Wellness 101

Surround yourself with goodness — from your food, to the people in your life, to your workouts. Every day, focus on being the best you can be from the inside out. When you are disciplined with this, you will live in the happy.

— Aliah Whitmore, Discomfort is the Mother of Liberation

How are you?

It’s a simple question often asked by friends and acquaintances, but how often do we make the same inquiry of ourselves? Wellness demands that we do exactly that, especially as life becomes more and more challenging.

According to The National Wellness Institute, wellness is described as: a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential. Sounds like something we all want, right? But reaching our full potential requires effort. For starters, well-being involves balancing the needs of no less than 6 dimensions of our lives: Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional. All are part of our wellness portfolios. Managing those portfolios, just as it does in the financial realm, requires a strategy to cultivate growth. Regardless of whether your goals are as simple as wanting to eat better and exercise more or as complex as wanting to kick an addiction or escape from an abusive relationship, we need to keep asking ourselves that simple question – How are you? – and adjusting our portfolios accordingly. In addition, these five factors need to be incorporated into your investment plan:

  1. Desire – Change begins by wanting something different. Maybe you want to improve something about your life or maybe you want to eliminate and attract something new into your life. People who commit to living in wellness make time for assessing and exploring their personal wants and dissatisfactions. Without self-assessment nothing improves. Living a more successful, more fulfilling existence begins by paying attention to your desires and knowing the difference between what you want and what you’re experiencing.
  2. Curiosity – Every major invention or discovery happens when someone is willing to look, think, or act in a new way. Putting more effort into an old strategy that has never produced the results you desired won’t miraculously work on the seventh try. It’ll simply make you tired. Change directions by learning to ask questions. What’s missing from my life? What do I want to change? Where can I find help? Who could help me? Then consider trying new techniques – meditation, somatic exercises, bio-feedback techniques, or acupuncture – that can help you evolve into your best self.
  3. Courage – Stay strong! Surround yourself with people who will support and cheer your progress. If you’re trying to improve your life but you’re hanging with a group of people who don’t want you to change, the friction will wear away your own resolve. Feed your courage in any way you can: join a 12-step program if you’re battling addiction, find a support group if you want to lose weight, or enroll in a gym if you want to grow stronger.
  4. Commitment – Know that change is hard and that lasting change doesn’t happen in a day or even a week. Make a commitment to bettering your own life and sticking with your goals. Just as money earns more interest the longer it stays in the bank, your desires for wellness increase the longer you stay committed to your own goals. Whether it’s posting positive mottos around your apartment or calling a friend who can encourage you to stay on the path, find ways to keep your commitment strong.
  5. Willingness to Seek Assistance – Don’t go it alone! Sometimes we’re so mired in the mud of our lives that getting unstuck requires assistance. Even if your desires are for implementing ordinary life changes like learning better organizational skills, working with a trained facilitator, a life coach, or a counselor can aid your progress in surprising ways. An extra set of impartial eyes can see patterns and traits that you can’t. None of us learned to walk or talk without the guidance of others and changing our attitudes, habits, and skills to improve our well-being is no different.

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