What is Health and Wellness, Anyway?
Health and Wellness tips are everywhere now — so much so that it’s hard to realize what advice is actually healthy.
Health and Wellness tips are everywhere now — so much so that it’s hard to realize what advice is actually healthy. For a long time, my idea of wellness was misguided; it was shadowed in consumerism, in meaningless pledges, or in empty words. Wellness is not the face mask bought as a last-ditch effort to fix stress about finals. It’s not waking up and vowing to live a blissful, happy life without changing your habits — it’s actually waking up and living out the steps to do that daily.
Wellness works. But, to be honest, a lot of tips out there are pretty much a load of bullshit to get people to buy stuff.
Scientists say that real wellness:
Emerges from nourishing six dimensions of your health: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, and environmental. These six dimensions of wellness are equally important, and if you emphasize the role of these dimensions in your life, you will have a healthy relationship with yourself and the world around you.
For example, physical exercise is often packaged as only effective if it comes in the form of some intense or expensive experience. You don’t need to join the latest workout craze to be happy and healthy — if you enjoy it, go for it! — but all that is necessary for a healthy workout is exercise.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes (preferably outside) and you’re good to go! Our advice is to find the exercise that works for you. That could be on a short, brisk walk while listening to your favorite podcast or music, a bike ride to your favorite store, or anything that you genuinely enjoy doing.
The other aspect of physical health is healthy eating, which is also marketed to consumers in countless ways. Healthy wellness habits are not centered around a new crash diet that breaks your wallet or the detox tea that your favorite reality TV star is selling on her Instagram.
Those diets and supplements oftentimes don’t work. See-through the diet fads and literally just cut out junk food, such as processed and fried foods as a first step to becoming a healthy eater.
Emotional wellness is hard to find in the age of social media. We try to perfect the image we send off to the world on our individual feeds so we can fool people into believing that we have it all together.
This makes people feel like their unhappiness is not normal. Oftentimes, people lack the emotional IQ to be vulnerable or repress sad emotions because they believe it reveals weakness or imperfection. However, sharing your fears and emotions with people you trust gives off a “‘beautiful mess effect.’ Through multiple experiments, they’ve even found that though sharing your feelings may seem like a weakness to you, to others it seems courageous and builds trust and connection.” No one is perfect. The right friends will be supportive of you in all instances, and their compassion is a vital aspect of your own wellness. In a similar vein, there’s nothing wrong with asking friends or family for help when you become worried about your emotional and mental health. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a professional or to your support system for help whenever you need it.
Technology provides us with the opportunity to connect with people all over the world, maintain long-distance friendships, and reach friends at any point of the day.
Yet because friends are accessible at the press of a button, it’s easy to let your social life become your last priority. Maintaining and strengthening relationships is just as important for your wellness as exercise or vulnerability.
We frequently talk about the “growth mindset” here at betr. Growth mindset works — instead of aiming for perfection, focus on improvement. Development leads to the most fulfillment. Instead of “finding your passion” find the things that make you interested or engaged in that passion and keep chasing those interests to maintain a healthy and sustainable state of cognitive wellness.
Spiritual wellness isn’t necessarily religion or devout spirituality. It’s found with a sense of purpose. Happy people are firm in their beliefs and values, and also understand the most important priorities in life. David Foster Wallace says:
“If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.”
Live in the moment and live your truth, and you’ll find spiritual contentment.
Reader: be honest with yourself for this next question: How often are you fully engaged with your environment? When was the last time you sat down with a friend without the distraction of phones or TV or whatnot and just talked? When was the last time you completed work without external distractions getting in the way?
A key to wellness is getting rid of all those distractions — turn off your phone for a few hours if you’re busy with work, relationships, or school so you can be fully present in that moment. Basically, the more you live in the moment, completely undistracted, the happier you’ll be.
Health and Wellness information is everywhere — but let’s get back to the basics. Make happy and healthy habits in those six dimensions and you’ll be on your way to a betr life.