Category Archives: Social Balance

The One-Step Compatibility Test

 

One of my favorite quotes comes from Maya Angelou. It’s simple, it’s so easy to implement, and it can help you answer a lot of questions. Want to know what it is?

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

Simply put, you can learn a lot about a person by their actions. When you meet someone new (maybe a new person you’re dating, or a new friend or co-worker), if you are observant, you can learn a lot about their character through their words, attitude, and actions. It’s the one-step compatibility test. You can find out pretty quickly whether that person is someone with whom you want to spend your time. You’ll be able to determine what they’re like and who they are as a person, and the key here is that whatever you see and whatever they show you – believe them. That’s really who they are. I’ll give you some examples.

Your new love interest

Maybe you met someone who you think you might like to get to know better. You start dating, and he comes to your house to pick you up for dinner. At your house, he comments on your decor or “critiques” the art on your walls or questions your taste in books when he sees what’s on your bookshelf. (Yes, this really happened to me!). The guy might be nice in general, and he may be a lot of fun, but do you want to spend a lot of time with someone whose commentary makes you feel compelled to hide the real you?

When I (briefly) dated a guy like this, it didn’t take long before I realized how much he thought of himself. I also started to see that the more he criticized other people, things, and ideas, the more he prided himself on being so much better. Maybe it was a self-esteem thing, I don’t know, but what I do know is that even if a guy looks good on paper, if he’s going to come in your house and criticize your choices, he likely wouldn’t be a very supportive partner.

This guy’s actions were a red flag for me, because I realized how uneasy he made me feel, if not a bit defensive. But really, I should have appreciated it, because it gave me a lot of insight into him.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that we weren’t a match. He showed me who he was, and I believed him. His words were a little window into his true personality, and then I could see how that part of him showed up in a lot of other ways too.

If you’re dating someone new and wondering if you are compatible, pay attention to your gut feeling. If he (or she) says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, look for it to manifest itself in other ways. Don’t make excuses for it or think it’s a one-time thing. It probably isn’t. He’s showing you who he is. Believe him.

New friends

Maybe you’ve been hanging out with some new friends, and you’re trying to determine whether they are people you would like to have in your inner circle. The same one-step test applies. I once started hanging out with a new friend whose company I enjoyed. We liked doing a lot of the same things, so we started doing some fun things together. But early on I noticed she spent a lot of time talking about others in our social circle.

Whether it was rumors or gossip or their sense of fashion or how they spent their money – she talked about it, and she had an opinion of it. And it often wasn’t very positive. I realized that this was a time she was showing me who she was, and negative people will take you down with them. Besides that, I had to figure she was talking about me when I wasn’t around!

This isn’t to say you should critique every new potential friend or seek out the negative side to their personality. It’s just that people are usually pretty good at putting their best foot forward when they are spending time with someone new. You want to be aware of that and make sure you aren’t overlooking something that makes you uneasy. That small thing you noticed about them might actually be a good indicator of who they are. This is especially true if it’s a behavior or action that troubles you, since those are often the most true indications of the real person.

Get to know someone through their actions instead of their words, and you will know the real person. Believe that their actions are who they truly are, and decide if that’s someone you want to be around.

As you can see, you can implement the one-step test in all your relationships. Think about Angelou’s quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” If you look back on past failed relationships with partners, friends, and co-workers, can you can see where someone showed you early on who they truly were, but you didn’t believe them?

Maybe you wanted to think better of them. Maybe you thought that person was just having an off day, but now looking back you can see that it really was a sign of her true personality. And possibly you could have saved yourself some headache and heartache if you would have just believed her the first time.

3 Powerful Tips For Becoming A Good Listener – Even When You Disagree!

 

You’ve heard it many times before – communication is the lifeblood of a strong relationship. Not only should you be able to talk with your partner about your feelings, but it’s also important to be a good listener.

Listening is an important skill because you want your partner to feel that he can talk to you, and that you will really hear him. If he doesn’t, he’s likely to find someone else who will – his buddy or workout partner or mom. This won’t build the strength of your relationship, and it won’t help the two of you grow your bond together.

This is true in all relationships, not just with your spouse or significant other. The more your friends, children, siblings, and others feel you really hear them when they talk, the more likely they are to come to you when they need help – whether it’s an issue between the two of you or even just something the person needs help with in her daily life. And the more that happens, the better your bond with that person will be.

So what does it take to be a good listener? And how can you communicate to people that you are hearing them?

Pay Attention – There are lots of ways to show a person you are paying attention when they are talking. Maintaining fairly steady eye contact is an important (and easy) one. Of course, you don’t want to be staring at them to the point of making them uncomfortable, but at the same time, make sure you aren’t looking around the room, looking at other people, or glancing at your phone when a person is talking. Maintain enough eye contact to make it clear to the other person that they have your undivided attention.

Paying attention also means not interrupting. Anytime you interrupt a person when she is talking, you run the risk that she will lose her train of thought or respond to your interruption in a way that derails the point she is trying to make. It also communicates to her that what you have to say is more important than what she has to say, which is not the case if you want her to feel heard. If questions or comments come up in your head while she is talking, don’t interject. Instead, wait until she is done and then chime in.

The third part of paying attention shows in the expression on your face. If a person is telling a sad story, that should be reflected with a sympathetic look from you. A happy story should evoke a smile from you. There’s no need to fake an emotion or otherwise react in a way that isn’t expected, but if you are paying attention and really listening to the story, it would show when the talker is looking at you. Let her see how engaged you are, and she will likely open up more.

Reflect Back What You’re Hearing – When you use words like, “So you think ___” or “What you’re saying is ___,” you are reflecting (or mirroring) back what the speaker is saying. This has a few advantages.

First, it lets the speaker know you are paying attention and trying to understand.

Second, it allows the speaker to clarify his point if he doesn’t think you understand or if he feels the need to put a finer point on what he is saying.

Third (and most importantly) when you reflect back to the person who is talking, it often helps that person dig deeper into his own feelings. Take a look at this example:

Kelly: Ugh, what a long Monday!
Jeff: Bad day?
Kelly: The boss was on my case all day.
Jeff: Was he breathing down your neck a lot?
Kelly: Yes, and it just makes me take longer to finish my work because it makes me nervous.
Jeff: Sounds like the more he crowds you, the more your anxiety goes up.
Kelly: Yes! Exactly! And then it takes longer to get everything done, and we all get frustrated!

See how Jeff simply mirrored back each thing Kelly said, but just with different words? The more he did that, the more he communicated that he “got” what she was saying. And when he got it, it allowed Kelly to keep digging to really express what was going on. In the end, she feels better for venting, and she feels like Jeff really heard her. In the future, she’s likely to open up to him again because she walked away feeling acknowledged and validated.

Keep in mind that mirroring what a person says does not mean you agree with them. It just means that you heard them. Use the reflecting technique even when you don’t agree with someone. The point is that you want the speaker to feel like he was heard, and that you listened. If you feel strongly about expressing why you don’t agree with him, do so only after you have sufficiently (several times) mirrored back what he said, so you can be sure he felt heard, and you can also feel sure you understand his point of view.

Listen Without Formulating a Response – When someone is telling you something, it’s easy for your mind to go to a lot of different places. You might judge the person for what she’s saying, you might already start thinking of solutions to the problem she’s discussing, or you might even think about why what she is saying is wrong. Try your best not to do any of these things, because if you are, you aren’t truly listening.

Instead of forming an opinion or devising a solution, make a conscious effort to instead put yourself in the speaker’s shoes. Try to feel what she is feeling. She is talking to you for a reason. She wants you to see her point of view or understand her feelings or convince you of an opinion.

To be a good listener, you have to see where she is coming from. Instead of thinking about what you are going to say next, or instead of waiting for her to stop just so you can say what’s on your mind, really listen without formulating a response. Listen empathetically, get a good understanding of what she’s saying and feeling, and then reflect that back to her.

Remember, good communication makes a strong foundation for a relationship, and listening skills are a big part of that. Even more, when a person knows that his partner will really listen objectively, it makes him more likely to open up – and to be honest when he does. Be attentive and give your partner, kids, and friends your time and your open mind. You will see your relationships reach new levels, and your bonds will be stronger.

Do you consider yourself to be a good listener? Are there things you could do differently to better communicate that you’re really hearing the person who is talking? What do you do to show your favorite people that they are being heard by you? Please share it in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you!

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Make a Good Relationship Better: Equal Partnerships Are Built To Last

Make a Good Relationship Better: Equal Partnerships Are Built To Last

 

We all want good relationships with the people around us. Family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors all play a role in our social wellness. Some of those relationships (supervisor/subordinate, parent/child) might not be built on equality. With your spouse or partner, though, equality is vitally important. Equal partnerships foster closeness, which results in a stronger and happier relationship. When partner are equal, they feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, causing them to feel better about themselves, their partner, and the relationship as a whole. Couples with an equal partnership also report more stability in their marriage, less conflict, less dependency, and less resentment.

There are eight types of interactions that are associated with equality in a relationship. You and your partner may be stronger in some areas than others. By knowing, understanding, and implementing the following behaviors, you can foster a healthier relationship and a stronger bond.

Negotiation and Fairness – When you and your partner are trying to resolve a problem, find resolutions that really work for both of you. In an equal relationship, neither person’s wants and needs are more important. While both partners should be willing to compromise, neither should be expected to give up or give in just to satisfy the other.

Respect – A big part of having respect for someone comes in how you listen to them. When your partner is talking, hear her out before responding. Listen to her without judging her, and try to respond in a way that shows you really heard her. If you can do those things, she might feel like she can tell you anything.

Being respectful also means affirming your partner in a positive way. By valuing opinions and acknowledging emotions, you create a space in which both partners are comfortable sharing all of their thoughts and feelings.

Trust and Support – In an equal relationship, both partners’ life goals are supported by the other – not one person’s more so than the other. You also trust each other so that each of you can have your own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Economic Partnership – If you are striving for an equal relationship, it is also important that you and your partner make money decisions together. This doesn’t mean you have to check with each other before any purchase is made (as some financial independence is also important), but big decisions like the family budget, significant purchases, and savings and retirement accounts should all be discussed and decided together.

Equality also means that both partners benefit from the financial arrangements, and one isn’t feeling controlled by the other through money. Both should have equal say and equal access when it comes to family funds, and neither should feel pressed to give up his own wishes to allow money to be spent based solely on his partner’s preferences.

Non-Threatening Behavior – It’s also important for both partners to talk and act in a demeanor that makes the other feel safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things. In other words, both people should be comfortable being themselves around the other. If one partner is particularly critical or domineering, for example, it could create an environment where the other feels s/he has to act or say or do things a certain way in order to avoid being criticized.

There rarely is one right way to do any one thing, so give your partner space to be him or herself without you responding with your own critique.

Responsible Parenting – Equal partners also share parenting responsibilities. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to take turns each time the baby needs to be changed or the teenager needs homework help. Usually one parent or the other is better at certain tasks and will handle the bulk of those  parenting duties. But what it does mean is overall both parents should work equally in the process of raising their children, and they should both constantly make the effort to be positive role models for the children.

Honesty and Accountability – Creating equal relationships is a continuing process, and it’s rarely perfect from the start. Part of that equation in reaching equality is that both partners must accept responsibility for themselves.

Acknowledge things you have done or said in the past that were hurtful to the relationship. Admit when you were wrong without trying to make someone else share the blame. Taking steps to make sure past wrongs won’t be repeated also makes you more accountable. Saying you were wrong and you’re sorry isn’t enough until you demonstrate how committed you are to not making those mistakes again. Communicate openly and truthfully with each other to avoid passing blame and keep working toward resolution.

Shared Responsibility – You can’t have an equal relationship if one person isn’t pulling her weight around the house and the other person feels he is having to do everything. If there is an imbalance in your house, work together to agree on a fair distribution of work. Once you do that, be responsible about your commitment.

Saying you’ll do something and actually doing it are two different things. If you want an equal relationship, both partners have to contribute fairly and responsibly to helping the house run smoothly.

It’s also important to make family decisions together. Both partners need to have equal input and both need to be heard by the other.

When you build these behaviors into your relationship, you will strengthen your relationship’s foundation. Each partner will feel better about her/himself, feel more positive about the other person, and value the relationship more.

How would you assess the equality in your relationship? Are there areas that are particularly strong? Are there other areas that you think you and your partner could do better? Take some time to think about how you can improve in those areas, and talk with your partner. Listen to each other, make some changes, and let me know how it goes!

4 New Ideas for Better Work-Life Balance

Work-Life balance isn’t just about balancing your time in the office with your time out of the office. It means balancing work with all the other things in your life that are just as important. I previously wrote about the importance of identifying your personal values and then making decisions based on the real you. This means when you are able to have better balance between office time and personal time, you want to make sure your personal time is productive too – not in terms of getting chores done or zoning out in front of the TV, but in terms of nurturing what’s important to you.

So how do you go about better managing your work time, so you can get more personal time? And once you do, how do you make sure you use that time for the things that are truly important to you?

First, remember what you know. I’m sure you’ve often read suggestions such as setting goals at work in order to keep on task, learning to say no to projects you don’t have time to take on, and limiting the time you spend at work, so you aren’t always trying to get one last thing done. You’ve heard that all before, right? If those aren’t working or you need something more, read on…

Delegate – Some of us are control freaks, some of us believe the only way to get things done right is to do it yourself. Whatever your reason, let it go. I’m sure if you thought about it, there are a few small projects (letters to write, appointments to make) in your office right now that you could delegate to someone else. If you really want to create some work-life balance, this is truly the best place to start. Until you are more efficient at work, you won’t be able to spend less time at the office. Efficiency at work is the key here, and delegating is the foundation.

Delegating is also a useful tool at home. If you have small children, they can help with clean up. Older kids should have chores (and let them pick up some extras to earn spending money), and if they have their driver’s license, have them run some errands. You can make it fun or give them extra rewards, as long as you are freeing up some of your own time – everyone’s happy!

Maintain Your Energy – Unless you take good care of yourself, you won’t be able to maximize your time at work or at home. There’s no point in  learning to be more efficient at work if you’re just going to crash once you get home, right? Keep your battery charged by eating nutritiously as often as you can, exercising, and getting enough sleep. When you take care of yourself and are able to maintain a high level of energy, you’ll be more efficient in your time spent at work, you might be able to sneak out a bit early, and you’ll be more present when you are home.

Rethink Your Errands – I know a lot of people spend a fair amount of running errands. Nobody likes them, but they need to be done, right? Think about your work errands. If you have a job that has you running out to do things occasionally during the day, think about whether that’s the best use of your time. Would your company allow you to hire a courier? Can an intern pick up supplies for you? Rather than running out to get lunch, can you bring your meal from home? If you spend part of your work day running in and out of the office, it really won’t allow you to be efficient even when you are there.

You can also rethink your personal errands. Just about anything you need to go somewhere to purchase you can also order online. Groceries can be delivered. You can avoid the bank, post office, and pet store by banking online, ordering stamps, and even ordering dog food online.

Also consider that some businesses will run your errands for you. There are dry cleaners who have drop off and pick up services. You might even hire a local college kid to be your personal courier – no more running to the library to return books, to blockbuster to return movies, or to other stores where you might have to return a purchase.

It doesn’t have to be pricey either. You can pay a flat fee for a set amount of time, and then only give her the errands that are reasonable to get completed in that time.

Change Your Scheduling Habits – If you work eight hours per day and sleep eight hours per night, that means you’ve got an additional eight each day plus the weekends to schedule however you see fit. Try this: pull up your calendar and block out the times that you’ll be at work or sleeping. Next, pencil in other things you would like to do. Not the laundry or the housecleaning or other things you need to do, but what you want to do. That means after you block out work and sleep, write in when you want to watch a movie with your partner. Next write in when you’d like to build a blanket fort with your toddler. Schedule a time to bake some cookies with your teen or a bike ride by yourself or whatever it is that you really want to do but never seem to get around to doing. After you schedule all your priorities, then write in the chores and errands that you want to get done.

It’s a great exercise that can really help you shift your priorities. After all, isn’t good family bonding time much more important than cleaning out the closets?

The point is to think outside the box as you work on creating work-life balance. There are a lot of different ways to do the things you do. You just have to find the most efficient way that works for you.

Being more efficient at work leads to having better balance between work and everything else. Once you have that in place, make sure you are using your time for the good stuff – the things that most matter to you, that feed your soul, that reflect your values.

One last warning: In researching this article, I came across a column on work-life balance that ended with this: “Know when to seek professional help.” Wow! Don’t let that be you! 🙂

Have more time-saving ideas? What tips do you have for ensuring your time is well-spent on the things that matter? Let me know in the comments, so I can learn from you too.

Building Self-Esteem: What Are You Saying to Yourself?

 

Self-esteem is our sense of how we feel about ourselves, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what other people think about us. It’s about your overall sense of self-worth or personal value, and it can be the foundation for making decisions for yourself that are true to the real you. People with high self esteem don’t concern themselves with what others think they should do. Instead, they are able to make their decisions based on what is true to them. Imagine being able to make your own life decisions, both big and small, without ever thinking  about what others think? With a good self-esteem, you can do exactly that.

If you want to start making some changes to build your self-esteem, one of the best places to start is with your self-talk.

What is self-talk? One of the simplest ways to both assess and improve your own self-esteem is through self-talk. When you are faced with any type of stressor in your life, what do you say to yourself? That is your self-talk. For instance, somebody trying to establish an exercise habit in an effort to lose weight might say, “Why should I bother? I’m fat, and I never stick to a program anyway.” Or, she might say, “I’m ready to do this! I’m going to keep at it and take off these pounds!” The self-talk in that situation can make all the difference in whether she succeeds.

Self-talk is both learned and self-created. Learned self-talk may have come from messages you received from other people, especially while you were growing up. Think about the dominant adults in your life when you were a child. Did you hear more messages that encouraged you and had confidence in you, or did you hear more that had little faith in you or maybe even insulted you?

Self-talk that you created yourself could be from your own negative thoughts, unreasonably high expectations, or by comparing yourself to others.

Regardless of where it came from, though, if your self-talk is negative, it’s time to let it go.

Recognize and replace your self-talk. What type of self-talk do you typically use? If you want to speak up at a business meeting, are you more likely to say to yourself, “They might think this is dumb,” or would you say, “They’ll be so glad I shared this idea!” If you are meeting your boyfriend’s friends for the first time, do you think, “They’re not going to think I’m good enough for him,” or do you think, “They’ll think we’re the perfect match!”

If you are more likely to use negative self-talk (even mildly negative, such as “I’m not sure if this is good enough” or “This is too much pressure for me”), think about ways to replace your thoughts with more positive ones.

Instead of “This is stressing me out,” use “If I’m calm, it will be easier.”

Instead of “This probably won’t work,” use “This is the answer, and I’ve got other ideas I can try too.”

Instead of “I can’t deal with this one minute longer,” use “I can bear anything for a while.”

You get the idea!

More positive self-talk statements If you’re having trouble coming up with positive self-talk statements to substitute for your old messages, here’s a list of more generic ones that can be used in a variety of situations:

No problem, I thrive on challenge.
This is an opportunity, not a threat.
I come through under pressure.
I can do almost anything I set my mind to.
I have confidence.
I’m getting better all the time!
I make things happen.
I have more talents and skills than I have yet discovered.
I am calm and confident.
I am doing the best I can.
I will be true to myself.
One step at a time.
I can remain calm with this difficult person.
I know I will be okay no matter what happens.
In the long run, does this really matter?
Is this really worth getting upset about?
I’m not going to overreact.

Now try this exercise! Which positive self-talk statements in the list above would work best for you? What other ones can you think of that would work even better for you? Write them down on a 3×5 card or small piece of paper, and think about when you might be able to use them. For the next several days, when you find yourself using negative self-talk, think about the messages on your card and see if you can change it to positive self-talk. Later, take a moment to reflect back. Can you see how the positive messages you gave yourself in a stressful setting automatically improved that situation?

Improving your self-talk is the first step to improving your self-esteem. By being your own cheerleader, you will gain confidence in yourself. And when you do that, you will get to know yourself better, and you will be able to make choices in your life that are true to the real you, being easily able to disregard what others might think you should do.

Keep working on changing your self-talk with your new positive messages. Take note of how much better it works, and then let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Building Family Bonds: social wellness begins at home

A sense of belonging and connection is a basic human need – maybe even as much as food and shelter. There have been many studies about the benefits of social support, all showing that having a supportive network of family or close friends has been linked to better health, a stronger immune system, and more resistance to disease. Not surprisingly, the lack of social stability has been linked to a variety of physical and psychological illnesses. If you want to build a stronger bond within your own family in order to create a more supportive network, how do you start? Really, the best place to begin is by giving support and friendship, because when you give it, you also are very likely to receive it.

Think about the time you spend with your immediate family. Do you find that even when you are physically in the house together, you spend much of that time alone or isolated? You might all be in different rooms doing different things, or you might even be in the same room, but each person is doing his or her own thing like watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the internet. Interacting with your family members is what strengthens and enriches your bonds. Here are five ways to start building those bonds:

1. Meal times – This may be the only time during the day that your family can gather together, so make it count! Depending on how busy your family is, try to get together for dinner at least four or five nights per week. It’s important to get rid of distractions (no television, no phones), which makes it easier to carry on substantive conversations. Discuss what happened during the day, upcoming plans, and ongoing activities. Try to keep mealtime positive – there’s a time and place for resolving family issues, and keeping difficult topics off the table (so to speak) will ensure that everyone will look forward to this time to bond each day.

2. Busy times – Even when work and travel make it difficult to spend time together, you can always tend to your bond with family members by letting them know you’re thinking of them. Leave a note for your child and tell her something you love about her, send a text to your spouse telling him how much you miss him, and if you were away on a business trip, bring back a small souvenir to let your family know you were thinking of them even when you weren’t together. Physical presence is important, but you can always build your emotional bond even when you can’t be together.

3. Down times – Bedtime and playtime are particularly important between parents and their children. Reading a bedtime story is a great way to express your love for your kids, as well as an opportunity to instill the love of reading. Remember that your goal is to be interactive. Ask your kids questions about the story as you read it, and allow young children to point out pictures or ask questions. As they get older, they can read to you or you can both take turns reading. This is also another part of your day that can involve the whole family. Even if your kids don’t share a room, gathering the whole family on one bed can easily become the part of the day that every family member happily anticipates the most.

Depending on the age of your children, you might not get an opportunity for playtime every day. But you can schedule it in occasionally with older kids, and they’re probably more likely to be on board if you make it fun for them. Throw a ball with your aspiring baseball player, play Xbox with your gamer, or work on a crossword puzzle with your bookworm. Jigsaw puzzles and board games may not be as popular anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to entice them with some old school fun!

4. Family causes – We all know the importance of raising children who care about others. One way to teach them and also work on your family bond is by picking a social issue and creating a common focus for the family.

Talk to your kids and see what concerns or curiosities they might have. For instance, if your family wants to learn more about caring for the environment, you could set up a recycling station in your house where you can sort bottles, cans and paper. You could plant a tree in the yard together, go on a hike, or start a garden. Working together on a social issue can be educational and it could even spark new interests in your children.

5. Adventures – Family adventures can be big or small, but when you go on adventures together, you will strengthen your bond and also create lasting memories together. Talk to your family members about what their idea of an adventure is (and don’t forget to include your own!). You might get a surprising variety of results – from catching fireflies to traveling to another country!

A family adventure allows you to get to know more about what inspires each person, gives you lots of opportunities to research and plan together, and ultimately provides an experience that you all are likely to remember for a long time.

The above tips work for families of all different types. Your older kids might actually enjoy some extra attention, and your younger kids will appreciate being involved in family planning. Couples without children can still enjoy playtime (board games, video games) and create new traditions that are special just to them. The important thing is that you continue to find ways to enjoy one another’s company, thus reinforcing the support structure in your family.

What are your favorite ways to bond with family members? Do you have special activities that bring everyone together? Share them in the comments, so I can learn from you too!

Wellness: What is it, and where do I get it?

Wellness isn’t so much a thing, as it is a process. It can be best defined as the process of making positive changes in order to achieve positive balance in your healthy life. There are seven aspects of wellness, or seven areas of your life that you want to balance. The seven areas can be easily remembered with the acronym, SPECIES. They are Social, Physical, Emotional, Career, Intellectual, Environmental, and Spiritual. Today we’ll discuss the first three, and then tomorrow we’ll explore the last four.

Social wellness isn’t just about having a few friends to hang out with on the weekends (although that’s important too!).  It’s also about having the ability to create and maintain healthy relationships with everyone around you, whether they are family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors or anyone else. In future posts, some of the things we’ll talk about are ways we create relationships (some are by choice, and some are not), how we can create good relationships with the ones that are by choice, and then how to maintain healthy relationships with people in all those different groups.

Physical wellness might seem easy to define. The first thought that probably jumps to your mind is exercise, right? There is so much more to physical wellness besides just working out. For your workouts, you want to consider cardio, flexibility, and strength training. But to achieve physical wellness you should also consider nutrition, rest/sleep, and responsible use of alcohol and other drugs. Look for future posts about physical wellness including how to get started on an exercise program, ways to assess and revamp your eating habits, and tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

Emotional wellness is all about…your emotions! The four core emotions are mad, glad, sad, and scared. Emotional wellness includes being able to understand your inner, true self, and it also means being able to express your emotions in a healthy way. Being able to feel, understand, express, and talk about your feelings is another important aspect of emotional wellness. In the coming months, we will talk more about habits you might have in response to emotions (and how to change them), talking about feelings in ways that will help you be heard, and how to manage negative feelings.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the Career, Intellectual, Environmental, and Spiritual dimensions of wellness. Meanwhile, of the first three areas, which do you feel best about? In which areas do you think you could use some work? If you have questions about social, physical, or emotional wellness, let me know in the comments!