Wellness Beyond Nutrition
“I am starting to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. I am drinking more water and have cut fried chicken, […] out of diet.” Recently I had a friend share these words with me and honestly I can’t tell you which ones touched my heart the most, hearing someone communicate my brand or hearing that they were beginning a path to wellness. Definitely the latter lol!! However, after this conversation, I began to think about how much of our understanding of health and wellness focuses on the physical body. Eating a more nutritious diet is only half a step in the journey of cultivating a healthier lifestyle. I keep a picture of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness set as the screensaver on my phone to remind me that the goal is to live the best quality of life possible and to accomplish this, I must cultivate not only my physical body, but other aspects of who I am as well. I wish I would have, without bursting my friends bubble, kindly continued the conversation by introducing some of the other aspects of wellness that may contribute to his journey. But like the saying goes, its better late than never. So here goes..
The Eight Dimensions of wellness are physical, environmental, intellectual, social, occupational, financial, emotional, and spiritual. When cultivated, these different aspects of who we are can help us to flourish completely. Mind, body, and spirit can be such broad terms, so these give us a better idea of what living a lifestyle of total health and wellness looks like and helps to make it more practical to do so.
- Physical wellness has to with recognizing your need for physical activity, proper nutrition, adequate amounts of rest, and minimizing harmful behavior.
- Environmental wellness deals with our surroundings and helping to make the world around us, including our home, a better place; which can all be done by recycling, cleaning, and serving in our community.
- Intellectual wellness deals with our minds and participating in mentally stimulating activities such as creative projects, reading, writing, knowledge of current events, critical thinking and continuous learning whether in or outside of the classroom.
- Social wellness is about developing meaningful relationships with other people such as family and community, establishing supportive social communities, and creating safe and inclusive spaces.
- Occupational wellness has to do with our job, whether in or outside ofthe home, and participating in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment that is consistent with our values, goals, and lifestyle.
- Financial wellness is about our relationship with money and understanding the uniqueness of everyone’s financial values, goals, and circumstances. It is about managing our financial resources within our means.
- Emotional wellness has to do with understanding our feelings and handling them appropriately, adjusting to change, coping with stress, and maintaining relationships.
- Spiritual wellness has to do with developing an intimate relationship with God, finding meaning and purpose in one’s life as well as participating in activities that are consistent with one’s faith.
Now that we know there is more to wellness than what meets the eye, we can examine other aspects of our health and truly begin to cultivate our overall well-being. Let’s take fitness beyond flat abs and toned legs. Let’s aim to be fit and healthy in every area of our lives. Let’s not just nourish our bodies, but also our minds, spirit, emotions. Let’s choose not to be only good stewards over our bodies, but also over our finances, our communities, and relationships. This is what it looks like to cultivate a lifestyle of total health and wellness. So let’s cultivate! Let’s live well! It’s a great life.