What is Wellness?
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.
"...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - The World Health Organization.
"a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential." - The National Wellness Institute
Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. There are many elements of physical wellness that all must be cared for together. Overall physical wellness encourages the balance of physical activity, nutrition and mental well-being to keep your body in top condition. Obtaining an optimal level of physical wellness allows you to nurture personal responsibility for your own health. As you become conscious of your physical health, you are able to identify elements you are successful in as well as elements you would like to improve.
Physical wellness involves aspects of life that are necessary to keep yourself in top condition. Optimal physical wellness is developed through the combination of beneficial physical activity/exercise and healthy eating habits. Elemental components of physical wellness include building muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular strength and endurance and flexibility.
Physical wellness is also concerned with developing personal responsibility for your own health care, such as caring for minor illnesses and knowing when professional medical attention is needed. Developing physical wellness empowers you to be able to monitor your own vital signs and understand your body's warning signs. You'll understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how your body performs. The physical benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction.
Why is Physical Wellness Important?
Physical Wellness encourages us to care for our bodies through physical activity, proper nutrition, and a strong mind.
Being physically active is crucial to keeping your body in its top condition. A few proven benefits of physical activity are strengthened bones and muscles, reduced risk of disease and stroke, and more energy. Learn more about physical activity.
It is important to nurture your body by eating a well-balanced diet. Filling yourself with a variety of nutrients and vitamins will not only help prevent illness, but will also keep your body functioning at its best.
Having optimal levels of physical activity and maintaining proper nutrition is key to improving your overall emotional wellness. Not only will you sharpen your thinking and learning abilities, you will also enhance your sense of self-esteem and self-control.
The Route to Physical Wellness
Understanding the relationship between your body’s physical health and mental health is crucial in order to develop a balanced physical wellness. When you take the route to physical wellness you will learn to understand how your body preforms physically and be able to connect it to how you feel mentally. Physical wellness encourages principles of good health and knowledge, which affect behavior patterns that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few suggestions for you to practice to maintain an optimal level of physical wellness.
- Engage in physical activity everyday for 30 minutes. You may break up your daily 30 minutes into 10 minutes bouts.
- Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and walk whenever possible.
- Learn to recognize warning signs when your body begins feeling ill.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods and control your meal portions.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Practice safe sex.
Are you engaged in the process of physical wellness?
Do I know important health numbers, like my cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels?
Do I get annual physical exams?
Do I avoid using tobacco products?
Do I get sufficient amount of sleep?
Do I have an established exercise routine?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your physical wellness.
Social Wellness refers to one's ability to interact with people around them. It involves using good communications skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, and creating a support system that includes family members and friends.
Social wellness follows these tenets:
It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves.
It is better to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict with them.
The Path to Social Wellness
If you are a person engaged in the process of social wellness, you see the value in living in harmony with your fellow human beings, seeking positive, interdependent relationships with others, and developing healthy behaviours. You are also willing to actively seek out ways to preserve the beauty and balance of nature and the community.
Are you engaged in the process of social wellness?
Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?
Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?
Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?
Do I explore diversity by interacting with people of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your social wellness.
Being emotionally well is more than just handling stress. It also involves being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, whether positive or negative. Emotional Wellness implies the ability to be aware of and accept our feelings, rather than deny them, have an optimistic approach to life, and enjoy life despite its occasional disappointments and frustrations.
If you are a person engaged in the process of emotional wellness, you are willing and able to:
- Arrive at personal choices and decisions based upon the synthesis of feelings, thoughts, philosophies, and behaviour.
- Live and work independently while realizing the importance of seeking and appreciating the support and assistance of others.
- Form interdependent relationships with others based upon a foundation of mutual commitment, trust and respect.
- Take on challenges, take risks, and recognize conflict as being potentially healthy.
- Manage your life in personally rewarding ways, and taking responsibility for your actions.
The Path to Emotional Wellness
The path to emotional wellness may involve:
Awareness of thoughts and feelings
Using a positive attitude
Seeking support and expressing emotions in a suitable manner
Accepting mistakes and learning from them
The path may also involve seeking out support from a mental health professional when needed and gathering information in order to make informed value decisions.
Are you engaged in the process of emotional wellness?
Evaluate your own emotional wellness with this brief quiz.
Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
Do I have ways to reduce stress in my life?
Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
Am I able to set priorities?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your emotional wellness.
Intellectual wellness is engaging the individual in creative and stimulating mental activities to expand their knowledge and skills and help them discover the potential for sharing their gifts with others.
An intellectually well person:
Cherishes mental growth and stimulation
Is involved in intellectual and cultural activities
Is engaged in the exploration of new ideas and understandings
Reaching Intellectual Wellness
Traveling a wellness path allows you to explore issues related to problem solving, creativity, and learning as well as spending more time pursuing personal interests, including reading books, magazines, and newspapers, while keeping abreast of current issues and ideas. As you develop your intellectual curiosity, you'll actively strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavours.
Intellectually well people are also curious and interested in the communities as well as the world around them.
Are you engaged in the process of intellectual wellness?
Am I open to new ideas?
Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?
Do I search for lifelong learning opportunities and stimulating mental activities?
Do I look for ways to use creativity?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your intellectual wellness.
Spiritual Wellness is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives. While different individuals may have different views of what spiritualism is, it is generally considered to be the search for meaning and purpose in human existence, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world.
- It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant.
- It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.
Reaching Spiritual Wellness
It is important for everyone to explore what they believe is their own sense of meaning and purpose.
The path to spiritual wellness may involve meditation, prayer, affirmations, or specific spiritual practices that support your connection to a higher power or belief system. Yoga and meditation can also help you develop spiritual wellness.
Having compassion, the capacity for love and forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfilment help you enjoy your spiritual health. Your religious faith, values, beliefs, principles, and morals define your spirituality.
If you are a person engaged in the process of spiritual wellness, you are willing and able to transcend yourself in order to question the meaning and purpose in your life and the lives of others. In addition, you seek to find harmony between that which lies within and the social and physical forces that come from outside.
Are you engaged in the process of spiritual wellness?
Evaluate your own spiritual wellness with this brief quiz.
Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
Do I make time for meditation and/or prayer?
Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
Am I accepting of the views of others?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your spiritual wellness.
Occupational Wellness is the ability to achieve a balance between work and leisure time, addressing workplace stress and building relationships with co-workers. It focuses on our search for a calling and involves exploring various career options and finding where you fit.
Because what we do for a living encompasses so much of our time, it's important for our overall well-being to do what we love and love what we do. When people are doing what they were meant to do, they deepen their sense of meaning and purpose.
The Path to Occupational Wellness
The occupational dimension of wellness recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in one's life through work. At the centre of occupational wellness is the premise that occupational development is related to one's attitude about one's work. Traveling a path toward your occupational wellness, you'll contribute your unique gifts, skills and talents to work that are both personally meaningful and rewarding. You'll convey your values through your involvement in activities that are gratifying for you. The choice of profession, job satisfaction, career ambitions, and personal performance are all important components of your path's terrain.
Are you engaged in the process of Occupational Wellness?
Do I enjoy going to work most days?
Do I have a manageable workload at work?
Do I feel that I can talk to my boss and co-workers with problems arise?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your occupational wellness.
We may not think much about Environmental Wellness as part of an overall wellness plan, but our environment and how we feel about it can have a huge impact on the way we feel overall.
Environmental well-being includes trying to live in harmony with the Earth by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around you. Protecting yourself from environmental hazards and minimizing the negative impact of your behavior on the environment are also central elements.
Leading a lifestyle that is respectful to our environment and minimizes any harm done to it is a critical part of environmental wellness. Examples of environmental threats include air pollution, ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight, chemicals, noise, water pollution, and second-hand smoke.
Achieving Environmental Wellness
Environmental wellness involves a number of different aspects of personal and societal responsibilities, including:
- Being aware of the earth's natural resources and their respective limits
- Living a life accountable to environmental needs, both in the present and in the long-term
- Realizing the effects of their daily habits on the world around them
Are you engaged in the process of environmental wellness?
Do I recycle?
If I see a safety hazard, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
Do I volunteer time to worthy causes?
Am I aware of my surroundings at all times?
If you answered "No" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your environmental wellness.
Financial Wellness involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Money plays a critical role in our lives and not having enough of it impacts health as well as academic performance. Financial stress is repeatedly found to be a common source of stress, anxiety and fear for college students. Keeping track of expenses, making a budget, and sticking to it are important skills to have in order to be finically responsible and independent. Learning how to maximize your financial wellness now will help you feel prepared to handle potentially stressful financial situations in the future.
Achieving Financial Wellness
Rest assured that you are not the only one in the process of learning how to manage finances more efficiently. There is an array of resources on and off campus as well as workshops and programs that can guide you toward money-managing success. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so it is up to you to select the proper mix of resources that work best according to your needs. The most important point to remember is that maximizing financial wellness is a process that does not occur immediately. Be proactive by seeking related resources and learning about money-managing strategies to build your financial wellness. Financial
Don’t put it off - identify and address any financial problems before they start.
Keep organized records of your finances.
Take advantage of student discounts.
Plan ahead and set budget goals.
Balance your other dimensions of Wellness, they all tie in to financial wellness as well.