“Health and Wellness” can be one of the most commonly misunderstood phrases, with many people attributing it to a wishy-washy form of self-help. Health and wellness however is a term applied to a well-researched, structured approach to wellbeing that underpins a huge variety of treatment services and programs, such as those offered at The Banyans Health and Wellness.
June 9 is Global Wellness Day, a day aimed at helping individuals focus their attention on the various aspects of their wellbeing. The National Wellness Institute cites six main dimensions of wellbeing that contribute to an overall state of happiness, self-responsibility and balance: health and wellness. In celebration of Global Wellness Day, The Banyans has put together six ways you can focus on your health and wellbeing based on the Dimensions of Wellness, and gives you some ideas on how to get a kick start if you’re in a bit of a rut.
Physical wellness is one of the most commonly associated dimensions of health. This dimension incorporates diet, exercise and medical support, and encourages you to look after your body in a way that encourages positive health.
Physical wellness incorporates exercise, a healthy diet and good sleep. These three things together enhance the production of GABA – the chemical that counters your body’s stress hormones. Thus, focusing on your physical wellness can not only improve your physical fitness but can often lead you to more positive psychological benefits such as confidence and enthusiasm.
Wellness Check: When was the last time you paid attention to your physical wellness in terms of intentional exercise, diet and nutrition, or medical needs?
Wellness Tip: Doing something small and consistent is the best way to begin improving your physical wellness. Begin with 10 minute walk, and then rest the next day, before building up to a 20 minute walk, and so on.
Similarly, improving your diet and nutrition may begin with small changes to your sugar intake or increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet before you take on more intense changes.
Initially, it is easy to think that occupational wellness refers to healthy workplace behaviors. Although that is encapsulated in this dimension of wellness, occupational wellness refers more to your feeling of purpose, reward and professional development in your job or career.
CEO of The Banyans, Ruth Limkin, explains that occupational wellness is particularly important considering most people spend approximately one third of their day at work. “If you are working in a profession or role that does not align with your values, talents or relevant skills, you will likely feel discontent and unfulfilled.”
In addition, the National Wellness Institute advocates structured professional development as a crucial tenet of occupational wellness, and being actively involved in workplace culture is extremely beneficial to our sense of worth and value to a business.
Wellness Check: How do you feel about your job or career and it’s day-to-day responsibilities? Is your job enriching your life and encouraging a sense of worth, enjoyment and purpose?
Wellness Tip: Overwork can sometimes be a large contributing factor to low occupational wellness. Attempting to have very specific “off times” and engaging in mini-breaks or weekend holidays can be extremely beneficial in keeping your work from becoming a chore.
Emotional wellness is the most obvious indicators of one’s overall health and wellness, as it is the aspect that people pay the most attention to on a regular basis. This dimension of wellness refers to an awareness and acceptance of one’s emotional state, and includes the capacity to properly control and regulate feelings. As such, this dimension also encapsulates the ability to maintain robust relationships and deal with conflict in a healthy way.
Wellness Check: Are there any circumstances in your life that may be an indicator of poor emotional wellness on your behalf? These may be include relational conflict, temper, or ongoing dissatisfaction with yourself or others.
Wellness Tip: Senior psychologist at The Banyans, Peter Hayton, recommends “meditation and mindfulness [as] excellent ways to help you calm your mind and focus on your internal emotional state.” He says that “guided meditation apps like Headspace or The Smiling Mind can help you if you are just starting out or struggle to concentrate on your thoughts.”
Closely linked to emotional wellness is social wellness. This aspect of wellness is demonstrated in animal herds across almost every species – not many organisms are designed to live in isolation. The social dimension of wellness reflects the benefits of social connection, support, and communication with others. The environment also plays a strong role in social wellness, and the National Wellness Institute highlights the importance of interdependence with the environment and others on our overall wellbeing.
Wellness Check: The key indicator of good social wellness is both a healthy social network and harmony with others. When was the last time you consciously invested in a social connection with others?
Wellness Tip: Building social wellness is extremely important, but can take more effort than other dimensions due to the necessary patience, understanding and empathy required when in relationship with others. One way to improve your social wellness is to be active in your empathy and understanding, and asking others if there is any way you can help them.
Problem solving, creativity and learning are all aspects of the intellectual dimension of wellness. Peter Hayton, senior psychologist at The Banyans, comments that “we all have an innate desire to learn, and this so often seen in the inquisitive nature of children. However, this desire does not die off as we age, but simply gets neglected.”
Intellectual wellness is when you allow yourself the freedom to engage in creative thoughts, either through artistic expression, problem solving or critical thinking. “Some people may engage this aspect of wellness in their work, however for most people this often takes place in some form of recreation such as reading, journaling, cooking, things like that.”
Wellness Check: What things do you enjoy doing that engage your ability to think creatively or problem solve? When was the last time you did this for recreation?
Wellness Tip: Taking half an hour each day to let your mind wander or learn can be a very easy way to de-stress and maintain intellectual wellness. This could look like reading a book during your lunch break or before bed, or trying new recipes that you don’t usually cook.
Although this dimension of wellness can incorporate a religious aspect, it more broadly relates to one’s search for meaning and purpose in human existence. A person feels fulfilled in their spiritual wellness when their values and beliefs (also known as worldview) align with their day-to-day actions and behaviors.
Spiritual wellness is the one that suffers the most when a person experiences feelings of doubt, hopelessness, and despair, therefore it is important that you can stay grounded and maintain purpose in your every day life
Wellness Check: Do the activities that fill your days reflect your values and beliefs about the purpose of life? If not, what do you need to change to make it so?
Wellness Tip: Starting your day by counting three things you are grateful for is an excellent mindfulness practice that can help align your values. Searching for the positive, meaningful aspects of your life at the beginning of every day can help you maintain an optimistic outlook on life.
These dimensions of wellness are broad and provide a framework for improving your overall health and wellbeing. However, they are a scaffold, and how you choose to fill each dimension is entirely unique and will vary for each individual. The Banyans Health and Wellness creates tailored programs that allow for flexibility of each person’s individual needs and preferences, while restoring all dimensions of wellness suggested by the National Wellness Institute.
If you or someone you love could benefit from one of our comprehensive, individualized programs, do not hesitate to call us on +61 1300 BANYAN (1300 226 926) submit and online enquiry here.