What is Wellness?

Wellness Wheel

Wellness Wheel

Wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition. It is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Lifestyle is considered the biggest factor in health and wellness.

Wellness is a continuous process. A commitment. It’s deliberate.

Wellness is a way of life.

There are many different models of wellness. The one I find most helpful encompasses eight different areas- spiritual, financial, physical, environmental, intellectual, social, occupational, and emotional. Each of these dimensions offers an opportunity for personal growth.

Its helpful to think of overall health like a wheel. The spokes are connected and depend on each other. If one spoke is weak or broken, then the wheel is weakened. Neglecting one area can throw off the balance of the wellness wheel. And the opposite is true… if one area is stronger the wheel becomes lopsided and you end up with a clunky ride!

There are three ways to use the wellness “wheel” model.

The first is how does one part make a difference in another? For instance, when I am upset I crave high-fat foods. My emotional state affects my food choices, which leads to guilty feelings leading to more emotional eating, usually in the form of carbs and withdrawing socially. When I carb-overload, my brain gets foggy- and I am not able to think clearly. Another example is when you join a fitness class. Not only are you improving your physical wellness, it is also socially enriching and may help relieve emotional stress.

The second part uses the wheel to reach your goals. What can you do in each area to reach your goal? If your goal is to exercise more, you might find a friend to walk with two days a week or you might keep a resistance band in your desk drawer at work to do a few exercises on your break. You might journal your feelings when you reach or don’t reach your goals for the week.

The third part is the sum of the whole. This is how well each of the dimensions is balanced with each other. Each dimension offers an area for growth, and maintaining balance is crucial to wellness. The more balanced the life, the better your health.

It’s this last part I think we often ignore. When we focus too much on one area or another, or ignore one area or another, our life becomes out of balance- and that can ultimately affect our health. Our personal choices affect our body, whether the results are immediate or down the road.

This is what Changing My Balance is all about. It’s finding balance in living well.

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