“Wellness is proactive rather than reactive, and inclusive and accessible to laypersons rather than the exclusive. “It involves a philosophy of self-respect and self-care that can be accessed by different persons in different ways, then nurtured and extended in other areas of their lives” (Hatfield, 1992). In order for us to become a person who is well, we need to be proactive and work on the areas of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social wellness. Wellness is an ongoing process to where your empowering yourself to live a full and healthy life.
Physical Wellness Most people will think of physical wellness as how they are feeling, whether they are sick, tired, or injured in some sort of way. According to Harper, he defines physical wellness as the ability to perform daily activities in a safe, capable, and efficient manner, as well as the physical capacity to respond effectively in unusual situations (2008). Harper further mentions that there are five components of physical wellness, such as cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility.
If a person does not have physical wellness then they are at an increased risk of a lifestyle disease such as hypokinetic disease, diabetes, and obesity. Qualities of a person that inhibits physical wellness, as discussed by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research are controlling your weight, combating health conditions and diseases, improves your mood, boosts your energy, sleep better, put the spark back into your love life, and physical fitness can be fun (2011).
Furthermore the general goal is to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day in order to attain the above qualities (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2011). One way of getting started into a goal of being physically well is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), hip to waist circumference, and partaking in physical testing. This will give you a starting place of what area needs more work. Some people are not able to do some of the physical activity that is recommended and should consult their doctor to discuss a plan of action that would work well with their limitations.
Physical wellness is an extremely important component of my overall well-being. I have previously concentrated on this area, but am currently lacking in this area right now. Whenever I have been active in a physical fitness plan, I feel better about myself. Currently, I feel that it’s about time to think about this area of my wellness. I do have some health issues that I plan on talking to my doctor in order to work out a plan that would work accordingly.
I feel that walking on a daily basis and practice in some strength training exercises will be a great start. In concentrating on these areas, it will in turn help me get me started on my path to becoming physically well. Emotional Wellness Emotional wellness can describe a person’s outlook or their attitude towards other people, themselves, or even to a situation they are going through. Some of these emotions can be fear, anxiety, depression, stress, anger, and frustration. Your state of mind is essential to your health and well-being.
If your mind is relaxed and you are at peace with yourself and you live harmoniously within your social and physical environment, you are more likely to feel good and be in good health than if you are persistently angry, frightened, tense, depressed, and at odds with your surroundings (Edlin, 2014). In taking this in mind, I feel that it is important to keep your mind relaxed so that everything else that is going on with you stays aligned and you are considered to be overall well.
All too often, you can see people with negative attitudes that are not doing well not only emotionally but physically and tend not to focus on all the other areas of our wellness. Human behavior and emotions are tied in closely with our basic needs. When we succeed in obtaining our basic needs, we can experience emotions such as joy, pleasure, satisfaction, and contentment (Edlin, 2014). However, on the negative side, if we do not obtain these basic needs, then we experience unpleasant emotions such as frustration, anger, sadness, grief, and shame (Edlin, 2014).
In order to be emotionally well, we do not need to be like others. Being true to ourselves leads to a greater satisfaction in life (Edlin, 2014). Even though we work on being emotionally well, is doesn’t mean that we can never or should never be angry, anxious, depressed, confused, or overwhelmed as these are typical human emotions. When we are feeling some of these emotions, and emotionally well person will seek out support, advice, or other kinds of help. Inner strength is being able to recognize our limits and to seek and accept help so we can restore harmony when our mental and emotional resources are taxed (Edlin, 2014).
I am an extremely emotional person. I do not feel that this is a negative aspect of myself because I am able to let out my emotions rather than let them bottle up. Sometimes when I am angry or upset, I like to talk to the people who are closest to me like my husband and close friends. Spiritual Wellness Spiritual wellness is extremely important to ones over all well-being because it helps them not only spiritually but physically as well. Adams (2000) reported how “Medicine has begun to recognize the influence of spirituality on illness” (p. 84).
Due to this discovery in medicine, spiritual wellness has been added as an important dimension of wellness. Adams (2000) further mentions that qualities of having spiritual wellness possess a sense of meaning and purpose in life, connectedness to self, the environment, or a higher power and a belief in a unifying life force (2000). As a Christian, I feel that I have meaning in whatever I do because if I follow the steps that have been laid out for me in the Bible, I will have everlasting life in Heaven which in turn gives me meaning and purpose in life.
All people will struggle at one point in time with their spiritual wellness. Issues that can affect our spirituality are people who are not spiritually minded, having a tragic loss in one’s life, or our own sickness. The best suggestion to improve your spiritual wellness is to pray. Praying will help you with your problems and give you peace within yourself. James 5:16 (King James Version) states, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. Other ways to improve our spiritual wellness would be meditation and specific spiritual practices that support your own connection to your belief; such as going to church and studying God’s word. Some people will say a negative aspect of spirituality is that they have to constantly go to church and that takes time out of their day. People will also say this same thing about exercising but it is something that we need to do in order to have an overall wellness.
Harper (2008) states that spiritual wellness is the core of all other wellness actions. It is foundational, supporting the personal values that will determine attitude, behaviors, and actions in the quest of total well-being. Intellectual Wellness Just as it is important to work out our body, it is just as important to work out our mind. Higher stage thinking and reasoning open more possibilities of response for a person’s everyday life in a complex and challenging world.
When resources are provided for people it improves our skills and increases the opportunity to share with others which will in turn encourage the development of lifelong learning (Nysewander, 2009). Nysewander (2009) explains ways that can encourage learning, such as participating book clubs, going to “how to” workshops, being active in online discussion boards and chat rooms. When people attend or participate in these kind of activities, it helps them to gather, recall, and communicate information in an effort to solve problems effectively and maintain a positive outlook on life (Nysewander, 2009).
Ways that families can help to continue on this continuation of learning in our lives is by going to museums and watching educational programs. As I have progressed in my career goals, I have noticed that I am a more well-rounded person and able to communicate with other people more intelligently and able to solve problems more efficiently. Ways that hinder our journey to intellectual wellness are being closed to new ideas, not seeking personal growth by learning new skills, and not looking for ways to be creative.
We can improve this by subscribing to the newspaper to find out what’s going on in the world, go to a bookstore and read a book that interests you, learn a new language, and watch channels like National Geographic, History Channel or Discovery (Richards & Sharp-Aten, 2009). In becoming a teacher, I have realized that I will need to continually search out new information to be able to keep up with an ever changing world. I plan on doing this by attending workshops, taking additional classes, and reading books. Social Wellness
The way we communicate and interact with people that surround us is how social wellness is defined (Harper, 2008). Each of the areas of wellness are equally important but learning how to interact and communicate with the people who surround us can be a major source of enjoyment, frustration, and stress. Evidence links social isolation or lack of social support to increased risks for morbidity (Ryff & Singer, 2001). This is why we should seek out to have a strong support network of friends and family that can surround us with love and give us support when needed.
Positive social ties have been shown that it can have an impact on health and longevity, for example associations between more healthful lifestyles, and more successful risk reduction efforts such as reducing dietary fat, exercising, and smoking cessation (Ryff et al, 2001). It has been shown in cancer patients that have a strong social support network have increased their survival time and lowered their rates of reoccurrence (Ryff et all, 2001). A person who is socially well will demonstrate qualities of caring for others by listening rather than thinking only about themselves.
The biggest way in which we can have serious problems to our well-being is loneliness. Harper describes loneliness as someone who is sad, empty, and depressed and tends to cut themselves off from others (2008). Furthermore, this loneliness is because people will tend to cling onto worldly objects rather than people and not being able to effectively communicate with others (Harper, 2008). Ways in which we can improve our social well-being is by having a strong self-esteem or self-respect for yourself.
When you respect yourself, you tend to be a positive person and it helps in communicating with others. In order to effectively communicate with others, you need to first listen to them, accept them for who and what they are and don’t judge them, compliment other people as this will help them to feel good, and to uplift them during special times of need (Harper, 2008). Personally, I have found that doing all of these things has made me a better person and having a strong social network of friends that are there to help aide me when I need it.
It’s a give and take kind of a relationship. You need to give in order to receive what you need. When we close ourselves off from people it will in turn do the same to you. My belief is that we need to build up our relationship first with God by communicating to him through both prayer and studying his word, and then we need to keep open and honest communication with our close family members. Many people, including myself try to achieve a life of wellness, many will fail and many will gain. It is my personal goal to strive for a life of wellness.
In order to attain a healthy well-being, we need to balance the areas of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social wellness. This can be hard to attain but if we make it a constant effort to work on these areas and set goals, then we can become a well person. I’ll end with this quote that sums is all up, “You only get one body; it is the temple of your soul. Even God is willing to dwell there. If you truly treat your body like a temple, it will serve you well for decades. If you abuse it you must be prepared for poor health and a lack of energy” (Hille, 2009).
- Adams, T. B. , & Bezner, J. R. (2000). Conceptualization and measurement of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of wellness in a college population. Journal of American College Health, 48(4), 165.
- Edlin, G. , & Golanty, E. (2014). Health and Wellness (11th Edition). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
- Harper, R. T. (2008). Health and Wellness: Honoring God in Body, Mind, and Spirit. Marion, IN: Triangle Publishing.
- Hatfield, T. , & Hatfield, S. (1992). As if your live depended on it: promoting cognitive development to promote wellness. Journal of Counseling & Development, 71(2), 164-167.
- Hille, O. , (2009). Creating the Perfect Lifestyle. Las Vegas, NV: Empire Publishers.
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2011). Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Fitness. Rochester, MN: Author.
- Nysewander, D. (2009). The business of wellness. American Fitness, 27(6), 22-28.
- Richards, S. , & Sharp-Aten, S. (2009). Live Fit, Live Well Intellectual Wellness. Riverside, CA: University of California, Riverside.
- Ryff, C. D. , & Singer, B. H. (2001). Emotion, Social Relationships, and Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.