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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?

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!