We all want to be happier, healthier, fitter, richer, and more successful. As humans, we fundamentally have this right. Although we have this right, I question if many of us are truly well. Wellness is having happiness, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, success, loving and supportive relationships, and ultimately satisfaction in life. Millions of Americans are constantly pursuing this yet so many struggle to find it.
All seek wellness but many struggle to achieve it. There are many reasons people struggle to find life satisfaction. A major reason people struggle to obtain wellness is because limit their focus on improving only one area of life. Wellness includes many different facets of being human. Wellness is what makes a person whole and wellness involves all human thoughts, actions, beliefs, experiences, hopes, and expectations. Rather than working to improve the whole person many people become fixated on fixing one area of life. The expectation is that improving in one area of life will bring ultimate wellness. A common belief is that to become more fit and lose weight means more success in relationships, health, emotions, thinking, and behavior. It is true that making positive changes will increase confidence, health, thinking, behavior, and interactions with others. However people are more than physically fit creatures. Achieving physical fitness will not improve relationships, job happiness, emotional health, or spiritual health unless individuals work on these areas daily as well. The “psyche” (who you are) strives for balance in all areas of life. When one area starts to decline, other areas will all decline. Whereas when areas of a person start to improve, other areas also need to improve to achieve wellness.
Lisa Rankin, MD describes the concept of wellness and explains that in order to find wellness a person needs to achieve satisfaction and happiness in different areas of life. Lisa describes the areas of wellness as, physical health, mental health, finances, environment, creativity, sexuality, spirituality, work and purpose in life, and loving and supportive relationships. (You can read more about Dr. Rankin and her wellness model by clicking the link associated with her name above).
Finding happiness in these areas brings happiness with self and with life. Part of achieving wellness is honoring your own beliefs, morals, values, expectations, hopes, and dreams. The heart of wellness is connecting to “who you really are”. I know this is a concept that millions struggle with. Age does not mean a person has achieved wellness and many will waste a lifetime questioning who they are and their purpose in life. However working to find balance in all areas of life can help people figure this out. A person can achieve wellness in life by daily practicing behavior that will strengthen and improve these areas.
1. Seek pleasure! Find something that makes you happy and do it every day. If you enjoy chocolate have one piece of dark chocolate a day. You do not have to limit yourself or deny yourself things that you like or enjoy. That is the opposite of wellness. Do not over indulge either. You are allowed to enjoy while you work to achieve wellness.
2. Volunteer and help others. We live on a planet with billions of others and all of us are connected. We can make the world a better place when we decide to help others.
3. Remember and recall your blessings daily!
4. Hug the ones you love as much as you can. A hug makes them feel better and will make you feel better as well.
5. Be physically active every day. Take a walk. Walk the dog. Play tennis or basketball with your kids.
6. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Try to eat a cup of fruit or vegetables at every meal.
7. Do not be afraid to seek medical care.
8. Journal for 20-30 minutes a day. Find a pen, paper, and a quiet spot and simply write your thoughts and feelings in that moment. Journal pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Journaling these things can help you release emotions, connect your mind to your body, and help control thinking and feelings.
9. Do not hold onto emotions. Many people are fearful of expressing feelings like sadness and anger for fear of consequences. Feelings are never a bad thing, rather the reaction to the emotion may hold devastating consequences. Find ways to express emotions in healthy and socially acceptable ways.
10. Engage in positive thinking daily. Negative thinking causes negative emotions. Simply switching thinking will improve your mood. Read affirmations, count your blessings, think of happier times, and engage in behaviors that make you smile. These things will improve your thinking and your mood.
11. Make a monthly budget. Determine when bills are due and establish a budget based on spending patterns last month. Keep this budget with you when you go shopping or leave the house. Spend only money allowed according to the budget that has been established.
12. Be in control of your money. Tell your money where to go. Your money does not control you. You are the boss of your money and you can use your new budget to determine how and when money is spent.
13. Limit spending. We live in a society where we believe we need certain items to make us happy, successful, and satisfied. Sadly these things do not love us back and continue to leave us lacking. There are few things that we as humans really need (food, shelter, water, and connection with others). All other things can wait until you have saved enough to purchase it.
14. Where you live, work, and play determines how you feel. Make your home comfortable. Clean out and organized drawers and throw away any unnecessary items.
15. Rearrange items or furniture to give your office or home a new fresh look.
16. Take a walk in a park or sit outside in a place full of nature. Spend time enjoying the ambiance of the outdoors and the creatures that live there.
17. You do not have to be an artist to be creative. Try reading a book or listening to music. Let this inspire your mind.
18. Journaling can also spark ideas and solutions.
19. Take a class to learn more about a creative outlet. Try a cooking class, a pottery class, painting lessons, or a dance class.
20. Be proud of who you are! You are you. You are unique. This is what makes you and the world special.
21. Find confidence in your body by highlighting areas of your body that make you proud.
22. Respect your body. It is your body and it is only one you will have. Express yourself and avoid limits but practice self-control and know your boundaries.
23. Meditate/pray daily.
24. Connect with your Higher Power. You do not need to be a Christian to have spiritual practices and beliefs. Know there is a source greater than you that is in control. Letting go of control to a Higher Power gives freedom.
25. Let go and forgive others.
26. What did you want to be when you grew up? Ask yourself this question to help discover your passion and purpose in life.
27. Make an effort daily to work toward or learn what you need to do what you want to do. Make a To-Do list of things needed to prepare you or start living your dreams.
28. Find what you love and discover your passion by talking and serving others. Volunteering not only serves others but will serve you to discover your purpose in life.
29. Make time weekly to spend undistracted time with loved ones. Turn off cell phones, TV, cancel all other responsibilities, and make a day where you can focus on the ones you love.
30. Listen to your loved ones. Hear what they are telling you and acknowledge how they feel. This does not mean you have to agree, it only means you hear what they are telling you.
31. Do not assume your loved ones can read your mind. They cannot! It is up to you to tell them what you need and what you expect from them.
This list is not exhaustive. There are hundreds of ways to find wellness. Wellness is unique to each person. The key is to seek fulfillment in all areas of life. It is great to focus on your physical fitness, but are you neglecting those you love as a result? It is great to have lots of friends, be kind to others, and serve others but you may neglect your self by not maintaining boundaries or allowing yourself to do things you truly enjoy. Wellness is worth pursuing. You deserve health and happiness in all areas of your life.