(Health Secrets) Exploring dimensions of wellness and making changes to your established lifestyle may seem like an overwhelming task. Our lifestyles have been created by thousands of life experiences and decisions, most of which served us well at the time. These experiences and decisions have become the core of our coping skills. Some choices have long-term positive effects and some are maladaptive. If we are able to increase positive coping and reduce maladaptive coping, we will be on the road to a more healthy lifestyle.
An example of a positive coping skill would be playing tennis to work off stress chemicals. An example of maladaptive coping would be smoking cigarettes or excessive alcohol use.
Hopefully the decisions you made along your life path were the best you could make at the moment. Often the actions we take are the result of consensus values of our culture, society, or because of feelings of family obligation. Sometimes we make commitments to our work place or public institutions, and these commitments require us to put the success and effectiveness of the institution ahead of our own wellbeing.
There are eight dimensions of wellness according to an article published in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal entitled “A Wellness Approach”. Each of these dimensions must have a positive focus in the individual’s life in order for true wellness to become established. Each dimension requires the achievement of balance and harmony of the spirit and mind. Seemingly the interaction of spirit and mind mediates the emotions, and the end result is wellness.
Eight Dimensions of Wellness
- 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
How to evaluate yourself in the eight dimensions? It can be as simple as getting in touch with yourself by answering the following:
I am succeeding at: ________________________________________________________
I want to change: ____________________________________________________
My new behavior choice: _______________________________________________________
This simple format can be applied to any of the wellness lifestyle dimensions. Change does not have to be so difficult and unappealing that you says, “forget this” and make no improvements. The whole course of life is about change and evolution, whether we are aware of it at the time or not. The trick is to steer it in a positive direction so that you improve as you age, and become enriched by your experiences.
A personal experience to help you get started
I went to an alternative physician, a wonderfully talented, knowledgeable person. However she handed me a list of 50 things that I needed to do right now to reach optimal health. I looked at that list of recommendations and just got angry and offended. She made me feel that I had never done anything right in my life. I take personal pride in the fact that I try to live a well-rounded healthy life — eat appropriate food, get adequate rest, exercise regularly. Once I calmed down, I rethought the information and decided to take a “one step at a time” approach to change. She had recommended many organic teas to support liver cleansing, kidney and heart health.
I knew that I had taken many antibiotics over the past year and these can accumulate in the liver and impair kidney function. I decided these teas could make a positive improvement in my wellbeing. So I added the concept of teatime to my daily routine. By finding my own reasons for drinking the tea I became motivated for the behavior change. After a few days, teatime had become a pleasant habit, not just a discipline.
Exploring the occupational dimension
Perhaps the most difficult wellness dimension to address is the occupational, dealing with personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work. Finding a job in one’s real career interest is often difficult, and many people are stuck in jobs and locations they do not like. So what do you do if your work does not bring personal satisfaction?
Here is an example of problem solving in the occupational dimension:
- I am succeeding at: making a living for my family, the work I do helps my clients, I am good at what I do — (It is important to realize and honor the successful aspects of life)
- I want to change: I want to get away from my current supervisor, I’m bored — (Be sure it is the occupation itself that troubles you, and avoid projecting hurt emotions onto the wrong wellness dimension)
- My new behavior choice: 1. I will seek out new training opportunities in the company or a new field 2. I could put up with the job by being Zen-like in the moment and practicing calm acceptance 3. I can refocus satisfaction into an avocation, such as coaching, teaching or volunteering for something I love doing
The key to wellness in the occupation area is accepting that personal satisfaction and enrichment is derived from the act of work. Work provides the basis for feeling competent and capable.
The wellness lifestyle is about honoring your own values and your value as a person. Yes, it is great to be acknowledged by others, but the heart of the matter is to nurture your own well being in mind, body and spirit.
For more information:
Published with permission from AlignLife. Original article link is here.