Health, fitness and nutrition – there’s information around every corner. It’s absolutely fantastic that we all have the opportunity to become more educated about what’s good for us, and what’s not.
But for me, the idea of wellbeing goes a little further. I like to think of wellbeing as wholeness. Why? Because there are four pillars of wellness that we need to look at from a holistic point of view: Our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energies. These energies are all connected and have a direct influence on our overall wellbeing. This is the mind and body connection.
In striving to maintain a balanced wellbeing, we must focus our attention on all four of these fundamental components, because one directly impacts or improves the other. The energy in our body directly influences how we feel, think and act.
Spiritual health is the path to inner peace…
Spiritual wellness – is made up of personal beliefs, moral values and behaviours that transcend a sense of oneness with the universe. Spiritual wellness entails having a firm belief in a higher power – something larger than our human existence. It also espouses having a strong purpose in life and gives compassion to others who are seeking harmony, all while balancing our energies with the rest of the world. People attend to their spiritual wellness in different ways: meditating, praying or practicing mindfulness. Whatever you choose, make sure that you make time regularly to pause and just ‘be’. Celebrate you and your energy – your genuine self.
A peaceful mind is your greatest asset…
Mental wellness – is the ability to process information and perceive reality in an accurate manner. Mental wellness is all about the strength and fitness of our coping resources as well as our ability to manage and control habitual thought patterns. Most of us are mentally active most of the time. In caring for our mental wellness, it’s appropriate that we learn to slow the mind down enough to be purposeful in our approach, to integrate the mind and body, allowing ourselves the opportunity to create mindfulness as we live our lives. Positive psychology is about measuring your happiness of your wellbeing. Mental wellness is about acknowledging your problems, but breaking down negative thoughts so they’re manageable and realistic. It’s about being creative, experimental and open minded, having a sense of curiosity and giving thoughts a different meaning to create the type of life you want to live.
Happiness is an inside job…
Emotional wellness – is being aware of your feelings, emotions, attitudes and behaviours, particularly our habitual emotional patterns that quite often are an experience from our past or childhood. When we are aware of our emotions and have the emotional strength to express them in an appropriate way, we can manage them and learn from them. Emotions should not be suppressed or ignored; they expose themselves for a reason. When they arise, we need to embrace them and dance with them!
There is a strong link between the way we feel and the way we act, or react. Often behaviour is unconscious and therefore we are not aware of it until we examine ourselves very closely. Or… until we get independent feedback from someone who can help us, to shed light on our blind spots.
Its not about having time, its about making time…
Physical wellness – is the body as our temple? Yes it is. And we should treat it with the utmost respect. From the food we put into our mouths, to the amount of sleep we get every night, to the amount of time we engage in physical activity to help move stagnant energy around. Physical wellness is about feeling and looking good – connecting with, and attuning to our subtle internal energies, which tell us at every moment of every day what the body wants and what it doesn’t. For example – deciding whether or not to eat high fat and low carb, Paleo, Vegan, or Mediterranean … the list goes on. We are all authentic, individual and original and we need to decide for ourselves. The simple way to do this is to tune into ourselves – our bodies will soon tell us what’s right for us and what’s not.
Getting the ‘right advice’
Over the past four decades we have been bombarded with an artillery of different messages around our health – doctors say one thing, science says something different. More and more people are questioning this kind of ‘advice’ because it’s both conflicting and confusing. And while information results in education, how your body responds to what you’re doing should be the real decider.
I believe that our individual health is as unique as our own DNA, so when it comes to our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health, inevitably we will all need to do something different to achieve optimal health and performance.
Ignore the noise and follow your own choice…
We need to set our own goals and make our own choices. And, because our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing are all connected, by doing work with one, we soon see noticeable results in the others too. Physical work, like exercise or yoga, improves mood. Counselling exercises to help understand emotional responses and trigger wellness in spiritual and mental health. Since these facets make up a large part of who we are, improvements in these areas will be translated into improvements in our work life, our home life, our relationships and our overall contentment and success in life.
The aim of this article is to inform and kick start your thinking and to open up some dialogue with friends and professionals and – perhaps most importantly – yourself, so that you can continue to explore ideas and possibilities for your own journey and start putting them into practice.