As a part of my job as a Health Advocate, I have the opportunity to attend various webinars on wellness. I hate to keep great information to myself, so I am going to tell you some of the highlights from a recent topic on comprehensive wellness.
When you think of the word wellness, what comes to mind? Many of us tend to focus on physical wellness, which is when our body is functioning optimally. We are eating properly, getting enough exercise and the proper amount of sleep. According to employee stress management expert, Dr. Brian Luke Seaward, physical wellness is only one-quarter of the complete wellness puzzle. Even when our bodies are in tip-top shape, there are other areas that must be tended too.
Emotional wellness is when we can feel and express all emotions, yet control our emotions, rather than be controlled by them. Many times we can act out of anger and fear. There is an old saying that says, “He who angers you controls you.” Dr. Seward emphasizes creative anger management. Have you heard of Norman Cousins? Google him, you will be glad that you did. He credits laughter for curing himself of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare disease of the connective tissues. Laughter is a stress relief and activates the immune system. Look for humor every day. It doesn’t have to be original, just anything that makes you laugh.
The third quarter to think about is our mental wellbeing. Are we able to gather, process, recall and communicate information? To be well, we need to engage both our left brain and right brain. To do this we need to find ways to channel our creativity. Think about which side of the brain you use the most. What can you do to access they other side? Right brain activities tend to be more creative and used during times of relaxation, whereas left brain activities are more analytical and used more often in times of stress. Dr. Seward encourages everyone to take 5 minutes each day and meditate. It gives your body and chance to sit quietly and calm your mind.
Finally, there is spiritual well being, which is a higher consciousness developed through relationships, values and having a meaningful purpose in life. Relationships include those with others AND also taking care of our own self. Our value system is 4 to 5 things that are important to us. They often shift over time. Finally, having a purpose in life, determining why you are here. People who have a mission in life are more able to withstand stress and have better health overall.
When working on wellness, be careful not to put too much emphasis on one area. It is a balance of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing that we all need to stay on the path of health.
In 2 weeks, watch for my next blog on Stress and Stress Management.