Wellness, by its very nature, is an extensive-term. It’s not uncommon for many people to think of wellness only in the context of how we look or feel. That’s unfortunate since it is much more about a holistic (whole body and mind) approach to being your best. In an earlier post, the “four steps to wellness,” I mentioned exercise, nutrition, rest, and the emotional component. To be clear, those four are not the only areas related to a wellness continuum. Experts will often write and speak about spiritual, financial, environment, intellectual, etc.
My focus, mainly because of my profession as an educator and trainer, is solely on exercise, nutrition, rest, and emotional wellness. Training, food, and rest will usually be under the umbrella of “physical” wellness. I see them as unique parts of that umbrella, not just one single component. You’ll understand why, after reading my short personal exercise story.
Because of how exercise influenced some of my younger years, I’m going to cover “the positivity of wellness,” which often falls under the emotional classification.
People can have high levels of physical (exercise) wellness but not be well! I know this because I’ve lived it and watched many others do the same. When I was younger, in my 20’s, I became hooked on bodybuilding. I wouldn’t say it completely overwhelmed my life, but by easily spending 5-6 hours a day in the gym training, it seems clear now that it wasn’t healthy for my emotional and even physical state. While I saw gains in my physique, they came at the expense of other parts of my life. More specifically, how much time I spent with others, being stressed when gains didn’t come as quickly as I would have liked, and usually comparing myself to others, which is rarely a good thing. Even with the benefits I saw, I wasn’t satisfied, so I’d always be changing diets, training plans, and rest schedules. Anything to get better! While a few worked, I learned some valuable lessons on how to see wellness in a different light.
In my opinion, being positive about our emotional wellness is the most critical step in developing a holistic approach to how we look, feel, act, and live our lives. Yes, that seems like a stretch! But after covering some key points, hopefully, you’ll see how meaningful it is to create that positivity in your life. Here is also a quick read on “How to Improve Your Mindset For Wellness”
👍 We all have moments that make us proud. The issue is our willingness and comfort level in admitting it. Whether speaking with teens or adults, I’ve often heard, “Shap, there aren’t many things that I’m proud of!” Of course, after a brief chat, just about all of them realize that’s not true. Honestly, I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have at least one part of their life that hasn’t given them some sense of positive well being. Unfortunately, it’s normal to look at moments that don’t go well and dwell on them. Maybe it’s because those events are unusual compared to the sense of normalcy that we generally have. What’s important, though, is realizing that it’s a much better solution to focus on those happy times that inspire us, give us joy, connect us with others than to let negativity fester. My experience has taught me that the easiest way to make this happen is simply by taking a few seconds to think about each situation and where we want to place our energy. The best example is flipping out when somebody cuts you off in traffic! A few weeks ago, I had that happen and was about to say something but then realized, what’s the point of getting upset? They are driving away, and I’d be throwing a temper tantrum! Instead, I took a breath and remembered it’s a “little thing” that I can’t turn into a big thing.
👍 The second part of wellness relates to how you feel about yourself. I do an activity where students have to rank their self-esteem and self-worth on a scale of 1-10. It’s anonymous, but the results are always alarming. Most students are in the 3-6 range. You might think that it would be different for adults. It’s not in my experience. When I spent significant amounts of time training others, those same results would often come to the forefront. Just as in finding that proud moment, a great way to start feeling good about who we are is to find time to build strong relationships, hobbies, exercise, or anything that makes us feel better. The beautiful thing about doing this exercise is you can then carry it over into other things that you may not have thought of before. Let’s face it; we have times where we feel doubt. That’s human nature. But we also have many experiences that we should cherish and realize how special we are. Another personal example; I never really started to write until about five years ago. Now I can’t imagine not doing it! I’m still not where I want to be, but at least I’m writing!
👍Be a doer, not a dreamer! So often people mention how they want to improve their mind or body. A few days or weeks later, we will follow-up and reflect on what’s happened. I’ll often hear, “Craig, I was going to get started, but something came up!” That usually brings a chuckle, followed by a frown. Very simply, emotional wellness or any wellness for that matter has to start with you doing something to make you feel better about you! It’s finding a new hobby, making new friends, getting rid of so-called friends, or any other positive inducing ideas. For example, the simple act of going for a walk can be an incredible physical and emotional wellness booster.
Even though developing wellness habits will vary significantly from person to person, there isn’t a magic formula. Every tip, idea, book, or video will give guidance that can be helpful. This writing is no different. But for a positive wellness habit to grow, YOU need to start building it. I encourage each person to begin with a simple goal and allow it to flourish. Remember to ask for help, be patient, be persistent, look for the positives, and be kind to yourself. Doing that will make a massive difference in your wellness gains. I hope you enjoy this and other posts. The next writing will deal with exercise! Have a beautiful day!