The importance of wellbeing
February 1, 2014
In our fast-paced, ever-evolving world, a true sense of wellbeing can seem illusive. It’s more than physical vitality alone, yet you won’t find it between the pages of a self-help guide or even at the most luxurious day spa. For each individual, the route to true wellbeing is unique. It requires a holistic approach, balancing the four different elements of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, to achieve a sense of harmony and contentment in all that we do.
Being physically fit is key to wellbeing, but to be truly well, we must consider not only exercise and diet, but our lifestyles as a whole. Regular exercise and good nutrition are paramount, but also co-dependent. Think of the body like a car. The performance is directly related to the quality of the fuel you put in. Similarly, physical activity must be balanced with adequate rest so the body has time to heal and recoup. Physical wellbeing, therefore, can sometimes feel like a balancing act, one that greatly impacts on our emotional wellbeing, for instance when we feel tired or unwell.
Much like our physical body, the mind needs regular exercise to function at its best. As muscles are toned through frequent, repetitive movements, so the brain’s neural pathways are strengthened with problem solving and brain training. Strong mental agility means we’re more alert, better at decision making and quicker to learn new skills. As we age, however, cognitive function begins to slow, so it’s crucial to counteract this with regular mental workouts. If we can think smarter and be better focused in all areas of our life, our emotional, spiritual and physical health all benefit as a result.
Put simply, our happiness broadly affects our general sense of wellbeing. It may not be as tangible as honing a healthy physique, per se, but it’s just as important to achieve emotional, as it is physical, fitness. A healthy work-life balance promotes emotional wellbeing, as does nurturing connections with family, friends, our community and the environment around us. When we are emotionally fulfilled, we are generally in a better space physically, mentally and spiritually.
Spiritual wellbeing doesn’t necessarily equate to any one religion. Moreover, it indicates how we might cope in times of crisis or difficulty in our lives. A sense of spirituality comes from a curiosity and understanding of our greater purpose in life, the role of destiny and how fate affects our existence. A positive spiritual philosophy may be a useful tool to analyze and process life’s many challenges, while the grounding perspective that it brings underpins our emotional, mental and physical existence.
Becoming Well / Achieving Wellbeing / The Road To Wellbeing
Only when these four elements are brought into alignment can we begin to experience a true sense of what it is to be well. Giving equal importance to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs isn’t always easy, especially in our busy lives, but simply identifying the need to seek equilibrium is an important first step for anyone starting out along the road to authentic wellbeing.