Wellness, the hashtag or tagline for many an online post from the knowledgeable to the influential. It is often thrown around with reckless abandonment with others such as organic, natural, superfood and the newest member, mindfulness to engage you in a product or health promotion of some sort. However, the word wellness has been around since the 60’s and 70’s, long before social media was even born. Wellness, a word coined by the leading psychologists, behavioural change therapists, counsellors and life coaches at the time who pioneered the way for the whole person approach we know today.
As this is a wellness blog, I thought it was necessary to dig a little deeper…
What does wellness mean?
And more importantly what does wellness mean to you?
I have often posed this question to individuals and groups as a Health & Wellness Coach and the answers are always similar;
– Wellness is the opposite of illness.
– Wellness is being fit and healthy.
– Wellness is having a healthy diet.
– Wellness is being healthy.
All the above are true and important aspects of wellness, but not the whole picture. To bring awareness to your wellness is to bring awareness to all areas of your life, looking at you as a whole –in mind, body, soul and environment.
Wellness isn’t just the absence of disease, you can be disease free and in a neutral position between wellness and illness and still feel unsatisfied or unfulfilled. Almost like wearing blinkers or driving on auto pilot. Not really tuning into what is going on in your body, mind or heart but getting by because you haven’t started to show the signs or symptoms of illness yet.
How often have you been totally satisfied in some areas of your life such as career only to realise that your relationships or health are in total disarray? Feeling so satisfied in some areas only to feel empty and wanting in others?
Don’t worry you are not alone in feeling this way. How else can we truly know what we want without having the contrast of what we don’t want. So always embrace and be grateful for this contrast as it is there to show you what you do want.
For me, wellness is an inside job and it starts with our awareness. After all, awareness can be curative. When we bring awareness to all areas of our lives and ask ourselves a few honest questions as to how we are truly feeling about them we may be surprised at how deeply we connect with the answers.
So where and how do we start? Let’s get this wheel turning!
As I said when we look at our wellness we don’t just look at one area like diet or fitness, we need to look at all areas of meaning within our lives. These may vary but for the majority they can be focused around these main areas.
- Personal growth
- Significant other/ Romance
- Physical environment
- Fun and recreation
- Diet & fitness
Take 5 or 10 minutes and think honestly about these areas within your life. You can add in or take out areas if you wish.
If you were to rate your satisfaction in each area out of 10, what would that look like? Shade in your wheel to correspond with your rating.
Think about each area from both sides. For example, I might rate my diet & fitness a 6/10 because although I eat very healthy 80% of the time, my fitness levels have dropped as I have prioritised other areas of my life.
Look at your wheel, the inner shaded wheel you have created and ask yourself, how confident would I feel using this wheel on my car? If the answer is not very confident maybe you can make some changes to those certain areas of your life to ensure a smoother ride.
It is not about having the perfectly rounded wheel, it is about bringing your awareness to your wellness as a whole and improving it by looking at specific areas.
It is about changing the direction of your wellness, a direction of which you are steering and not being led.
As wellness is an ever-evolving journey for everyone you could do this exercise 100 times over and have different insights each time. I have often done this and thought, I am not satisfied with that area of my life, I am going to make a conscious effort to see that person more or do this less. In bringing our attention and awareness to an area you could bump a 5/10 to an 8/10 and make a huge change to our overall wellness in a matter of minutes.
Other times the change might be a bigger lifestyle change that we may need to seek help with and or set goals accordingly.
As I said, it starts with awareness. So, bring your attention to all of the important parts of your life, give it some honest, non-judgemental thought. The wheel should not be a tool you use to beat yourself up that you haven’t got your life perfectly balanced (Let’s be honest, who does?). It is a tool that acts as a starting point from which you can consciously improve your health and well-being.
We are the only ones who can take control of our wellness and change it for the better, we just need to make that choice.
Are you ready to take control of your health and wellness and change it for the better?
Where will you start?