONAL: Positivity, feelings toward yourself and others
- SOCIAL: Interaction with others, relationships, fun
- SPIRITUAL: Seeking meaning and purpose, self-reflection, religion, community service
Tips for Building Each Facet
Being proactive about our physical self is just one part of the picture. The social interaction we share with others and our environment is also critically important. When we spend time with family and friends and connect to our world and environment, it helps us to feel like we are part of a bigger group and we experience the support of others. Giving back to our community through service and seeking a general sense of purpose in life are important parts of the spiritual component of wellness. We feel good about what we’re doing, our role in society and most important, who we are emotionally.
Finding satisfaction and value in a professional capacity helps us to be enthusiastic about what we do every day. Does my job make me happy and do I enjoy and believe in what I do? Am I all that I can be at the moment or can I improve myself? Bettering ourselves most often comes through continuous intellectual stimulation. Reading a book, learning something new, solving a problem or flexing our creativity contribute to feeding our curiosity and building the intellectual dimension of our wellness.
While we’re busy recognizing all of the pieces of the wellness puzzle, we also need to focus on creating equilibrium. Balance is something that everyone struggles with and strives for. We’ve all experienced events that pop up during an otherwise normal day, week or year that make it difficult to keep everything in proportion. Life can start to feel overwhelming — that's a warning signal that we’re out of balance and might need to take a step back to reassess.
Remember the term ‘well-rounded?’ It’s how we all wanted to appear in school or on our employment applications. That was our goal, the ideal and most importantly, what “they” wanted to see. We were already talking about wellness before we were knew we were talking about wellness. We just didn’t realize it.
Its time we remind ourselves to check our balance and set some goals so that we can enjoy and celebrate total wellness — not just good health.