Category Archives: Spiritual Balance

Does Your Spending Reflect Your Values?

 

My husband and I attended the Kansas City Pride Festival this weekend, which (among other things) was particularly great for some fantastic people-watching! While I was there, I picked up a small booklet entitled, “Buying For Workplace Equality.” It’s an awesome publication if you, like me, want to make sure that the choices you make about where you spend your money is also a reflection of your own values.

This guide focuses on companies, products and services that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace inclusion. It is organized into categories such as household products, restaurants and retailers, and in each category, various businesses are listed in either green (highest score), yellow (moderate), or red (lowest).

I was intrigued by the booklet because I’ve always believed in the idea that I should use my buying power to patronize businesses that understand and honor the issues that are important to me. I encourage you to do the same!

Tools to help you make informed decisions

The Workplace Equality booklet can be downloaded in PDF format, and you can also request a print copy for free. Or, think about what your own priorities are. If you’re most concerned about the environment, check out Newsweek’s Green Rankings. If you want to spend your money with companies that contribute to particular political parties, www.goodguide.com has a fun, interactive tool that can really help you make informed decisions.

You might prefer to buy products from small stores or local businesspeople (like the fisherman above!). Buying local keeps more money in the community, saves energy, and helps maintain some diversity in the marketplace. If that’s the case, check out the USDA’s listing of over 7000 farmers markets all across the country or take a look at www.independentwestand.org, where you can find a searchable database of independent businesses.

Whatever issues are important to you and your family, you can always find companies that support your values, and you can easily find out which companies have different agendas.

Why is it important that your spending reflects your values?

Part of spiritual wellness is living a life that is true to your values. When you identify your values and then make life decisions that reflect those values, it puts you more in touch with the true you. And the closer you get to the true you (although it is always an ongoing process), the more you move toward inner peace. You gain more clarity and focus on the things that matter to you, and you get inspired to do the things that feed your soul.

By supporting companies that are in line with your own values, you are walking the walk, and not just talking the talk. Your core self will be a little more content, and you will live a more authentic life.

Have you ever made purchasing decisions based on the social issues supported by a company? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and you can also find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/OneMoveForward!

Keeping Spiritual Wellness In The Midst Of Your Busy Life

 

Spiritual wellness means different things to different people. The most important part to remember, though, is that your life is a journey in which you continue to look for your own meaning and purpose. With our busy lives, it can be difficult to look at the bigger picture of our purpose when we are so preoccupied with taking care of all the small things that need to be accomplished each day.

That’s okay – there are some simple and easy habits you can work on that will help you make sure you are taking good care of your spiritual side – whatever that may mean to you.

Develop A Spiritual Routine

Whether you are religious and pray to a particular God or consider yourself more spiritual in nature, it helps to have a small routine to practice that will give you some spiritual comfort during your day.

You might not have time to go to church regularly, but you may have time to pray together as a family before dinner. If that wouldn’t work with your family’s schedule, you might try a short prayer of thanksgiving by yourself before you even get out of bed in the morning.

If you don’t pray or don’t believe in God but still want to take good care of your spiritual health, think about something simple you can do each day that warms your heart. If you’re an early riser, spend a few minutes enjoying the sunrise. You could also take 10 minutes to meditate or make it a practice to note a few things for which you are thankful each morning, or you can even just sit quietly and focus on your breaths – breathing deeply for a few minutes to get a bit grounded before your busy day.

Learn To Let Go

Another way to move toward inner peace is to learn to let go of things you can’t control. For people who are religious, that might mean understanding and accepting that God has your best interests in mind. Some people who don’t believe in God simply feel that the universe is looking out for them.

If you don’t believe at all in any higher power, think about the fact that the universe is random and sometimes good things happen and sometimes bad things happen. Some events might not seem fair, but they cannot be controlled or predicted, so you have to learn to roll with it.

Whatever your beliefs may be, you have to understand that regardless of how much you may want to control people and events in your life, it’s impossible.

Learning to let go of the things you can’t control allows you to focus on the positive things in your life. And when you are consistently focused on the positive, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the tough times as they arise.

Live In The Present

If you spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, the one thing you will certainly miss is the present.

You might have regrets about things you wish you had done differently in the past. While it’s good to learn a lesson from regrets, you also have to put those things in the past – learn from them and move on.

Or maybe you are someone who worries about the future. If so, read my article, “4 Ways To Stop Worrying And Build Positive Energy“. You will learn that worrying is really a wasteful activity. It literally accomplishes nothing, and it puts your focus in the wrong direction (negativity instead of a positive solution).

But living in the present allows you to really enjoy whatever you are doing right now, and it also helps you to do it well. When you live in the present, you are better able to see things as they are, and you’re less likely to be being influenced by fears, anger, desires or regrets.

You can practice living in the present by making an effort to tap into your feelings as they unfold. Be more mindful of the specific thing you are doing, and try to limit your tendency to multi-task. Living mindfully in the present means that you pay attention to each individual thing you are doing, rather than doing several things at once.

Enjoy the scent and taste of your cup of coffee, without also reading the paper or cooking breakfast or checking your email at the same time. Savor the five minutes it takes to fix your daughter’s hair, without also talking with someone else, thinking about your To Do list or watching TV at the same time.

Living your busy life might make it difficult to slow down and find the beauty in the now, but if you make the effort to just do one thing at a time – at least occasionally during your day – you are likely to feel a stronger sense of connectedness to the people and the world around you.

Give Yourself 5 Minutes

If you can take just five minutes at the end of the day to tune into yourself, you can set a better path for tomorrow. Do a simple self-assessment before you go to sleep, and ask yourself a few questions:

  • How am I feeling right now? What is my strongest feeling right now?
  • Is it positive or negative?
  • Is this how I want to feel at the end of the day?
  • Is this how I typically feel at the end of the day, and am I okay with that?

This is a method to give yourself feedback about you and your life. It gives you a way to check that you are going in the direction you want. Listen to your answers and think about how you might change things if your predominant feeling is a negative one.

Think about why you’re feeling the way you are, what event(s) contributed to that feeling, and what changes you might make in order to eliminate those types of events – especially if they are regular occurrences.

Your emotions are a great tool to help guide your life, so try not to bury them or ignore them. Instead, take five minutes each day to really pay attention to your feelings, and you will gain insight into what’s working in your life, what isn’t, and where you need to make changes in order to find more peace.

There are so many little things you can do to help yourself find your own meaning and purpose and move toward inner peace, and that’s what spiritual wellness is all about. Take care of yourself, take care of your soul, and remember this is the only life you get, so keep working to find out exactly why you are here!

Meditation: Is It For Me?

 

If you’ve been curious about meditation, but maybe also a bit intimidated by the New Agey vibe associated with it, this article is for you. I’ll give you a simple explanation of mediation, so you know what it is (and what it isn’t), and then I’ll explain the benefits of it, why people choose meditation, and finally how to get started if you think it might be a good tool for you.

What Is Meditation?

Mediation is a silent approach to finding peacefulness. Although it is all about you and your mind, it has nothing to do with God or praying. It is really a state of being where you, in a sense, “empty” your mind. Meditating is a way to clear your mind so that only your consciousness remains. One way to look at it is this – If you have a lamp on, but you remove all the objects in the room, the lamp still goes on giving light. Meditation does the same thing, but in your mind. You remove all the “objects” (thoughts, worries, aches and pains) from your mind, and only your consciousness remains. True meditation is that state you are in when it is just you and your consciousness without any particular thoughts.

This isn’t guided imagery where you picture yourself in a peaceful place, and it isn’t a relaxation technique where you focus on something like your breathing. You aren’t thinking about anything. You are clearing your mind of everything to find a place of peace.

Don’t be scared off by the idea of reaching your “consciousness”. It means nothing more than just clearing your mind completely.

Why Do People Meditate?

People meditate for a lot of different reasons. Usually, individuals are drawn to meditation when their lives are getting a little too hectic, and they are yearning for some balance or peace of mind. If you ever feel like your life is a bit out of control, or you are just running from one thing to the next all day, meditation can really help you calm the chaos in your mind.

Other people arrive at meditation not to counterbalance chaos, but more for treatment of generalized problems. For instance, people who struggle with anxiety (even mild anxiety) find meditation to be helpful. Also, people who are feeling stressed – even if they can’t necessarily identify all their stressors – find that meditation helps them lower their stress level. Think of it as a medicine without having to clearly diagnose your ailment. It helps your overall mental health, even when you haven’t thought about what led you to struggle in the first place.

If you’re always on the go and sometimes feel like you need a moment to catch your breath for your own sanity, meditation can be a great tool.

What Will Meditating Do For Me?

Besides the sense of calmness or inner peace that meditation can bring you, there are also numerous studies showing the physiological benefits. People who meditate have been found to have stronger immune systems to fight diseases (not just viruses but systemic ailments like cancer too), lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and healthier hearts.

Another interesting benefit to meditating is the changes in your mental health. People who meditate report feeling like their minds are sharper. They are better able to focus on both physical tasks and problem-solving, and they actually find they are able to resolve concerns and stressors easier. This makes sense, since when you meditate, you clear your mind for a time period. In a way, it’s like clearing any clutter from your mind that is impacting your thoughts and other mental tasks.

How Do I Start?

Even if you aren’t sure whether meditating is for you, it is certainly worth a try. Give it a week and see how you feel. If you don’t want to commit a lot of time to something you aren’t sure about, that’s okay – you can give it just 5 minutes per day.

If you think it might feel a bit awkward to just sit in a room and try to focus on nothing, start at an easier step. Just do this:

  • Go in a quiet room that you can darken, and where you won’t be disturbed.
  • If you’d like, turn on some quiet, soothing music.
  • Find a comfortable sitting position – it doesn’t have to be the traditional meditation pose on the floor with legs crossed. Just be comfortable.
  • Now just breathe. I know we talked earlier about this not being a breathing exercise, but if you’re new to meditation, it’s a good place to start. Just breathe in and out quietly for five minutes (or longer). If you find yourself thinking about things you need to do, shift your focus to something quieting – like a cloud or a tree or a field. If you find yourself listening to what someone is saying in another room, try to tune it out. That’s all you’re trying to do here – tune out all the things that normally crowd your mind, and just be still with a quiet mind.

Once you get comfortable with breathing and clearing your mind – you are meditating! There are actually two kinds of meditation – mindful meditation and mantra meditation.

Mantra is the type you’ve heard of where people repeat a single word in their head (such as “om”) while they meditate. This helps to give you something quiet to focus on, while still allowing you to completely clear your mind.

Mindful Meditation is mediation where you focus on one of your senses or your breathing or even the thoughts going through your head, and but you do so without judging yourself – instead just letting thoughts and feelings flow freely in and out of your mind. You can decide whichever one works better for you.

  • Don’t forget to repeat. New habits are hard to instill, and even more so when you aren’t sure about something new you are trying. But you probably won’t feel the benefits of meditation from just one session. Try to do it every day for a week, and then see how you feel. If you think you might be starting to feel a bit of a sense of calmness, promise yourself another week to keep working on it. If you can, increase the amount of time you spend meditating – as much as 20 minutes each day if possible.

Of all the many benefits to meditating, the favorite one I’ve read about is that it extends your life! Something so simple and calming can have so many positive effects on both your physical and mental well-being AND extend your life! Why not give it a try?

If you have tried meditating before, let me know how it worked for you. And, if you try it now, be sure to report back with your results. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

4 Ways To Stop Worrying and Start Building Positive Energy

 

Do you sometimes spend too much time worrying? For some people, it might be an ingrained habit, but it’s not a very productive one. All of us worry from time to time, and that’s okay. If you sometimes get in a worrying rut, though, or if you tend to be a worrier, it might be time to make some changes.

When you stop worrying and instead focus on the positive in your life, it makes you more encouraged and motivated. And when you do something that makes you feel more positive, you automatically will start looking for ways to get more of the same. Shifting your mindset and creating a life where your tendency is to be positive instead of a worrier (negative) will help you to go through life in a much happier state.

There are four important reasons to end the habit of worrying:

Worry doesn’t help anything. When you worry about a problem or something that might or might not happen, you aren’t actively solving the problem. Worrying literally does nothing. It’s unproductive, and it wastes your time and your energy.

Worrying literally makes you ill. It sounds silly, but it’s true. Worrying causes anxiety, which can get pretty out of control for some people. Anxiety is not good for your mental health, and it negatively impacts your state of mind.

Worrying puts the focus in the wrong direction. When you worry about something, you are not focusing on a solution. Instead you are getting yourself worked up, making yourself unhappy, and expending energy on something terribly unproductive.

Worrying doesn’t prepare you. Some people think that if they think about (and focus on) a worst case scenario, then at least they will be prepared for it. In fact, the opposite is true. Worrying makes you expect the worst. Focusing on the bad things that can happen often result in those things happening. Instead of preparing yourself for something in case it happens, prepare yourself for the good thing that can happen if things go well – they probably will!

If you are a worrier, here are four things you can do to try to break the habit:

Think about the solution. When you are worrying about something, try to shift your focus to the solution of the problem instead. If you are going to expend energy on the problem, make it productive!

If you’re worried about a tornado coming through your neighborhood, change your focus to thinking about how you might create a safe space for your family in case you need shelter. If you are worried about your kids not getting into a good college, think about ways you might help them with their schoolwork or with college applications. If you’re worried about how you might care for your aging parents, think about how other people you know have managed the same challenges.

Shifting your focus to the problem’s solution helps you to keep your mind on things that are positive and productive. Even if you don’t actually take any steps toward the solution, just thinking about it and knowing how you can handle it (because you can!) helps you to feel more empowered and less helpless.

Take an action step. If you have a hard time shifting your mental focus from the worry to the possible solution, go a step further and take an action step. Buy a weather radio and learn how to prepare for a weather emergency. Review your kids’ grades to reassure  yourself they’re doing just fine. Research assisted living places and find out which places would suit your parents’ interests and their budget. You get the idea!

And if you are worrying about something that doesn’t seem to have a viable action step at this time, try to give yourself a break. Rest in the knowledge that you are a very capable person, and you will take an action step when you can.

Break down the irrational fear. Worrying has its roots in fear and the unknown. Try to think rationally, rather than letting your mind run with what could happen. Realize that your fear of what could happen (when there’s no real evidence that it will) is grounded in fear and not in reality.

Take the example with your kids and college. What is your real fear when you worry about them getting into a good school? Really, your irrational fear is that they won’t get into a good school, won’t have a good career, and then will end up unhappy and broke. This isn’t rational thought. You know they’re doing okay now, and you know you will help them with whatever bumps come up along the way, so you know they’ll be fine. Take your big, irrational fear and break it down to see whether it is even logical that the fear will be realized. Once you have it broken down into the steps that would lead you to that irrational conclusion, you can see where the small steps can be taken that will lead you away from it. Just like that, your path will become clearer.

Exercise. You’ve heard it a million times, and it really is the answer to whatever ails you. Exercise doesn’t just help you to clear your mind, but it also helps your body produce endorphins, those feel-good hormones that can boost your mood. Go for a walk if the fresh air and new scenery will help. If you think you will just think about your worry more on your walk, try an exercise that’s more demanding, like strength training or working out on an elliptical machine.

And if you’re so wrapped up in your worry that you can’t even think about exercising right now, try any other activity. Sometimes the best way to combat negative thoughts in your head is to simply immerse yourself in something completely different. Bake some cookies, play hide-n-seek with your kids, or do some other physical activity that gets you moving and your mind occupied.

Worrying is a habit that can get worse over time. Don’t give in to the temptation to do something that is so unproductive. It’s never too late to change a habit (and learn to make it a permanent change). You can’t control the future, and worrying about it won’t help. Let go of your worries today, and start building a more positive life for yourself!

What are your worries, and how can you look at them differently now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Related Articles:
Building Self-Esteem: What Are You Saying To Yourself?
Defining Personal Values To Get In Touch With The Real You

Gardening is Green! How To Know What To Grow

 

Spring is here! Actually, here in Kansas City it feels like we skipped straight to summer. But that just means it’s the perfect time to start planning a garden.

In our continuing quest to make our lives more balanced, it’s important to think of the environment and make sure we are reducing our impact on key  resources (using them conservatively) and also making positive choices that contribute to everyone’s quality of life – people, animals and plants included.

Growing your own vegetables and herbs – if you do it in an environmentally sound way – is a great place to start, since it’s beneficial to the planet and to you. Plants help prevent global warming by using carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas that traps heat) to make energy for themselves. Not only do plants use carbon dioxide, but they put out oxygen, which is what people and animals need. So more healthy oxygen and less carbon dioxide is good for us and the planet.

Another consideration is the small impact you can make as part of the bigger whole. More people planting food in their own gardens means fewer trucks on the road transporting fruits and vegetables, less pesticides being used, and overall energy and fuel conservation. Everybody who plants a garden makes a difference, just as everyone who recycles or uses energy efficient bulbs or carries home groceries in reusable bags makes a difference.

If you haven’t planted a garden before (as with anything new), you can start small.  There are just a few things to consider when deciding what to grow, and then you’ll be on your way to fresher, healthier, greener food.

Location - For the most part, in many areas of the US, you can plant just about any vegetables or herbs. You’ll have more success with certain fruits in southern states where it stays warmer longer. Weather.com has a terrific tool that will show you all the best flowers, trees, vegetables, fruits, and herbs based on your zip code. It’s a great place to start!

Space - There is no space too small or too large to grow a garden. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can grow plants! Here are some ideas that will work in different size spaces:

Large outdoor garden - There are some vegetable plants that really spread when they grow, and they’re fun to watch because they grow so fast. If you’ve got the space, consider cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes.

Small outdoor garden - If you don’t have a lot of space, consider vegetable plants that won’t spread out too much or vegetables that grow in the ground. Some ideas would be carrots, cherry tomatoes, beets, or scallions. There’s a great book called, Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles: Quick Crops for Small Spaces that has a lot of suggestions on what to grow in small spaces, and also includes details about caring for your garden, which might be a bit different, depending on how small your space is.

Along a fence - This is a great area for bushes with berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Others that are less common are gooseberries, rhubarb, and (my favorite!) red currants. Depending on the type of fence you have, it can even serve as support for the growing bushes.

Front yard - Yes, you can have garden space in your front yard and still maintain your home’s curb appeal! Sunflowers work great in the front, and you can also landscape with strawberries or herbs.

Indoor planting - Even if you don’t have a yard for a garden, you can still grow a variety of edibles, especially if you have a balcony. Start with herbs on a windowsill. If you want your plants to double as decor, try combining them in bigger pots. There’s a great book, Grow Your Own Herbs in Pots that has all sorts of suggestions on which herbs go well together based on height, color, leaf shape, and even fragrance. You can also grow vegetables in containers such as five gallon pails, planters, or even plastic bags, as this lady suggests for potatoes.

Healthy variety - There’s a new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicating strong evidence that a variety of berries can protect the aging brain from memory loss and other degenerative changes. Leafy green vegetables like leaf lettuce and spinach are rich in vitamins and minerals and can decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease. Carrots also help you fight disease and of course help improve your vision. Even sunflower seeds are packed with vitamins, especially Vitamin E.

Depending on what your health priorities are, you can plan your garden accordingly. The agriculture department of North Dakota State University put together this easy list of foods and their benefits that makes it easy to pick and choose. Or check out this fun chart if you are hoping to help a certain ailment (but see your doctor if it’s warranted).

Truly going green - Keeping in mind our goal of benefiting the planet, I have to tell you – it’s time to give up all your pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals. I know, they’re easy and cheap and they get the job done, right? But they’re also defeating your purpose.

By adding chemicals to your garden, you are potentially serving cancer-causing agents to your family. They also pollute the soil and water, and in general are harmful to the environment.

I’ll cover the hows and whys of natural gardening in a future post. For now, though, you might be interested in a helpful guide called The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way. It has tons of tips  and information about how to naturally avoid pests and diseases, how to maintain your healthy garden all season, and even new ideas on what to do if you still encounter problems. It’s a much healthier approach, with less impact on the environment.

Are you ready to start gardening? What are you thinking about growing this year? I’m definitely thinking about corn, but still deciding on other veggies. Maybe green beans? Let me know your gardening thoughts. I’ll see you in the comments, and you can also like One Move Forward on facebook!

 

 

 

Defining Personal Values To Get In Touch With The Real You

 

When you think about your own health, probably the first things that jump to mind are your diet and how much you exercise, right? Interestingly, even scientists will tell you that spiritual health is also an important component in your overall well-being.

But how do you get in touch with your spiritual self? And what does that even mean? Is being a member of organized religion enough, or is there more to it? My reading and understanding tells me there are many components to your spiritual health. Yes, organized religion (or any belief in a higher being) might be a part of that for you. But I think there are other parts to your spirituality as well, including making an ongoing effort to find your meaning and purpose, defining your values and living your life by them, figuring out what feeds your soul and acting on that, and also engaging in practices that reach into your spiritual realm (not strictly physical or mental) such as prayer, meditation, and yoga – just to name a few.

Today I want to focus on defining your personal values and then behaving in ways that are reflective of those values. The reason it’s important to clearly identify your values is because it helps you further define and understand yourself. In yesterday’s post about self-esteem, I talked about the importance of gaining confidence in yourself, thus being able to better make decisions that are true to the real you. And you want to clearly identify your values for the same reason – the more in touch you are with the true you, the closer you move to peace.

In an effort to continually define the true you, think about your values. Make a list of them (choose around 10), and then try to rank them in terms of your biggest priorities. Below is a list of some values, but it’s not exhaustive, so be sure to include your own in your list:

Abundance
Accomplishment
Accountability
Acknowledgement
Activeness
Adaptability
Adoration
Adventure
Affection
Affluence
Altruism
Appreciation
Approachability
Approval
Art
Assertiveness
Attentiveness
Attractiveness
Being the best
Belonging
Benevolence
Bliss
Boldness
Bravery
Calmness
Camaraderie
Candor
Certainty
Challenge
Charity
Chastity
Cheerfulness
Cleanliness
Closeness
Commitment
Community
Composure
Confidence
Conformity
Conservation
Courage
Courtesy
Credibility
Decisiveness
Dependability
Devoutness
Diligence
Discipline
Education
Ethics
Exploration
Fairness
Family
Financial independence
Fitness
Frankness
Freedom
Friendliness
Friendship
Generosity
Gratitude
Growth
Harmony
Health
Honesty
Humility
Humor
Independence
Integrity
Intimacy
Joy
Kindness
Love
Nature
Open-mindedness
Optimism
Patience
Passion
Peace
Popularity
Power
Responsibility
Selflessness
Sensitivity
Silence
Silliness
Simplicity
Sincerity
Spirituality
Spontaneity
Stability
Thankfulness
Tidiness
Trust
Trustworthiness
Vitality
Volunteering
Wisdom
Zeal

And just like that, you’ve already done most of the hard work! You’ve created your own bible to live by. When you know your most important priorities, you use them to make informed decisions in your life, both big and small. If, for instance, one of your top priorities is nurturing your child, and he is asking you to stop watching TV and instead play trucks with him, your decision is easy. The action itself (turning off the TV and missing the end of your show) might not be easy, but the decision to do so is. And if your high priority value really is time spent with your kids, when you make the decision to do so, ultimately that will be the most gratifying decision because that is what feeds the real you.

The biggest benefit in knowing and understanding your values is that it will lead you to clarity and focus. When you use your new prioritized values list when making decisions, it will inspire you to do the things that really matter to you. In other words, the whole point of discovering your values is to improve the results you get in those areas that are truly most important to you.

Make sense? I hope so. It really all is a process. I would recommend that you try the entire exercise a few times and see how you feel in the end. Make your list of 10 values and prioritize them. Review your list a few times and really think about whether that is what you want or if that is what you think you should want. Revise your list if needed. Once you are sure you have a list of prioritized values that reflect the true you, commit them to memory if you can.

Then start using your values to make informed decisions – how you treat others, how you spend your time, your attitude, how you handle adversity, where you spend your money – everything! And, over a period of time, see how you end up feeling. If your values list is reflective of the real you, and if you’re making decisions and acting in ways that reflect those values, I’d bet your core self will start to move toward inner peace – and a little more spiritual wellness.

I’d love to know how this works for you! Let me know in the comments, or you can also reach me on Twitter at @onemoveforward. I look forward to hearing from you!

Wellness and Life Balance – What is it, and where do I get it? Part II

In yesterday’s post, we talked about the first three dimensions of wellness – social, physical, and emotional. Today I’ll explain the last four, which are career, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual.

Career wellness (or occupational wellness) is about finding work that is fulfilling to you, while also maintaining balance between work and the other parts of your life. When you want to make an impact in your career, you make an impact in the organization where you work, and then in turn you make an impact on society.  The impact can be positive or negative, and the best way to make a positive impact is to find work that you find fulfilling. In future posts, we’ll discuss how to find a career in which you gain satisfaction, unique ways to make a positive impact in your place of employment (and the effects that can have), and new ideas on balancing a demanding job with the other important parts of your life.

Intellectual wellness covers a lot of ground. Part of it is being open to new ideas and experiences. When you have the desire to take on unfamiliar challenges, learn new concepts, and improve your skills, you can move toward intellectual wellness. Critical thinking is also a component of intellectual wellness – when you examine your own thinking and judgments (and those of others), you build your ability to see things differently. We’ll talk more about how to keep an open mind, how to challenge yourself when you feel stuck in an old rut, and how to build on past experiences to learn in new ways.

Environmental wellness is the process of making positive choices relating to your impact on resources such as air, land, water, and energy. Positive environmental choices will contribute to sustaining or improving quality of life for people, animals, and plants. I look forward to talking about how to limit toxins, chemicals, and pollution. We’ll also talk about food safety, how to make a positive environmental impact, and anti-consumption movements.

Spiritual wellness is not about religion or how to live your life according to your religion. Regardless of whether you believe in a specific organized religion, you can move toward spiritual wellness by working on discovering your meaning and purpose in life, identifying values that are important to you, and then behaving in ways that are reflective of those values. These skills will help you develop peace and harmony in your life. We’ll talk more about calling on your personal belief system to help cope with both daily hassles and life crises, how to use your values and beliefs to elicit a relaxation response, and how to let go of worries, pain and stress to focus instead on hopefulness and satisfaction.

That’s it – you now know the seven dimensions of wellness. As you work on balancing all seven, think about what you are working toward. The highest and most important goal of your wellness journey is to attain peace – inner peace. And, in the words of The Dalai Lama,

“Without inner peace, it is impossible to have world peace.”

Let me know your thoughts about career, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual wellness in the comments! What areas do you want to work on?