What is wellness?

Have you ever stop to think “what is wellness”? Is it having a healthy mind? Is it having a good work life balance? Is it having a fitness program? Is it having a sense of connection? Wellness is all of these things. Wellness is about your mind, body, and spirit. It is greater than the sum of its parts. Lets examine each of these aspects of wellness.
Mind – The mind is an important part of wellness. Think about a time when you were worried about something. Maybe you were meeting someone new who you perceived as having some importance in your life, a new boss, a blind date, your future mother-in-law. Maybe you had a big project looming with a “to do” list a mile long. I am sure you can think of many other times when you were worried about something. This is certainly a part of wellness. Although, you may be physically healthy, the worry and stress is taking a toll of you.
Body – The body seems to be the default part of wellness everyone thinks of first. When you think about your body do you feel good or do you have a shopping list of things you want to improve upon? You may be mentally healthy, able to manage what life throws at you but you are dealing with things on a physical level that leave you feeling drained and criticizing yourself.
Spirit – This is the aspect of wellness that is most often missed. Do you have a sense of connection with something greater than yourself? This could be God, Nature, Artistic Inspiration. What is it that makes you feel whole and fulfilled? What is it that you are apart of? Without a sense of connection, life can feel lonely and pointless.
Lets put them all together – Wellness is greater than the sum of its parts. Although you can have wellness in each of these areas, you can see how having one part left out, can disrupt the balance in the other areas. By moving forward to achieve wellness in one of the three aspects, the other areas improve as well. For example, you decide to train for a marathon. The process of running improves your physical body. Your legs strengthen. Your lung capacity improves. Other things also start to happen. Running can be very meditative and therefore strengthen your sense of connection. If you run nature trails, you may see the beauty of nature and experience a sense of God, therefore improving the spiritual realm of wellness. When you run healthy endorphins are released that reduce stress, improve mood, and decrease anxiety. With this example we can see how making a choice to improve one aspect of wellness made an impact on the others. You can start in any of the three realms and see how it is interconnected. Think about if you start a program to manage your stress, whether it be counseling, reading a self help book, or taking a yoga class. You can think through how the scenario would affect, not only mind, but also body and spirit.
Wellness is a constant work in progress. I do not know anyone who has complete and total wellness. Taking a simple step in one direction can make a big difference for your overall wellness. What is one step towards wellness you feel you could take today? Which aspect of wellness do you feel inspired to initiate improvement?

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