I frequently hear the word 'wellbeing' slipping from my mouth, even though I hadn't actually paused to consider what wellbeing actually means until I was recently asked what it is.
Wellbeing [ noun ] – the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.
This is what the Oxford English Dictionary defines as wellbeing, but what does that actually mean and more importantly, how does one actually DO wellbeing? The short answer is simply that there is no short answer! Every one of us have our own unique set point for wellbeing, and this set point itself, evolves as we do.
Each aspect of Oxford's definition, i.e. being comfortable, healthy and happy is also a world of its own depending on our current realities in relation to our goals, preferences, needs etc. For example, the English Oxford Dictionary’s definition mentions happiness. However, wellbeing as a concept is much broader than this and has been debated since the Third Century BC. The Philosopher Aristotle came up with the concept of Eudaimonia – the contented state of feeling healthy, happy and prosperous. Even though happiness is an integral part of your personal wellness, it includes other things such as the fulfillment of long-term goals, your sense of purpose and how in control you feel in life.
Wellbeing is Multi-Faceted
An overall sense of wellness will not be achieved without having a balance in these key elements. Each of these facets interact with each other and when we adopt a misguided approach in relation to any of these facets, we feel the repercussions of these approaches in the others.
Physical - This includes lifestyle choices that affect the functioning of our bodies. What we consume and how active we are will affect our physical wellbeing.
Emotional or psychological - Our ability to cope with everyday life is rooted in our resourcefulness. Our resourcefulness is in turn, a reflection of how well we related to ourselves emotionally and psychologically. What we feed our minds and hearts with will either serve this aspect of our wellbeing or destroy it. We have to become very deliberate about what we consume when we choose to make our wellbeing our priority.
Social - This is the extent that we feel a sense of belonging and social inclusion. The way we communicate with others, our relationships, values, beliefs, lifestyles and traditions are all important factors of social wellbeing. When fitting in and belonging comes at the expense of being aligned with our own beliefs and priorities, our social lives no longer serves as a foundation for wellbeing. It instead becomes a source of anxiety and burnout. These are easy indicators that will guide you in your assessment and reassessment of your tribe.
Spiritual - This is the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life. Achieved through being connected to our inner self, to nature or a greater power. This source of wellbeing requires us to interrupt our busyness and to cultivate the time and space to reconnect with and learn to trust our intuition.
Self-Esteem - It is important to gain and maintain intellectual wellness as it helps us to expand our knowledge and skills in order to live an enjoyable and successful life and to feel ourselves accomplish things that earn us respect and recognition among our peers and from ourselves as well.
Financial - Our ability to meet our basic needs and feel a sense of security is one of the biggest sources of certainty for most of us. In fact, it is such an enormous part of our sense of certainty that the pursuit of this aspect of our lives can cost us the others. Far, far too many of us are languishing in jobs and companies we have no business being in, in the first place.
The world we live in is complex. Understanding the requirement of wellness and the factors that influence this state, whether as an individual, community or nation, helps us to work together to improve the quality of our lifestyles.
Five simple ways to improve our overall wellbeing are:
Energy – Make space in your life and schedule for what energises you. Your
energy depletion serves no-one. Connect – To what brings your closer to yourself. You are hear, mind, body, soul
and environment and each of these need to time and attention. When
you connect to these, the people who reflect these will surface in your
life. Reflect – Become deliberate in remembering the simple things that give you
joy and savouring them daily. Renewal – We all need a gentle balance of routine and novelty. Embracing
new experiences, people and opportunities opportunities allow us to
new aspects about ourselves and the world around us and to see old
places and realities with new lenses. It will even support us in
recreating our routines in a way tha better serves and supports our
goals. Contribute – give people your time, your words and your presence.
“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit. The realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our wellbeing”