When we look at wellness, often we focus solely on the powerful relationships we have with food, foregoing attention on other aspects which are just as vital to our health and happiness. Obviously, the correlation between our diets and our health is readily apparent, but what are other factors that contribute to our wellbeing?
There have been many instances where people pay tremendous amounts of attention to their food choices, and yet still feel poorly and aren’t epitomizing the image of health and happiness. On the contrary, we all know some people who pay no attention to what they eat and seem to be living abundantly with no concerns to weight or health issues.
With these two groups of people in mind, it must be true that there are other factors that contribute to wellness besides what we put into our mouths. There have been four factors that have been observed as major contributors to a sense of whole well being, and are used by many in measuring and enhancing wellness in their lives. Let’s take a brief look at each one, and pay attention to how you feel about them, as there may be an opportunity for you to grow in one of these regards.
People spend more time at work than they do anywhere else in today’s society. It would make sense that working in a career that provides you not only money, but deep, nourishing, and fulfilling challenges would be a strong factor in a life well lived. Often we find our friends and even ourselves steeped in a career that, while mundane or even counter-productive to our growth, has become so profoundly entwined into our lives it’s difficult to see past it.
If you spend your time before, during, and after work only able to see negative aspects about how your career is not progressing, or how it’s not for you, it would be very difficult to be happy and healthy. For example, if you spend eight or more hours a day in an unhappy state, it becomes very easy to use foods to regulate your mood. Chocolate, caffeine, sugar, salt, and fat become your best friends to help you stay up and happy through the day. This lifestyle is unsustainable.
Finding yourself in a career situation that is less than ideal is never positive, but examining your situation with clear eyes is. Perhaps you love your company, but would be better served in a different position, or perhaps you need a complete overhaul. Take a candid look at how your career is impacting your wellness.
Often when we speak about spirituality, people bristle due to their notions of religion and all the context that accompanies it. Spirituality is a completely separate notion that can stand on its own, or connected to religion in some way. The relationship between the two is a completely personal one.
Spirituality, in a basic sense, is how you spend some time connecting with forces larger than yourself. Many people find this in a relationship with God, their religion, or even their congregation. Other people find spirituality in spending quality time with their families, enjoying the outdoors and communing with nature, or even on a personal journey to test their bodies and minds.
Having a connection that surpasses the day-to-day utilitarian focus is a powerful way to feel whole. By dedicating time, energy, and focus to developing a deeper understanding and connection with your world or universe and yourself lends towards a healthier life. People that do allow themselves this time for reflection or study often reap immense boons, including health benefits, a stronger set of social connections, and a greater sense of serenity. So whether through religion, family, community, or self-exploration, engaging your spiritual side brings a greater level health and happiness.
Spending our time with those we care about is restorative and healthy. It’s important to build strong and healthy relationships in our lives to truly experience wellness. This area may be one of the most difficult as it is completely dependent on our interactions with other people, which are never predictable.
Since this area is so intensive, both in its cultivation and its reward, playing the long game is important. By focusing on nurturing relationships from the start, with a long and healthy companionship as your goal from the beginning it becomes easier to find new people that can help you achieve great things, as well as to avoid focusing on small differences that could stand in the way of mutually beneficial support.
While new relationships are wonderful, often it is our longstanding relationships that require the most energy. Often, when there is a long history, there are existing obstacles. By spending time and energy to understand how your relationships are affecting your life, you can take the steps necessary to create sustained happiness. Sometimes a heartfelt conversation is all that you need to connect on a new level with someone, other times it becomes apparent that to grow as a person you need to leave certain relationships in your past. These actions are not always easy, but they could stand to elevate your life to a new level of healthy and happy experience.
Movement is great! Getting to be reacquainted with your body is a wonderful process. Whether you look at physical activity as exercise, play, or lifestyle activities like gardening, they are all great additions to your full and happy life.
Today’s society is very demanding on our time and energy, placing formerly unheard of demands on our bodies. Spending 70+ hours at work, poor eating habits, long hours of sitting, and trying to compress activity into two days a week along with errands and other obligations is a tremendous load for anyone. The key is learning how to incorporate small activities that add up to larger sums.
Physical activity does not have to be a super intensive ordeal, but rather a series of small and enjoyable ones throughout your week. Whether it’s yoga, playing with the kids or dog, running, or just taking the stairs adding some more activity into your weekly life that you find rewarding is a great step towards wellness.
The important thing to remember is that while food is a marvelous part of our lives, it is not the only component to our whole lives, or health. By experiencing life fully, and with a smile on your face, you can enjoy a much healthier and whole life. Explore great resources online like The Alternative Daily, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and Iron Mountain Wellness to keep abreast of great ideas, techniques, and inspirations for your healthy life. Find your balance between food and lifestyle to discover your own wellness. Remember to be happy when you eat, take your time, share your meals with people you love, and above all else: love what you eat!
– John Garda
John Garda is a Holistic Health Coach working out of NY and Miami. He has been able to help his clients overcome their challenges, and now has a practice that focuses on helping busy individuals lower their stress, lose weight, achieve wellness, and love who they see in the mirror.
Visit John’s website at http://www.ironmountainwellness.com