I have been preaching, living, selling – even coaching – Wellness for a few years now and deeply passionate about healthy lifestyle choices. But the concept of Wellness has become rapidly diluted to the point where walking to your mailbox or eating a low-fat muffin now qualifies as a robust Wellness program. While Wellness is the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, by deliberate effort, it now typically has devolved to any random fitness idea thanks to our increasingly lazy society and brilliant marketing geniuses slapping the Wellness label on anything and everything.
Wellbeing encompasses Wellness but is a far broader and more holistic approach. It refers to a more whole of life experience, a satisfactory condition of existence characterized by health, happiness and prosperity. A far loftier goal that spreads its web over all key aspects of your life. It is not just about being physically healthy, or wealthy, or successful, or even happy. In fact, focusing on just one of these elements in isolation (fitness, money, career, power) may be detrimental to the overall balance. That is because they all are, or should be, interconnected with each other harmoniously as it is this synergy that creates overall Wellbeing.
The following four components embody the pillars of Wellbeing:
JOB: By job, I mean whatever endeavor is the primary focus of your daily life during the week. This can be your career, but certainly pertains to a stay-at-home Mom, caretaker, part-time job or even volunteer work. Essentially, it is where ever you spend the majority of your time, effort and energy on a daily basis. The key question to ask pertains to fulfillment i.e., does it offer purpose and meaning?
SOCIAL: Is there love and connection with friends and family, people you deeply care for and know you can count on to be there for you in your inner circle? And have you cast a broader net to acquaintances in your daily routine that bring joy and connection too (neighbors, at work, the gym, book club, supermarket, pet store, coffeehouse, etc)? A vibrant social network is critical to being well and a great goal is to have a good friend both one generation above and below your status.
PHYSICAL: This is essentially the Wellness component and covers the obvious areas of exercise, diet/nutrition, and overall fitness health. But we should dig deeper and assess stress factors, sleeping patterns and self-compassion to insure we get quality “me” time and truly taking care of ourselves and personal needs.
COMMUNITY: Do you feel connected to the neighborhood, town or city where you live? Do you identify and feel a part of your community, perhaps volunteer or contribute in some way to improving it? It is vitally important to feel we are a member within the fabric of our community and have a sense of belonging.
There is a fifth subcomponent of Wellbeing to be cognizant of and that is MONEY. Assuming you have all your basic needs adequately taken care (roof over your head, food on the table), I’m referring specifically to your attitude towards money. Do you obsess about your financial security for your future, even if in reality you have enough? Are you a stingy miser to the point where it causes grief and hardship to others and/or even yourself unnecessarily? If you in a committed relationship, is money a point of contention causing friction and potentially straining your partnership? This isn’t about prudence or pragmatism, but more about your relationship with money and your comfort level with current financial status.
If you find yourself not firing on all five of these cylinders perfectly, allow me to admit I am nowhere near achieving optimal Wellbeing status myself. In fact, only 7% of a recent survey is indeed living a comprehensive life of Wellbeing. So, for now, consider it a goal to aspire to as my hope is this will give you a new perspective on how to view your life. We all know overachievers incredibly talented in one component (workaholics, fitness fanatics, super rich, powerful) but failing miserably in other areas. There are many pieces of the pie we need to attend to collectively. Striving towards this balance will result in a healthier, happier, better state of Wellbeing.