When people used to ask me what sort of blog I run or what I blog about, I used to say; “health, food & fitness”. Here is why I have made the shift to “wellness”.
When you hear the term wellness, most of us including myself tend to think of a group of hippies doing yoga in a field of barley, talking about some absolute rubbish, like; spirituality, karma and your body’s inner energy. Or crystals, that’s a good one. All this connecting to earth crap. But wellness is far from that. Whilst your mental or physical wellness cannot strictly be quantified it can be measured in some aspects. Seligmans PERMA model defines wellbeing as the combination of:
- Positive emotion (When someone asks you “how are you”, your answer depends greatly on the mood you are in. When you are feeling positive, you look back on the past with gladness, look into the future with hope & enjoy the present).
- Engagement (Are you engaged with your life and work, absorbed in the present moment & focused on something?)
- Relationships (Humans have a need for connection, friendship, love, physical and emotional contact. We enhance our own well-being by building strong networks & relationships)
- Meaning & Purpose (We are at our best when we dedicate our time to something greater than ourselves. This could be faith, the community, family, a professional or creative goal.)
- Accomplishment (We have been taught that winning isn’t everything. Yes, we should strive for success, but it’s more important to enjoy the process. However, people need to win occasionally. What use are goals & ambitions if we never reach them? To achieve wellbeing, we must look back on our lives with a sense of accomplishment).
Wellness therefore covers almost every aspect of your life. This all-encompassing approach is synonymous with the approach I take to my wellness and is the reason why I don’t simply eat well, but I also; exercise regularly, do yoga, take breaks, meditate (occasionally), indulge, engage mentally, set goals, follow my passion, challenge myself etc. You cannot simply say that because you eat well and exercise that you are healthy. It is bigger than that, it is bigger than you. It’s about your frame of mind, being comfortable with who you are and the world around you. Not connecting to it, just appreciating it and doing everything in your power to make your own life and the lives of those around you, better and more enjoyable.
In a study conducted by Ketchum Global Research & Analytics, a group of 1000 participants were asked what they do when they want to improve their general wellness. 61% take vitamins or supplements to improve their wellness, 60% spend more time with friends or family, 50% spend more time doing hobbies, 22% volunteer for a charity or organisation, 14% improve their diet & 13% exercise more regularly. These stats shocked me! 61% of our population think that taking pills is the best way to improve your wellness. That is ridiculous! Just 14% & 13% (respectively) of our population would adjust their nutrition or exercise more regularly to improve their wellness.
I therefore would like to set you a challenge. Do 5 small things today to improve your wellness and make yourself a happier and healthier you. Without taking any medication.
- Do 1 thing that really makes you happy. That might be seeing a loved one or going for a walk. Mine would be, tucking into a jar of peanut butter.
- Do a task that you have been putting off for a while.
- Reconnect with an old friend or make a new one. Just initiate conversation, send them a message or go for a coffee.
- Find a passion, it doesn’t matter how small. Whatever brings you happiness and is something that you can do on a regular basis. Yoga, blogging, taking pictures, making porridge etc. Something you can do that doesn’t require anyone else, which can be done anywhere in the world and will lift your spirits.
- Set a goal. One of my many goals is to make the final England squad that will attend the European Championships in July 2016. Another goal of mine is to not miss a single lecture this academic year and stop wearing my mother’s 70’s purple velvet leggings around the house in front of my flatmates.
Whether you accept my challenge or not I wish you all the wellness in the world and remember there is more to being healthy than being healthy.