My guest blog is Dr. Andrew Parnham covering the topic of wellbeing.
What does the word “wellbeing” bring to mind? You might think immediately of such things as aromatherapy, massages, spas, special diets or even off-centre, touchy-feely techniques to “bring body and mind together.” Especially when you add in the word “holistic.”
Many men will regard that as all a bit “female” and therefore not something to embrace any time soon! On the other hand, the word is used frequently in medical and health settings. This may invoke ideas of health-promotion programmes and even people in white coats — again, alright in its place, but not necessarily something to think about every day.
So, what is this word all about and how does it apply to men? I believe the answer is fairly straightforward. I don’t want to be crass, but to my mind it simply means being or living well. That begs a lot of questions of course, but at base level, surely everyone wants to be and live well, and no one is looking to be unwell!
Perhaps the default position for health and wellness is physical health. If our bodies are working properly and we’re not experiencing illness, surely that makes us well? Yes, it does, up to a point. Of course, it is good to be “well” physically, and also to be reasonably comfortable materially (adequate health and wealth).
But here’s the rub — if we, men, are struggling with our mental health or our relationships, or we’re feeling increasingly lonely, or our lives lack a sense of meaning and purpose, can we truly say that our lives as a whole are “well”?
So, wellbeing makes us look beyond our bodies or our lifestyles, out to other areas of life. That’s why I like the expression “wholistic wellbeing”, because it encompasses the whole of our lives, embracing all the different spheres (physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual), connecting and integrating them together. That requires a lot more than having the latest device or going to the gym regularly!
Of course, our individual situations and needs vary. But whoever we are, we all have bodies, minds and relationships, and all of us need to have some kind of meaning and purpose.
Crudely put, we’re all “made of the same stuff”. I run a free wellbeing course…