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Wellness

Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being. Wellness is practicing physical activities, using alternate medicines and keeping mind stress-free. Wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition. It is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

  • Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.
  • “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization.
  • “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” – The National Wellness Institute
  • Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
  • Wellness is a positive approach to living. It is the active process of becoming aware and making choices toward a healthier, happier and fulfilling Stanford experience. Wellness is positive and affirming, encompassing physical, mental and spiritual well-being, for self, for others and for the environment.
  • Wellness is more than being free from illness. Wellness is a dynamic process of change and growth. There are many interrelated dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, environmental, and life meaning. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health.

Too many physical health conditions can mimic psychiatric illness, and the body can be ravaged by the physical consequences of mental illness and substance abuse in particular.

When our perceived demands outweigh our perceived ability to cope, we start to show signs or symptoms of stress:

headaches – muscle tension – palpitations – panic attacks – diarrhea – low self-esteem – depression – fatigue –anger – phobias – overeating – drinking – smoking – sleeping problems – obsessive behavior

The heavier and more prolonged the load of demands and the less we can deal with them, the more serious our symptoms are likely to be. However, by improving our life skills, we can readjust the balance. This reduces signs or symptoms and results in better management of stress. Mindfulness meditation is one skill that we can take with us at every moment. It has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, heart rate, blood pressure, and pain.

Wellness can be : Emotional, Physical, Social, Environmental, Spiritual, Occupational and Intellectual wellness.

Self
Self

Image courtesy: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu

Emotional wellness relates to understanding your feelings and coping effectively with stress. It is important to pay attention to self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner resources so you can learn and grow from experiences. Being emotionally well is more than just handling stress. It also involves being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative. Emotional Wellness implies the ability to be aware of and accept our feelings, rather than deny them, have an optimistic approach to life, and enjoy life despite its occasional disappointments and frustrations.

The Path to Emotional Wellness

  • Awareness of thoughts and feelings
  • Using a positive attitude
  • Seeking support and expressing emotions in a suitable manner
  • Setting priorities
  • Accepting mistakes and learning from them

Physical wellness relates to maintaining a healthy body and seeking care when needed. Physical health is attained through exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and paying attention to the signs of illness and getting help when needed. . The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal Physical Wellness.

Physical wellness is also concerned with developing personal responsibility for your own health care, such as caring for minor illnesses and knowing when professional medical attention is needed. Developing physical wellness empowers you to be able to monitor your own vital signs and understand your body’s warning signs. You’ll understand and appreciate the relationship between sound nutrition and how your body performs. The physical benefits of looking good and feeling terrific most often lead to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination and a sense of direction.

Environmental wellness encourages you to respect the delicate balance between the environment and yourself. Respect for other living things in our environment is just as necessary as respect for the physical environment itself.

Achieving Environmental Wellness

  • Being aware of the earth’s natural resources and their respective limits
  • Living a life accountable to environmental needs, both in the present and in the long-term
  • Realizing the effects of their daily habits on the world around them

Social wellness helps you perform social roles effectively and comfortably, and create a support network. This dimension of wellness allows you to not only develop encouraging relationships with peers, life partner and family.

If you are a person engaged in the process of social wellness, you see the value in living in harmony with your fellow human beings, seeking positive, interdependent relationships with others, and developing healthy behaviors. You are also willing to actively seek out ways to preserve the beauty and balance of nature and the community.

Intellectual wellness involves having an open mind when you encounter new ideas and continuing to expand your knowledge. It encourages active participation in scholastic, cultural and community activities.

The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.

Reaching Intellectual Wellness:

Traveling a wellness path allows you to explore issues related to problem solving, creativity, and learning as well as spending more time pursuing personal interests, including reading books, magazines, and newspapers, while keeping abreast of current issues and ideas. As you develop your intellectual curiosity, you’ll actively strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavors.

Spiritual wellness allows you to develop a set of values that help you seek meaning and purpose. Spirituality can be represented in many ways, for example, through relaxation or religion. But being spiritually well means knowing which resources to use to cope with issues that come up in everyday life.

Reaching Spiritual Wellness:

It is important for everyone to explore what they believe is their own sense of meaning and purpose.

The path to spiritual wellness may involve meditation, prayer, affirmations, or specific spiritual practices that support your connection to a higher power or belief system. Yoga and meditation can also help you develop spiritual wellness.

Having compassion, the capacity for love and forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfillment help you enjoy your spiritual health. Your religious faith, values, beliefs, principles, and morals define your spirituality.

If you are a person engaged in the process of spiritual wellness, you are willing and able to transcend yourself in order to question the meaning and purpose in your life and the lives of others. In addition, you seek to find harmony between that which lies within and the social and physical forces that come from outside.

Occupational wellness is about enjoying your occupational endeavors and appreciating your contributions. This dimension of wellness encourages personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work.

The Path to Occupational Wellness:

The occupational dimension of wellness recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work. At the center of occupational wellness is the premise that occupational development is related to one’s attitude about one’s work. Traveling a path toward your occupational wellness, you’ll contribute your unique gifts, skills and talents to work that are both personally meaningful and rewarding. You’ll convey your values through your involvement in activities that are gratifying for you. The choice of profession, job satisfaction, career ambitions, and personal performance are all important components of your path’s terrain.

Yoga, Pilates and Bodyworks -why do we need these activities? 

In this wellness section of Healthy life we are presenting physical wellness in the form of Yoga, Pilates and Bodyworks.

  • India is land of Yoga and Yoga is existing from several centuries. People have been practicing Yoga for centuries. Yoga helps in relaxing body and mind
  • Pilates is a form of Yoga and focuses on strengthening of body and mind.
  • Body works are various body exercises helps in strengthening of body and helps to be fit.
  • “A person who practices Yoga and any other form of physical activities everyday is a happy person” 

So why is Physical Wellness Important?

Physical Wellness encourages us to care for our bodies through physical activity, proper nutrition, and a strong mind.

Physical Activity

Being physically active is crucial to keeping your body in its top condition. A few proven benefits of physical activity are strengthened bones and muscles, reduced risk of disease and stroke, and more energy. Learn more about physical activity.

Nutrition

It is important to nurture your body by eating a well-balanced diet. Filling yourself with a variety of nutrients and vitamins will not only help prevent illness, but will also keep your body functioning at its best. Find healthy eating resources on campus.

Mental Well-Being

Having optimal levels of physical activity and maintaining proper nutrition is key to improving your overall emotional wellness. Not only will you sharpen your thinking and learning abilities, you will also enhance your sense of self-esteem and self-control.

The Route to Physical Wellness

Understanding the relationship between your body’s physical health and mental health is crucial in order to develop a balanced physical wellness. When you take the route to physical wellness you will learn to understand how your body preforms physically and be able to connect it to how you feel mentally. Physical wellness encourages principles of good health and knowledge, which affect behavior patterns that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few suggestions for you to practice to maintain an optimal level of physical wellness.

Engage in physical activity everyday for 30 minutes. You may break up your daily 30 minutes into 10 minutes bouts.

  • Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and walk whenever possible.
  • Learn to recognize warning signs when your body begins feeling ill.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods and control your meal portions.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Relaxation Exercises: Often Yoga, Pilates are also referred as relaxation exercises. Yoga particularly focuses on breathing and chakras of the body and helps to keep mind calm and focused. Every person undergoes stress in day to day life. The relaxation response plays a role in quieting the body’s response to stress.  Unlike the flight-fight response, the relaxation response is not automatic.  You need to practice these skills on a regular basis before calling on these to help reduce stress.   Practicing Yoga helps in reducing this stress and keeps body relaxed and mind calm. How that happens? As we keep practicing over time, relaxation techniques practiced in Yoga helps to decrease in responsiveness to the arousal of the sympathetic nervous system.  Those symptoms that are associated with chronic stress are particularly affected.  These changes occur immediately after practice.  In addition, these changes occur over the long term if you use these exercises on a regular basis for at least one month, and are present even when you are not actively doing relaxation exercises.

There are two key factors to eliciting the relaxation response: 

  • Focused attention on a repetitive phrase, word, breath or action.
  • Adopting a passive attitude toward the thoughts that go through your head while practicing relaxation.

It is important to minimize distraction and to make yourself comfortable while you are practicing.  Plan to spend at least 10 minutes, twice a day to learn these techniques.  If you find it hard to focus while sitting still, try to use these techniques while walking slowly in a quiet location.

Physical activity is an important aspect of wellness that relates to overall mental and physical health.

How to be happy and healthy?

  • Stress is NORMAL but we need to maintain “manageable” levels of stress. Learn which stress reliever’s work for you & consistently do them. Be flexible, patient, & open to change or at least be willing to compromise.
  • Keep learning - don’t allow yourself to get into a rut and not try something new. “Nothing ventured, is nothing gained,” take a risk today. A positive attitude can change everything – be optimistic. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you have something to say, say it – don’t keep it bottled up inside. Go for your goals & live your dreams.
  • Surround yourself with what you love – people, hobbies, interests, etc. Keep only cheerful friends – grouches can pull you down. Cherish your health – take care of your overall wellbeing. Give someone a compliment today. Most smiles are started by another. Let those you care about know it!
  • Take a “personal timeout” when things seem to be overwhelming. Deep breathing exercises can slow your pace & help you think clearly before you react. “Don’t worry, be happy” – avoid worrying about things you can’t control, its wasted energy. Remember to not “sweat the small stuff.”
  • When you get up in the morning, think of the things that you are thankful for. Be realistic about your goals & expectations. Be true to yourself & others. Get involved, volunteer in your community. Embrace the things and people that are important to you – don’t dwell on what you don’t have. Experience what is around you & become aware of events and the people you see each day. We all have positive qualities – make your list and keep it nearby. 

Bottom line is everyone want to achieve wellness -“Wellness is the dynamic process of becoming aware of, taking responsibility for, and making choices that directly contribute to one’s well being and that of the common good. 

References:

https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/

http://yoga-all.com/Yoga-Pilates.html

http://www.the-insight.com/religion/advaita-vedanta/

http://www.theabsoluteyoga.com/

http://www.yogabasics.com/learn/energy-anatomy/

http://www.yogabasics.com/

http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/

http://vaden.stanford.edu/