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What is Wellness? | GAND

Wellness encompasses a holistic approach to health. It is defined as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health by the Global Wellness Institute. The “active” element of this definition depicts a continuous consciousness in making positive choices to achieve the highest peak of health and wellbeing. Wellness goes beyond physical health to living life fully.

What are the dimensions of wellness? They range from a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12 dimensions in the different models that have been developed. A few of them comprise mental/intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, vocational and financial dimensions. Unlike habits with a recurrent nature that happen unintentionally, wellness is achieved by self-regulation. Self-regulation is being able to direct our behaviour and impulses to achieve certain goals, and it is more intentional.

Self-care practices have been defined as behaviours that maintain and promote the various dimensions of wellness. Stress is one trait that negatively impacts wellness. It is important to identify or develop practices that can help you destress to keep you steady on your journey to wellness.

Mindfulness has been found to reduce emotional stress. It is a self-care practice that increases positivity through non-judgmental awareness and engagement. Several research works have found a positive association between mindfulness and mental stress as well. Practicing mindfulness ensures that everything we do helps provide us with insight as we become more conscious of our own choices. Take a few minutes each day to practice mindful meditation to help you keep calm and cope with difficult thoughts.

Sleep is another beneficial self-care practice to reduce stress. Studies found that poor sleep quality has adverse effects on health. Develop a sleep schedule and be consistent with it. As your sleep time is approaching, wind down by stopping all interaction with mobile devices. You could even practice mindful meditation within this period as a way to reflect over the day’s activities or engage in prayer to account for the spirituality element of mindfulness.

Another destressing practice is exercising. Medically, exercise prevents stress-induced suppression of the immune system. It also has other benefits like weight management and reduced risk of metabolic conditions. Spread out your exercise regimen throughout the day if it is difficult for you to achieve the standard 30 minutes moderate-intensity workouts at an instance.

Keep in touch! Yes. Frequently connect to friends and family. Social support is found to be inversely associated to anxiety and perceived stress.

Explore leisure activities. Find and add enjoyable relaxing activities to your daily schedule. It could be reading, strolling, drawing, or journaling. There are several apps and online communities you can join to make it even more enjoyable.

These mentioned practices not only help you destress but also has a positive effect on mental health. Take a few moments to actively indulge in at least one of them today and if your lifestyle already depicts wellness, kudos to you and keep it up!

References:

Stoewen D. L. (2017). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne58(8), 861–862.

Myers, S. B., Sweeney, A. C., Popkick, V., Wesley, K., Bordfeld, A. & Fingerhut, R. (2012). Self-care practices and perceived stress levels among psychology graduate students. Training and education in professional psychology 6(1), 55-66

Fleshner, M. (2005). Physical Activity and Stress Resistance: Sympathetic Nervous System Adaptations Prevent Stress-Induced Immunosuppression. Exercise and Sport Sciences Review, 33, 120 –126.

Retrieved from https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/about-mindfulness/

Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

Retrieved from https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/

Written by: Gillette Valentina Sylvia

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