There's so much more to wellbeing then exercising and eating healthy. Yes, these play a vital role, but they're just two pieces of a much bigger puzzle. Let us introduce you to the seven dimensions of wellbeing. This concept brings harmony across all areas of life. Image seven circles, all overlapping, and a zen happy you at the centre of them all. In each of these circles sits one of the following: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, vocational, social and environmental.
These interconnected elements all contribute to our quality of life. Over the course of our lifetime it is only natural that our focus will vary and shift between them, but if we neglect one area for too long our overall wellbeing will suffer.
Nourish your mind, body, heart and spirit, and take a more holistic look at your health and happiness when crafting your New Year's resolutions this year. Consider these seven dimensions of health:
Physical wellbeing looks at rejuvenating our bodies through what we do, eat and drink. Things like exercising, understanding nutrition, and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle all play a vital role. By developing healthy habits today you are ensuring the wellbeing of your future self.
LIFE HACK: Learn one food fact per week. What is avocado good for? What should you eat if you’re lacking in energy? Knowledge is everything. Minimise processed foods and aim to exercise at least three times a week.
Emotions are a great thing: joy, sadness, anger, fear, contempt, surprise, disgust. Did you know all our feelings are derived from these seven? None are good, none are bad. They just are. Being at peace with your emotions and able to express them is the hallmark of happiness. Suppressing feelings eats away at us, and makes everything that little bit worse. Ever felt that relief after you’ve expressed something that was weighing you down? When we are emotionally balanced we are more able to handle the curveballs life throws at us.
LIFE HACK: Start a gratitude journal. Write down three thinks you are thankful for everyday and you’ll learn to be more optimistic along the way. And feel those feelings. Write, paint, sweat or scream them out. Whatever takes your fancy.
Like our bodies, our minds also need to be exercised. The more you use your brain, the more agile it becomes. This not only refers to thoughts and intellectual pursuits, but also creativity. The more creative you are, the more you can think out of the box. Our brain is like a sponge. The more you concentrate, the longer you can focus. The more active your brain is, the better your memory retention. This is particularly important as we age, as studies have shown it helps minimise alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
LIFE HACK: Do that puzzle, sudoko or crossword. Learn a new language. Practise the art of concentration. Read a novel. Keep up to date on current events. Be creative, and keep learning. There’s a world of possibilities out there, you just need to tap into them.
Those who are social have been proven to lead happier, healthier and longer lives. Good communication, intimacy and harmonious relationships promote social wellbeing. Iron out those difficulties with your family, and invest in relationships with good friends. Then branch out further. Being connected to a wider community and network gives us a sense of belonging and purpose.
LIFE HACK: Make time for the best people in your life. Spend quality time together. Try the game where everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table. The first person to pick it up has to shout the meal.
This is something for everyone not just the religious fiends. It’s about knowing your direction in life, listening to your gut and own internal compass. As we come to peace with ourselves we are able to be more decisive, and make decisions in tune with what we actually want. We learn to be more compassionate and less judgemental. We are constantly growing, learning and having new epiphanies, so this is a life long journey.
LIFE HACK: Practise being decisive. Make snap decisions, be it ordering food, shopping or deciding what you do with your day. Over time you'll get better at making decisions on the bigger things in life too. Take time to simply contemplate life, and journal your journey along the way.
The sad reality is we spend the majority of our lives at work, so you’d hope you loved the work you do. Ideally we find a career that makes use of our natural talents and strengths so that we can find enrichment and meaning in our work. The other key is to find a work life balance that satisfies both areas of your life.
LIFE HACK: Brainstorm your strengths and what you enjoy. Reflect on how this compares to the work you do. Try think of ways to merge the two closer. Maybe you can up-skill and take a course that helps you move into a new direction. Or start a hobbie that allows you to be more fulfilled on the side like photography, writing, cooking or naturopathy. Whatever it is that floats your boat.
This was only recently added to the wellbeing list, and yet it’s becoming more and more crucial in today’s ever-changing world. Environmental wellbeing is not only about being aware of the impact of your actions, but also feeling connected to the world and your external environment.
LIFE HACK: Spend time outdoors, there’s no way greater way to appreciate and feel in tune with our planet. Find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint here...
So how’s your balance? Pursuit happiness and aspire for total wellness this year. It may just be your most rewarding yet.