Wellness is more than just not getting sick; it is a holistic approach to life that includes a balance of healthy choices across all dimensions. It involves a conscious development of your whole self – spiritually, socially, physically and environmentally.
For example, it means giving someone a compliment or seeing a coworker’s positive behavior as motivation rather than competition. It also means being environmentally conscious and taking action to improve your environment.
Spirituality involves a belief that there’s more to life than meets the eye. It can encompass beliefs in a higher form of intelligence or Consciousness running the universe, as well as a belief in life after death.
Seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself can lead to positive emotions, such as peace, awe, and contentment. Similarly, emotional health and spirituality are intertwined.
Some people who identify as spiritual may engage in practices that can boost psychological and physical wellbeing, such as mindfulness meditation, prayer, or volunteering. However, it’s important to avoid using these practices as a way to escape from negative emotions or sidestep problems.
To help you navigate this journey, the Earl E Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing offers workshops, classes, and guided meditation experiences that promote mindful awareness. Learn more about these resources on our website. You can also find out more about mindfulness and wellbeing in our Wellbeing Guides.
Social wellness includes healthy relationships and a well-developed support system. It also includes being cognizant of the impact you have on your community and the planet.
Social health is so important that it was included in the popular video game, The Sims, in which your needs bar decreased if you hadn’t talked to friends or family members for awhile. Relationships give us emotional stability and self-care, help with mental health and provide a sense of belonging.
Social wellness can include things like regularly meeting up with a friend for coffee or exercise, creating a group chat on Facebook or Twitter to communicate with a large group of people, or even simply sending a text message to say hello and let your loved ones know you’re thinking about them. While some of these may be difficult to fit into your busy schedule, making time for them can benefit you in the long run. For example, regular conversations strengthen the immune system and build resiliency.
Environmental wellness involves living more in harmony with the environment and your community. It begins with your personal space and then expands to larger communities, geographic areas and the planet. The core principle of environmental wellness is respect – respect for all nature and all species who live in it. This approach does not require you to join a movement or organization, but it does encourage you to practice habits that promote a healthy environment.
Practicing environmental wellness can be as simple as planting a garden in your home or office or taking a walk outside instead of driving to work. It also involves reducing your waste, recycling, and using less energy at home or at work.
Studies have shown that a high level of environmental awareness is related to specific pro-environmental behaviors such as promoting sustainability, reducing waste and promoting recycling, eating a sustainable diet, supporting environmental education, and participating in activism against environmental harm. Moreover, an increasing number of employers are making environmental wellness an integral part of their company culture and encouraging employees to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their everyday lives.
Wellness isn’t just about fitness, but a full-spectrum approach to life. It includes a focus on spiritual wellness, emotional wellness and environmental wellness. As clients move up levels of consciousness, they expand their perspectives of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle to include all aspects of it.
Various studies have examined the concept of health consciousness with different approaches. However, five components have consistently appeared in those studies: health information seeking and usage, personal health responsibility, healthy eating habits, personal physical activities and health motivation.
Although the term “health consciousness” is often used to describe people’s overall orientation toward their health, many studies have included only one or two of these dimensions when assessing it. Incorporating more health-related items into the definition of health consciousness may improve its predictive validity. For example, a high level of health consciousness may predict a client’s concerns for nutrition and health information seeking. But it is unlikely to predict whether the person avoids smoking or seeks medical attention for a particular condition.