December 15, 2016      17:15

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THRIVE! In Pursuit of Wellness


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Ramat Lawal-Unuigbe

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Health discussions often centre on a disease state. As a matter of fact, most people when asked about their health status often refer to their physical health.  Physical health relates to anything concerning our bodies as physical entities, but the state of our health is more encompassing, involving more than the physical.   The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 

The English word health’ comes from the old English word hale, meaning ‘wholeness, being whole, sound or well,’    A discussion about health without the mention of wellness is incomplete.   According to the Mickinley Health Centre, University of Illinois, wellness "is a state of optimal wellbeing that is oriented toward maximizing an individual's potential.   Wellness can also be defined as "the integration of mind, body and spirit. Optimal wellness allows us to achieve our goals and find meaning and purpose in our lives.

A healthy person is one that is flourishing in all domains of life.  Therefore, I will be highlighting the domains of wellbeing and what wellness in each domain looks like.Gallup scientists have been exploring the demands of a life well-lived, and have uncovered the common elements of wellbeing that transcend countries and cultures. This research revealed the universal elements of wellbeing that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering.

The six Domains of Wellbeing:

Career Wellbeing

How much do you like what you do every day?Only 20% of people can give a strong ‘yes’ in response to this question.  If the answer to this question is something you find fulfilling and meaningful, you are likely thriving in your career wellbeing. People usually underestimate the influence of their career on their overall wellbeing, but career wellbeing is arguably the most essential of all the elements of wellbeing. If you don't have the opportunity to regularly do something you enjoy - even if it's more of a passion or interest - the odds of your having high wellbeing in other areas diminish rapidly. People with high career wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall.

Irrespective of good physical health, financial security, great relationships, we often spend much of our social time complaining about dissatisfaction in our jobs.  This causes stress, taking a toll on our physical health. If your career wellbeing is low, it's easy to see how it can cause deterioration in other areas over time.  A landmark study published in The Economic Journal revealed that unemployment might be the only major life event from which people do not fully recover within five years.Lack of regular social contact, daily boredom, burn-out, and frustrations that comes with unemployment/underemployment are detrimental to our wellbeing.  Those who are employed, but deem their managers least competent are at a higher risk of serious heart problems. Frustrations in the workplace creates real health issues!If you have some control over your working conditions, your health will benefit too. 

Men tend to define their achievements in terms of their status/position, hence unemployment or underemployment typically has more detrimental impact on men than women.  Career wellbeing plays a key role in the overall health of a man and has far reaching impact on all aspects of a man’s life, including members of his family.  The key ingredient to career wellbeing is using your strengths daily; hence it is critical that you know what your strengths are.

Social Wellbeing

How much time do you spend connecting throughout the day?No man is an island. We thrive better when we are in relationships.  Relationships serve as a buffer during tough times, which in turn improve our cardiovascular (heart) functioning and decreases stress levels.On the other hand, people with very few social ties have nearly twice the risk of dying from heart disease and are twice as likely to catch colds.  The wellbeing of friends and relatives is a better predictor of happiness than earning more money.  According to a Harvard university research, direct, frequent contact with someone with high wellbeing dramatically increases our chances of happiness. So, happiness is contagious!   If you're in a strained relationship, it could extend the time it takes for you to recover from surgery or a major injury. A Gallup research showed that couples with hostility in their relationships took twice as long for their wounds to heal than happy couples.  Toxic relationships and those filled with stress impact our overall health negatively, so be intentional about the kinds of relationships you allow in your life.

Because our entire social network affects our health, habits and wellbeing, mutual friendships matter even more.If you have family support, as well as support from friends and your community, your chances of enjoying good health are far greater than somebody who has none of these things. Eating dinner together as a family or with close friends is a very good social connection/bonding time.  Make social connections and relationships a health priority.

Financial Wellbeing

What is it that more money will give you that you don’t have now?Having more money increases happiness significantly for those who are poor and unable to meet basic needs of life.  The biggest predictor of happiness as it relates to money is not how much of it you make, but whether you can pay your bills.  So focus on widening the gap between your income and expenses.  Bottom line, living below your means increases happiness and overall wellbeing

The higher your economic status is, the more likely you are to enjoy good health.People report higher levels of happiness when they spend money on others than on themselves.Spending money on oneself alone self does not boost happinesse don't get bored with fond memories like we do with tangible objects. 

Spending money on experiences, such as going out to dinner, taking a vacation last while material purchases fade.  Even if you feel better immediately after your purchase, studies show that our satisfaction with material goods decreases over time.  Spending on experiences boosts our spirits for the long term; this explains part of the connection between money and wellbeing.

Physical Wellbeing

What small changes will have the biggest impact on your health right now?Good diet, exercise are daily rest are necessary ingredient for optimal health.As a people, we do not get enough exercise; people who exercise two or more times per week are happier and have significantly less stress.Exercise boosts our mood- it is a happiness trigger.It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to combat fatigue is by exercising. 

Sleep is our daily reset button.Along with regular exercise, sleep plays an essential role in our physical wellbeing; hence we have to be intentional about activating our sleep button on a daily basis.  Getting a good night's sleep is how our body rejuvenates - it clears our stressors from the day before, it also increases our chances of having energy and high wellbeing throughout the day.Many of us are falling well short of the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night.People who sleep too short (5-6 hours) or too long (9-10 hours) are 25-35% more likely to gain weight. I can personally attest to this. I sleep intermittently, and on average 4-5 hours a day and this has had a huge impact on my overall health in terms of fatigue, sluggish metabolism leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.  What we eat, our physical activity, whether or not we smoke or drink or take drugs, and how we cope with stress play an important role on our physical and mental wellbeing.

Community Wellbeing

In what ways are you connected to your community? People with thriving wellbeing are often moved by the impact they have had on another person, group, or community.   Is your community a good fit for your personality, lifestyle, family, interests, pace of life, etc.?  Connecting, and active involvement in your community is necessary in order for community wellbeing to grow.  Living and working in the right community, within the right social networks helps you reach your goals faster.  For example, positive group pressure works to stop smoking, lose weight, write a book, etc.  Community wellbeing also involves getting clear about your values and what matters to you the most. Community wellbeing promotes well-doing, and well-doing protects us from stress and negative emotions.  Having a vision about the community you want to connect with improves your wellbeing.

Spiritual Wellbeing

What lesson is God offering you right now?  Spiritualwellbeing is an integral part of our mental, emotional and physical health. It is our journey to discover things of importance in life, to find meaning and purpose in life, and not necessarily associated with religion.  Spiritual wellbeing is rooted in relationships (God, self-esteem, healthy connections, etc.), personal values, and purpose in life.

Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity.content with life.

Overall, wellness is the ability to live life to the fullest and to maximize personal potential in a variety of ways.

Points to Ponder:

  • Pursue total wellbeing and not just physical health.
  • It is when we balance all domains of wellbeing that we truly thrive.
  • Which of the wellbeing domains are you completely out of sync with?
  • What immediate steps would you take to improve your overall wellbeing?

Until next time, be inspired to thrive daily

Email: Drramat@outlook.com


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