Improving your overall health and wellness is a lot easier than you might think, and you can start today simply by taking the first step and committing to making subtle changes.
There are many factors that contribute to our overall health and well-being:
Diet and Nutrition
You are definitely what you eat. Eating a healthy, balanced diet isn’t about cutting out certain foods. In fact, this can be bad for your health, as reducing or eliminating certain foods can mean you’re not getting the right amount of nutrients. Eat an adequate amount of each of the five food groups; Bread, grains and potatoes, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat, fish and alternatives, and fat and sugar means you’re getting the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain homeostasis or to support optimal functioning of your mind and body.
More exercise is not only good for your heart and overall physical health, but also for your mind and emotional well-being. It is recommended to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This should be an exercise that increases heart rate, such as brisk walking, jogging/running, cycling, yoga, swimming, aerobics, tennis, or squash.
Your lifestyle affects your overall well-being. Work on quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. For example, the environment you are surrounded by, people you interact with, movies and TV shows you watch are also lifestyle factors to consider.
Core and self-beliefs are the things you think about yourself, others, and those around you. If you spend a lot of time thinking negatively, your experiences will reflect that. When you try to be more positive about yourself and those around you, you will attract more positive experiences into your life.
It is important to understand that the external factors themselves do not make us stressed; It’s how we respond to these external factors that make us feel stressed. In fact, a seemingly stressful situation for one person can actually motivate another.
Stress can be related to a whole range of factors including work/career, relationships, divorce, relocation, boredom, loneliness, low self esteem/confidence to name a few.
When we don’t address stress, short and long-term symptoms begin to manifest and we can suffer from many emotional and physical disorders.
To reflect on your own life situation and how you can improve your own health and well-being, try this short Wellness Wheel exercise.
Draw a circle and divide it into 8 segments, like cutting a piece of cake. Label each segment that relates to an area of your life as follows: Stress, Diet/Nutrition, Exercise, Unhealthy Habits, Time Management, Work/Career, Family/Fun/Recreation/Interests, and Core Beliefs/Self-Beliefs. If you find that areas are not shown, you can replace or modify the segments. These are the most common and can be a good place to start.
Now draw evenly spaced horizontal lines through the segment and give it 10 blocks.
When viewing your Wellness Wheel, consider the blocks in each segment as an area of your overall wellness and rate it on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 means poor and 10 means great.
For example, if you think your diet is poor, you could rate this as a 2.
Just shade a block for each segment until you complete the wheel. There are no right or wrong answers; This is about your individual life situation and your well-being.
A few points to note; You must complete this as your life is right now, not how it used to be or how you think it should be. To get real results, you have to be honest with yourself!
Your completed Wellness Wheel will highlight the areas of your life that you need to work on the most.
Just select an area from the wheel to start with. This will be an area that will be rated the lowest. If there are some that you have rated low, choose the one that matters most to you now, the one that resonates with you the most.
If you choose just one area of your life to work on, you will be more likely to make change than if you choose two or more. Even if you make positive changes in one area, it will have a knock-on effect and have a positive impact on other areas of your life. It gives you the confidence to address other areas where you want to make changes.
Commit now that you will make changes in this area to improve your overall health and well-being. Make a clear intention of what you want to achieve. For example, if you scored a 2 in the area of diet and nutrition, you will naturally want to increase this to a higher number. Visualize what you want to achieve in that area, how you want to be, and then keep that as your focus, this is your goal. Work towards it!
It is only our perception that makes something good or bad. When you make a decision, it will either push you toward your goal or take you further from it.
You know you’re making choices that don’t align with your intentions when you’re constantly eating unhealthy foods. Make positive decisions and actions that support your goal and you will achieve the changes you want.
Thanks to Shelley Costello