The term ‘wellness’ has become more established in recent years as we have developed greater communication and focus on our health and well-being. But what is wellness and why is wellness important? In this article we explore the meaning and impact of wellness on your life.
Despite growing awareness, the term wellness still attracts some confusion. The dictionary’s definition of wellness feels a little light: ‘the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.’
Whilst no part of this definition is technically incorrect, it doesn’t really do justice to a concept that encompasses so much more. The National Wellness Institute’s interpretation is more thorough and, in our opinion, more appropriate for the modern world. They view wellness as ‘an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.’
In order to reach this definition the NWI, along with the help of leaders in health and wellness, reached a general agreement that:
- Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential
- Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment
- Wellness is positive and affirming
It is this more holistic interpretation that we encourage and support at The Unknown when we refer to wellness and consider how to achieve wellness.
We also believe you are much more likely to be successful if your short-term goals are aligned with your long term objectives. In other words, you are keeping yourself on track to meet your life ambitions and aspirations. Wellness can be an important tool to help you get there.
Why is wellness important?
Simply put, your overall health and wellness can have a significant influence on your physical, mental and emotional abilities to build and maintain a successful life. Is there anyone that this isn’t relevant or important for?
Being ‘successful’ doesn’t just mean financial or career success, it’s about meeting a reasonable proportion of your personal goals and aspirations; being happy and content with yourself and your life.
As long your aspirations are genuinely in tune with your beliefs, it doesn’t matter if they are not what is typically regarded as ambitious or conventional; because you should ultimately be trying to appease yourself, nobody else.
Having healthy levels of self-esteem can also provide significant advantages. By being truly comfortable and happy with who you are (note that this is very different to arrogance and narcissism), you will find that you make better progress towards your goals and have a more positive impact on those around you too. Your friends, family and dependents will not see it as selfish; they will be grateful for having a better version of you.
Aside from the mental and emotional benefits of wellness, there is also the more fundamental welfare that it brings. Do you intend to live to a venerable age and enjoy retirement one day with a content mind after years of hard work? Well your likelihood of achieving this increases dramatically if you look after your body and your mind.
A report from the UK Department of Health estimated that high levels of subjective well-being can add 4-10 years to life compared with low levels of subjective well-being. That potentially an extra 3,650 days of life!
Also consider not only the extended length, but also the quality. There is ongoing research looking at scientific ways to measure the impact of wellness on your overall quality of life, but it seems rationale to assume that someone who respects their wellness and well being is more likely to have a better quality of life that someone who doesn't.
When I was in my early twenties, I used to believe that I didn’t want to grow old. I just wanted to have a reasonable innings and be able to live life with enough vices and unhealthy habits in the meantime to enjoy it properly. Now in my mid-thirties, in a happy marriage with a little toddler running around at home, I have completely changed my mindset.I now see growing older as the beginning of an exciting new chapter, and I want to maintain a healthy physical state and mental state of mind to enjoy it.
Whatever your age, you should take note that it's never too early or too late to focus on your wellness and well-being. I have an uncle who is closing on 60 and in much better physical condition than I have ever been in my life. He has a physique that at 21-year-old Instagram influencer wouldn’t hesitate to show off.
Take the necessary steps to respect your health and wellness if you don't already. Start today.
How to improve wellness
So what specific steps can you take towards better wellness? Well you have taken a good first step in declaring and interest in the topic (we are assuming that is why you are reading this article). You should now try to turn that interest into a real commitment to yourself.
Maintaining this commitment can be more difficult than it sounds, but the Unknown is here to help you with tools, information and eventually products to help you on your way (products are a work in progress but we will get there – we want to make sure that any products we create genuinely add value so we are going through a very thorough development process).
Before throwing yourself too far into the deep end, take a little time to understand the different principles of wellness and which areas it will be most productive for you to focus on.
You can read about the 8 dimensions of wellness on our site to give your knowledge on the wellness meaning and principles a further boost. Many of us are time poor so we have to prioritize what areas of wellness will be most beneficial for us, and focus on these areas first. Read the post and decide what is most important for you.
Once you are comfortable with where you are going to focus your energy, it's time to formulate a plan and start taking action.
If physical wellness is your priority, then you may want to enhance things like your levels of exercise, your diet, nutrition and water intake. If it's more emotional wellness then perhaps you should explore things like meditation or yoga to increase mindfulness and relaxation.
Or how about social wellness - maybe you need to focus on re-connecting with old friends or starting new activities to meet new ones. There are an abundance of options available to you for self-improvement, explore them properly and then take action.
Don’t be afraid to invest financially in your wellness within your means. We can all be guilty of spending our money on luxuries such as a watch or designer trainers to make ourselves feel good, but this type of feel good factor is often a temporary or superficial fix.
Consider that you would be much better off investing in your well-being. It is rumored that Lebron James spends $1.5m a year to take care of his body. When I first heard about this I thought it was another excessive celebrity expense, but I then realized that it is actually a wise investment for someone who has the financial means and motivation to keep himself in optimum condition.
His $1.5m will likely be returned many times over with continuing and prolonged success in the NBA. Would his money have been better spent on a super-car or lavish holidays?
Use your money wisely to take care of yourself. Eat well, join exercise classes you will enjoy, look after your skin, do activities to relax, challenge your brain and try to be social, especially with people who make you feel happy. You can always make more money (you are more likely to when you are mentally and physically strong) but you only have one body and one mind so look after them with the care and attention they deserve.
So what are you going to commit to moving forward or what has already been working for you to improve your wellness? Share comments, questions and experiences below to help and inspire yourself and others.