We live in a fast paced society. Everything is moving quickly. Fast food. Fast cars. Lose weight fast. Make money fast. Text. Tweet. We are running faster and pushing harder, “for what?”
Depression is taking a significant toll on people (http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_statistics_depression). Over 40 million people struggle with anxiety (http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics). Relationships are strained, and obesity is on the rise. . It appears that in our fast paced lifestyle, we have lost our focus on living well.
Wellness is often associated with food and exercise. While this is an accurate association, it is not a complete picture of wellness. Wellness is defined by merriam-webster as the quality or state of being healthy. Our quality and state of being is much more than physical. We are emotional, mental, relational, and recreational beings
Jim Rohn once said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” The amount of research indicating the positive impact that healthy eating, consistent exercise and regular sleep habits do to one’s overall well-being is astounding. Individuals who incorporate sustainable, yet evidence-based lifestyle changes, report not only improved physical health, but increased mental, social and emotional fulfillment.
What we think about matters. Have you ever taken time to notice what makes up your thoughts? Often times it is our own perspective that influences the level of stress, anxiety and worry in our lives. Stress and anxiety are very real and regularly emerge in our minds. Expectations often create pressure. Anxiety is often driven by ruminating on the possible negative outcomes. As you reach for a greater experience of wellness in your mind, look for opportunities to trade fear for hope. Choose to focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you cannot do. Awareness is the first and most necessary step to reach mental wellness.
Emotions give meaning to our life experiences and provide opportunities for us to connect with others. However, sometimes instead of controlling our emotions, we feel controlled by our emotions to the point where we aren’t able to accomplish the things we set out to achieve (whether they be professional, relational, or academic goals). In order to learn to manage your emotions better, you may consider these two suggestions: 1. Control your thoughts because they directly influence your feelings and 2. Engage in regular self-care practices, such as meditation, deep breathing or participating in a hobby.
Relationships can be a vibrant, satisfying aspect of life. Healthy relationships can improve one’s mood, increase one’s purpose and offer a buffer against life’s challenges. Research from Life Innovations (www.prepare-enrich.com) highlights communication as the single greatest contributor to satisfying relationships. Connection and intimacy grow from the rich soil of healthy communication. Moreover, communication focused on kindness and gratitude will keep you focused on what you do have in a relationship as opposed to searching for what’s missing.
Research on happiness suggests that those who engage in hobbies and activities that align with their interests and passions find life much more enjoyable. Even more important is to engage in these types of activities consistently and often, rather than take a big vacation once a year and work yourself to death the rest of the yearThe most important aspect of leisure is that you enjoy life through small and simple things on a daily basis.
Being aware of these elements in your life and the impact they have on your happiness is the first step to achieving total body and mind wellness.
About the Author: Kurt Attaway is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate in Texas. Kurt graduated with his Master’s from UHCL. Kurt works in private practice at The Center for Couples and Families, and serves as the Director of the WholeFit Leadership Team.