Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual well being and the growth and balance in the 9 dimensions or factors that makeup our life. Wellness Of Life is a complex interaction of various beneficial behaviors and actions working in unison.
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. Here is the way the World Health Organization (WHO) describes wellness:
And……The National Wellness Institute
Life is multifaceted and complex and is affected by the various life factors or dimensions, which are aging, genetics, environmental, occupational, social, educational, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical, and each effects and overlaps the other. At times one may be more prominent than others, but neglect of any one dimension for any length of time has adverse effects on overall wellness.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) addressed the dimensions of wellness and proposed that practicing good habits result in a good life. Per the NIH, wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurtures the spirit. Quoting the study:
….a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life in a way that… allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow….
Wellness is about how we live our lives and the joy and fulfillment and health we experience. Let’s look at an example of how the various dimensions affect each other. For instance, when we worry about loss of income from our “occupation”, because of being laid off from a company downsizing, we sometimes experience “emotional” anxiety, depression, or may be alcohol dependency. This can lead to “physical” medical problems, affecting our “social” relationships at home with our spouse or with close friends. When this happens in relationships, it can affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk, or “aging”. Here is a breakdown of the described events with documented studies:
- Worrying about money causing physical issues such as alcohol abuse, and emotional issues such as anxiety, or depression. Study: 2018 University of Southampton study. The study found that symptoms of anxiety and alcohol dependence worsened over time for those who were struggling to pay the bills.
- Depression of one married partner affecting the other married partner and their marriage relationship. Study: 2014 Shannon Kolakowski study reviewed by Scientific America. According to study, a resounding body of research has shown how closely depression is related to relationships in a cyclical fashion: depression affects the quality of your relationships, and the features of your relationship can affect your level of depression.
- Trouble in a marriage relationship can affect not only physical and mental health, but also aging, by shortening lifespan. Study: The NIH study concluded that in a variety of ways, social ties may influence health habits, either positively or negatively, that in turn affect physical health and mortality.
Finding Balance. Creating balance in our lives is an important part of wellness. Overall, a balanced life can mean many things, depending on culture, circumstances, resources, and other factors. Quoting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Balance means making sure we have time to do the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled, such as working, having fun, spending time with family and friends, participating in the community, being physically active, including sexually, praying and relaxing and sleeping.
Getting through a tough time, whether it is stress, an illness, trauma, or an emotional challenge, balance is especially important. In these times, our habits and routines can help us get that feeling of control back, according to Scientific America research. The research found that regularity helps life make sense, a crucial component in finding meaning.
This means focusing on ourselves as well as the roles we play in the lives of others, like being students, friends, parents, spouses, coworkers, congregants, hobbyists, community members, and citizens, because our roles and relationships define who we are and gives us a sense of meaning and purpose and builds confidence and self-esteem, and fulfills the desire to be needed.
According to an NIH study, aging of the body is basically a maintenance problem and so it can be postponed through thorough and frequent maintenance, even though it brings on a cascade of ills and health problems leading to deterioration of physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of life. With a meaningful reason for existence, life can be extended through some common manipulations. These manipulations are calorie restriction, vitamin and antioxidant treatment, exercise and hormonal interventions, to name a few. Let’s look at these manipulations using documented research to confirm long Wellness Of Life benefits:
- Calorie Restriction. Research, like this 2018 Cell Press study, that cutting caloric intake by 15 percent for two years slowed aging and metabolism and protected against age-related disease. The study found that calorie restriction decreased systemic oxidative stress, which has been tied to age-related neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as cancer, diabetes, and others. However, starving yourself is not the best option. You can reduce calories by reducing intake of high-calorie low nutrition foods (empty calorie), or convenience foods, and substituting great delicious-tasting nutritious foods.
- Antioxidants and Vitamins.
The long-term health and wellness benefits of antioxidants from natural foods such as fruits and vegetables, are well documented, such as an NIH review. Another example is a T. H. Chan Harvard Medical School study, confirming “natural” antioxidants such as beta carotene, whole-grains, and Vitamin E, found in fruits and veggies, provides protection against many of these scourges of aging. The same health benefits holds true for vitamins and minerals found in natural nutrient-dense foods, per an NIH review. The U.S. Government 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommends that people should aim to meet their nutrient requirements through a healthy eating pattern that includes nutrient-dense forms of foods. Nutrient-dense foods are low in calories but are also high in other micronutrients as amino acids, and omega 3 fatty acids. Here are the nutrient-dense foods we recommend for a lifetime of wellness: grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds (A); and organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, naturally fermented red wine and beer, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A). And, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate. Now, we didn’t say milk chocolate.
- Exercise or Physical Activity.
By now, everyone knows the wide-ranging health and wellness benefits of physical activity. However, if you’ve been living under a rock, here are 2 examples. The NIH confirmed in this study that regular physical activity may help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and reduce your risk of certain cancers including colon and breast cancer. A Harvard Medical School study concluded regular exercise changes the brain, improving memory and thinking ability, reducing brain fog which occurs with aging.
- Balancing Hormones For Anti-Aging. Hormonal imbalance has become increasingly common with our fast-paced modern lifestyle, and unfortunately, some hormones natural decline with age. Fortunately, however, a nutrient-rich diet and other positive lifestyle behaviors will improve your hormonal health and allow you to not only feel great but perform at your best. Here are a few example. Research in numerous studies has shown eating enough lean protein decreases the levels of the hunger-hormone “ghrelin”, and stimulates the production of hormones that make you feel full, reducing calories and preventing obesity.
To optimize hormone health, professionals recommend consuming lean healthy protein at every meal. Studies have consistently shown that eating high-sugar and refined-carbs found in convenience foods is unhealthy, increases insulin levels, and promotes insulin resistance in overweight an obese people. Avoid or only eat occasionally these high-calorie, low-nutrients, convenience foods: unhealthy processed or refined foods, or precooked foods, high-sugar, processed meats, or high-sodium foods, fried foods, or microwavable foods. According to an NIH study, another beneficial behavior is to cook your own healthy organic meals with fresh ingredients, for you and your family, at least once a day, with a lean meat, poultry, or fish and several vegetables, and may be some fresh fruits as dessert, and for snacks, use raw nuts or seeds. There are not only physical benefits of eating as a family at home but it is particularly beneficial to young children in establishing healthy eating habits and behaviors. Again, numerous research has shown, elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, causes undue stress, excessive calorie intake, and obesity. Using stress relieving techniques, such as deep-breathing, meditation, or yoga, lowers cortisol level, according to these 2 NIH studies. Study ! and study 2.
In other words, it is basically changes in your lifestyle factors, using corrective behaviors and finding balance, that determine our wellness and longevity in the long run. Other examples of unhealthy behaviors are, eliminate the use of tobacco products, harmful drugs, and excessive or habitual use of alcohol.
Actually, according to medical professionals, using alcohol in moderation is fine, even encouraged, and considered beneficial for cardiovascular disease, especially natural fermented wine and beer. There are many healthy behaviors and activities that are beneficial to achieving and maintaining wellness other than the ones we’ve covered.
For complete information and documented studies on the wellness benefits of these behaviors and activities, read these subject articles: getting ample restful sleep, singing, dancing, camping and hiking, planting a garden (benefits other than fresh produce), having fun hobbies and activities, bird watching, and listening or playing an instrument. The good news, simply put, achieving a fine balance of mind-body-spirit, in all aspects of your life, is more than possible by making corrective changes and you will realized and achieve a “long” holistic way of life.
Let’s take a brief look at the nine dimensions involved in your life and their importance in developing and maintaining a holistic approach to a healthy life of wellness.
A Brief Look at the Various Dimensions Affecting Your Life
- Aging Dimension. Aging is a natural process of changes your body goes through as you grow older and is profoundly affected by all the other dimensions either in a positive way or adversely. You’ll probably want to read “How To Age Gracefully” to learn all about aging, including documented studies. These natural changes will occur, but you can slow the aging process by making positive and beneficial changes in your lifestyle, as countless research has shown. In general, and in a natural way, your muscles, blood vessels, and all tissue lose their elasticity. Your heart becomes less functional and efficient, your bones become weaker, and your metabolism slows down. However, the opposite is also true by employing healthy habits and behaviors, you can slow the aging process and add to longevity. For example, having a positive mental attitude and living a grateful life, or using your creativity or your talents, add healthy years to your life. You can also dramatically effect and excellerate the aging process by being in an unbalanced and unhealthy state in any of the dimensions, and by participating in unhealthy behaviors and activities. A poor lifestyle, or bad judgments, or poor behavioral practices, negatively influences the natural aging process, and you grow older before your time.
- Genetics Dimension.
Your heredity is determined by genetics or your genes, to an extent. It’s the old “nurture vs. nature” debate! Does genes influence someone’s wellness, or does environment or behaviors influence one’s wellness? According to research, it’s both. Nurture (genes) influences about 50 percent and nature (environment/behaviors) influences the other 50 percent or so. For a complete analysis of nurture vs. nature with documented studies, read “”Nurture or Nature” article. Your genes are the vehicle in which certain inherited traits or characteristics are transferred from one generation to the next. It was thought by experts that genetics is the one dimension you have very little control over, that is, it was the position of most experts until recently. However, modern researchers now take the position that gene structure can be affected negatively by harmful behaviors and living a poor or unhealthy lifestyle. For example, our exposure to microbes, unsuitable environments, alcohol dependence, toxins, and pollutants, are instrumental in determining how genes are effected determining whether there’s health or disease, per 2 NIH studies. ScienceDirect addresses a variety of studies on environment and it’s role in influencing and how it affect the expression of genes. But, it is also true, that living a life of wellness, has a positive affect on genes. It’s also promising for the future, with the advance in genetic science, may be one day in the not to distant future, gene structure could be medically altered to prevent the transfer of certain unwanted characteristics or traits, particularly, if it’s known that an off-spring could inherit undesirable cancer-producing genes, or some other disease. For more detailed information, including research, on heredity, read “Study About Heredity”.
- Occupational Dimension.
Occupational wellness is about enjoying your occupational endeavors and appreciating your contributions. This dimension of wellness allow you to use your gifts and talents and encourages personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work. Your occupation should be one that has meaning, significance and purpose, and allows you to make positive contributions through your work and to society. You will also gain a broader understanding of life and the world around you. According to a 2013 Pew Research survey, 43 percent of Americans give their highest priority to having a job they enjoy doing and meaningful, “as extremely important.” If you feel unfulfilled in your career or job, or you don’t feel you are making any significant contribution, make the necessary change to correct your situation. Even change your career if necessary. Don’t remain in a dead-end job or a job that you don’t enjoy because it will affect you negatively and you will feel unbalanced in your life. It is very simple, if you end up doing what you are meant to do, you immediately will deepen your sense of meaning and purpose, promoting satisfaction and enrichment of your entire life. In a Harvard Business Review study across 5 generations, researchers discovered that while the definition of meaningful work varied from group to group, 3 statements were regularly used by all groups: Meaningful work is intrinsically motivated, creates lasting relationships, and helps others. One other thing, your occupation should provide you with sufficient income to live comfortably and it should take care of you and your family’s basic living needs. For achieving and maintaining wellness throughout life through a meaningful job or career with documented studies, read “How To Find Jobs Online”, and “Dream Job Search Here!”.
- Educational Dimension.
Your good education allows you to enjoy a happier and more stable life, a position of social recognition, and a promising and secure future, according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), particularly for our youth and academic achievement and wellness. Not only does education improve your own personal life, but improves society as a whole, and helps it to function properly. Education gives you a good, solid background which enables you to form opinions, have observations and points of view, on life. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, the more education one has the healthier one is, because it’s tied closely to income and to the skills and opportunities that people have to lead healthy lives in their communities. Here is one more study “The Effects Of Education On Health”. Quoting the study:
An additional four years of education lowers five-year mortality by 1.8 percentage points; it also reduces the risk of heart disease by 2.16 percentage points, and the risk of diabetes by 1.3 percentage points.
Our advice to you is don’t ever stop learning.
- Environmental Dimension.
A good environment or ecosystem in which you live, provides natural benefits for you and all the other creatures, plants, and trees, that are essential to your good health, quality of life, and survival. All aspects of the ecosystem, including clean air, clean water, and fertile, rich soil, are in balance and live in harmony. Environmental wellness inspires us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. This realm encourages us to live in harmony with the Earth by taking action to protect it. Environmental well-being promotes interaction with nature and your personal environment. Everyone can have a strong environmental conscious simply by raising their awareness. If you don’t live in this kind of environment, change it. The WHO addressed the wellness benefits and preventing diseases through healthy environments. A Scientific America Research paper title says it all about air pollution, “Clean Air, Means Longer Life, Study Says”. For a complete understanding about environment and it’s effect on wellness with documented studies, read “Benefits To A Healthy Lifestyle”. Learn the detrimental effects to health and wellness, including research, of water pollution and air pollution in these 2 articles.
- Social Dimension.
Social wellness helps you perform social roles effectively and comfortably, and create a support network. This dimension of wellness allows you to not only develop encouraging relationships with peers, but also intimate relationships with romantic partners. The desirable social state is when your basic human needs are met, and you and everyone, can live and coexist peacefully, in a healthy manner together, with opportunities for healthy, prosperous life of complete wellness. It is living a life condition in which you and the population has equal access to clean water and air, nutritious food, sufficient shelter, and health services to ensure survival and a good healthy life, in a free society, with dignity and freedom. Numerous studies have shown healthy social engagement enhances wellness in life. One NIH study concluded that a strong correlation between social interaction and health and wellness in older adults. In a Scientific America study confirmed the importance of a cohesive society and strong social ties and life-long wellness. Make appropriate changes when necessary. Learn how social intelligence is different from regular intelligence by reading “Social Intelligence Definition” article (includes research), “Social Health Definition” article, and “Why Social Health Is Important”.
- Intellectual Dimension.
Intellect is your ability to think and understand, rationally and less emotionally, complicated ideas at a high level, and having superior reasoning ability. Have you ever wondered how intellect relates to knowledge? Knowledge is gained through education, or what you have learned through life experiences, or through developed skills. Intellectual wellness involves having an open mind when you encounter new ideas and continuing to expand your knowledge. According to the NIH, practicing “mindfulness” is a positive behavior associated with life wellness. Another NIH study confirmed the positive effect of diaphragmatic breathing, as a beneficial activity, on attention, negative affect, and stress in healthy adults. It encourages active participation in scholastic, cultural and community activities. Intelligence is your ability to apply the knowledge you have gained. Make it a practice to train yourself to rely more on your gained knowledge and intellect, while giving some weight to your emotional feelings, as well, when making an important decision. Learn about the beneficial behaviors and activities that you can participate in to bring health and wellness by reading “Get A Healthy Brain” and “Health and the Mind”.
- Emotional Dimension.
Emotions are part of human nature, and play an important role in your everyday life, influencing your thought processes, which typically manifests in you in what is commonly referred to as “gut feelings”, which is actually the physical “gut-Brain connection”. According to a University of California-Berkeley study, sheds light on why good feelings, or positive emotions, benefit our bodies as well as our minds, resulting in wellness. A T.H. Chan Harvard Medical School study agreed with the Berkeley findings of positive emotions linked to health and life wellness. It is said emotions should not play a role in making important decisions, and it should be based on your knowledge and intellect, your rational thought. However, our suggestion is to use both emotions and rational thinking, in making decisions. Here’s how you do that. Don’t overreact. Take some time to study and evaluate your choices. Make note of your emotional thought, but reserve making your decision. Do some research on the subject, ask someone you trust for their advice, and then make your decisions based on all the new knowledge you’ve gained and advice you’ve received, along with your original emotional thought process. To maintain emotional wellness it is important to pay attention to self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner resources so you can learn and grow from experiences. To learn more about emotional intelligence and it’s relationship to wellness, read this article “Importance For Emotional Intelligence In Leadership” and “Natural Remedies For Depression”.
- Spiritual Dimension.
Spiritual wellness allows you to develop a set of values that help you seek meaning and purpose. Spirituality can be represented in many ways, for example, through relaxation or religion. But being spiritually well means knowing which resources to use to cope with issues that come up in everyday life. Being spiritual means having compassion, love, forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfillment. More in depth information including research on mindfulness and spirituality in these articles “Benefits in Meditation” and “What Is Mindfulness and Meditation”. It’s your ability to experience meaning and purpose in life through your connectedness with self, the arts, nature and the universe, and a power greater than you. Being spiritual allows you to sustain good health and fight ailments and disease, by receiving social support, through prayer and mindfulness, and developing a philosophy that all things have a purpose. According to an NIH study, R/S (religious/spiritual) and poor health behaviors such as physical activity, cigarette smoking, diet, and sexual practices, followed by a review of relationships between R/S and heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, immune functions, endocrine functions, cancer, overall mortality, physical disability, pain, and somatic symptoms, and positively influencing physical wellness. In influencing mental health, R/S translates to positive outcomes including well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, and gratefulness. One final thought, being religious or professing a certain religion, doesn’t mean you have spirituality necessarily. Who you are on the inside should reflect who you are on the outside.
- Physical Dimension.
Ah yes, your physical wellness, your physical health. Physical health relates to maintaining a healthy body through physical activity. But, that’s not the whole story, according to the President’s Council On Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition, but it’s a good start. It’s true physical health is attained through exercise, but it also involves eating nutrient-dense foods, getting enough restful sleep, relaxing and giving your body a break when needed, and paying attention to the signs of illness, practicing self-care, and getting help when needed, and many other behaviors and activities of your choosing. Physical health is not just the absence of illness, ailments, and disease. Involved in the process are all the dimensions working in unison and in balance with each other through healthy behaviors and activities. With that said, you should desire and strive to make the right healthy lifestyle behavior choices to ensure good physical health, avoiding sickness, ailments, and disease, and the right behavior choices for sound mental health, and those combined, live a happy and well-balanced state of body, mind, and spirit in total wellness for life.
How Is Your Wellness Of Life? Do You Need A Change?
A life of good overall health involves a life-time commitment in maintaining balance in all life dimensions! I’m sure you’ve noticed that all the dimensions overlap in the sense that all the healthy behaviors and lifestyle activities we’ve covered, are all effective and play a crucial role in achieving balance between all the dimensions, leading to the ultimate goal of a lifetime of wellness.
It’s a day-in-day-out regimen of committing to routine physical activity, eating, fresh as possible, well-balanced, organic, non-GMO, nutrient-dense foods. In addition, it’s cooking your own healthy nutritious meals, as we discussed earlier, and supplementing your diet, for added assurance, with the best super food available today, Peruvian Maca (A).
It also means being socially active and maintaining strong healthy relationships with your partner and close friends, living in a clean, safe, wholesome, pollution-free environment, having a meaningful, satisfying career using your talents, continuing to seek knowledge, remaining emotionally balanced and mentally sharp, maintaining a positive attitude, getting sufficient rest and sleep, having enjoyable hobbies and leisure time, relaxing and being mindful (spiritual), setting realistic and obtainable goals, and being flexible and willing to make changes when necessary, and a host of others.
For more in depth information on the many wide-ranging health benefits of Peruvian Maca, and eating the proper organic, non-GMO, well-balanced, nutritional foods, read these reviews:
You now know what Wellness Of Life means, and you have in your hands, the best options that will help you achieve and maintain it. The question is are you going to act?
(A) Use these links for more in depth information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods for optimal health and wellness.