I’m sure many of you are asking “what exactly is wellness?” People have explained the concept of wellness in many different ways, but the underlining idea is always the same. SAMHSA defines wellness as “the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, a healthy body and living environment, joyful relationships, and happiness.” Basically, one’s wellness is their overall well-being – the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health – and it incorporates 8 specific elements within each of our lives
- Emotional: Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
- Environmental: Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
- Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
- Intellectual: Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
- Occupational: Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
- Physical: Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep
- Social: Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
- Spiritual: Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life
Developing each of these elements is essential for one’s overall health because each aspect affects our whole-body wellness. Of course this is somewhat obvious, but what you may not know is that wellness directly relates to the quality and longevity of one’s life. Research has shown that individuals with mental health and substance use conditions have a tendency to die earlier than the general population, typically due to preventable medical conditions. Usually individuals within our society will do everything they can to live longer, yet it seems that whole-body wellness is not a topic of concern when preventing/avoiding premature death.
MindBodyGreen, my favorite site these days, published an article by Laura McDonald discussing 20 Ways To Add More Wellness Into Your Workday, but I believe that many of these can be applied to your everyday life as well. Each of these 20 ways is not an impossible habit to build, as they are just every day healthy habits and modifications of habits we may already have. Incorporating these 20 simple habits can help one not feel as stressed and overwhelmed from work and life, as well as prevent built up of this stress and possible long term problems.
I did find that I have a hard time with a few of them and could use some improvements in these areas – however, I also believe that everyone can always improve themselves. The ones that I found myself having the hardest time with were #1 – checking your email 24/7 (I very much like being up-to-date on everything going on in my life), #4 – eating breakfast, and #17 – drinking more water. I struggle with these especially since from the moment I wake up in the morning, I am constantly going – I don’t give myself enough time to sit down and eat breakfast in the morning before my day starts, instead I am running around thinking about the day I have ahead of me. This is the opposite of what we should do in the mornings – they’re a time for relaxation before a busy workday.
The master’s program that I am currently in at UCF stresses wellness more than anything, and I even had to complete a wellness plan for a class last week. In this wellness plan, I needed to create current, near-future, and future goals within each of the areas that pertained to helping me maintain my wellness while in the program (This plan focused on 5 specific areas as well as overall goals). My challenge for you, is to fill out and complete the wellness plan as well! Of course you will not be graded on such, but I found that writing out my goals according to the rubric made it easier for me to understand what each category of wellness entailed and made it feel that I created realistic and attainable goals.
If you feel like your wellness is not where it should be, start by making the pledge for wellness with SAMSHA, creating your personal wellness, as well as incorporating the 20 ways mentioned in the article into your life. SAMHSA’s website also includes tips to better each of the 8 elements of wellness, as well as specific resources for all mental health and substance use conditions. Remember, that it is not a race, but instead with the addition of whole-body wellness overtime, one can have a happy, long life.
If you are struggling with addictions or mental health issues, or you just feel like your overall wellness is not where it should be, it can help to have a partner your journey. Give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our Orlando Individual Counselors. Or if your child or adolescent is struggling with these issues, our Orlando Child Counselors, Orlando Adolescent Therapists, and Orlando Teen Counselors would gladly help them develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With belief that we can all achieve whole-body wellness one-day with just a little effort ~ Sabina