Wellness is a modern word with ancient roots holding both preventive and holistic tenets, and traces back to ancient civilizations from the east to the west.
As we talk about wellness, I find it important to name that wellness is personal – a continuously evolving individual journey. At the same time, wellness is also multi-dimensional as it includes the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, financial, and environmental aspects of our wellbeing. All of these individual parts of ourselves depend on each other and work in concert for our overall wellbeing.
Wellness often gets confused with health. The Global Wellness Institute (https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/) defines wellness as the “active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” Wellness is not a passive state; it is an individual journey taking responsibility for our choices, behaviors, and lifestyle.
Wellness is not a static state of being – like being happy or feeling good. Wellness is mindful awareness of the choices we make and how they lead us toward optimal health and wellbeing. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness continuum differs from a medical paradigm. Traditional medical modalities focus on “feeling better, treating and curing illness, corrective actions, clinical assessments, and compartmentalization.” Alternatively, a wellness paradigm emphasizes thriving, maintaining and improving our health, and is more preventive and holistic as we take individual responsibility integrating all aspects of our being into the wholeness of life.
Wellness does not, in any way, dismiss the need for professional and clinical medical care. Wellness, as part of our overall health and wellbeing, always seeks medical care when appropriate or needed.
For 2023, we will focus on Wellness Wednesdays, looking at a wide spectrum of activities, choices and lifestyles that contribute to wellness.
Physically, we will look at healthy habits around food with nutritional value, mindful movement, and stillness. We will consider how to nourish a healthy body through gentle movement, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. We will explore how micro changes like replacing one artificial ingredient or additive at a time with a whole grain, fresh fruit or vegetable can be impactful.
Mentally and intellectually, we will consider how we keep our brains engaged in learning, reading, and problem-solving. The openness of our minds when encountering new ideas are indicators of wellness, as well as how we engage the world through learning and continuously expanding our knowledge, and engaging creativity. Enjoying movies or books that promote thinking and pique curiosity contribute to mental wellness.
Emotionally, we will look at better supporting how we feel. We will expand our ability to cope with everyday life by acknowledging and expressing our feelings, understanding the feelings of others, and effectively managing stress. Building a strong relationship network and learning how “no” is a discipline may contribute to your emotional wellness.
Spiritually, we will look at what it means to live with a clear sense of God’s meaning and purpose for our lives as we live our Christ-centered principles and values. Through a variety of spiritual practices, we will learn how to practice Jesus’ love.
Environmentally, we will look at respecting the delicate balance between the environment and ourselves. We will consider our personal environments at home, at work, and our connection to the planetary environment around us. You will be invited to look at what surrounds you in your home, work, or neighborhood that supports and/or hinders your overall wellness. While we are not always able to choose what is physically in the environments we live, work, or play in, we can make small choices with big impact.
I look forward to journeying with you for Wellness Wednesdays, where together we will take personal assessments of how these areas contribute to our wellness, while offering small, micro changes offering significant wellness benefit.
It is my prayer that you feel, sense, and see how God’s love is right here, within each breath. May we, like the Psalmist who writes in Psalm 139:14, praise God, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are our works, God knows very well.