November 11, 2013
Wellness for a Meaningful Life
Written by Rachel Eddins
Wellness can be defined as a way of life oriented toward optimal health and well-being in which body, mind, and spirit are integrated to live life more fully.
It is the optimum state of health and well-being that each of us are capable of achieving.
In our counseling practice in Houston, we utilize a wellness approach, recognizing the importance of each of these life areas. Changes in one area of wellness affect other areas, both positively and negatively.
Healthy functioning in each of these areas is what constitutes a full, rewarding, and meaningful life.
Following are the life tasks comprising overall wellness and life satisfaction:
1. Spirituality: an awareness of a being or force that transcends the material aspects of life and gives a deep sense of wholeness or connectedness to the universe. Positive thoughts and optimism are components of spirituality and are strongly correlated with well-being and resistance to stress.
2. Self-Direction: the manner in which one regulates or directs the self in daily activities and the pursuit of long-range goals. This refers to a sense of mindfulness and intentionality in meeting the major tasks of life.
Self-direction includes the following:
- Sense of worth: this refers to having a positive view of the self, confidence in ourselves, excitement for new challenges, and ultimately, high self-esteem.
- Sense of control: having a sense of personal control over your life is associated with emotional well-being (vs. depression). Perceiving that control is within you (vs. at the mercy of others) is associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher life satisfaction.
- Realistic beliefs: accepting yourself as imperfect!
- Emotional awareness and coping: rich, varied, and frequent emotional expressions and responses are associated with positive relationships and better immune system functioning.
- Problem solving and creativity: intellectual stimulation is necessary for healthy brain functioning. Creativity has a positive effect on life satisfaction, mental health, and overall wellness.
- Sense of humor: especially when accompanied by laughter, boosts physical wellness and enhances healthy aging. (Put-down humor not allowed here – that is related to health problems!)
- Nutrition: nutritional deficits can lead to physical and emotional problems (including obsessive thinking, anxiety, and depression). Loneliness and lack of meaningful social contact is largely associated with poor nutritional health. The first step might be to reach out and connect with others. Join a group, talk to a therapist, or find someone you trust to connect with.
- Exercise: benefits both physical and psychological well-being. Exercise increases strength and self-confidence as well as positive emotionality and enhanced cognitive functioning.
- Self-care: taking active responsibility for one’s overall wellness. Listening to your body both physically and emotionally: What do I feel? What do I need?
- Stress management: recognize stressors in your life and make an effort to reduce or minimize them. A therapist can help! Chronic stress can lead to a multitude of health problems.
- Gender identity: define your gender role in a way that is right for you and conforms to your own gender identity (vs. expectations of others or society).
- Cultural identity: embrace your cultural identity as a positive personal strength.
3. Work and Leisure: provide opportunity to intrinsically satisfying experiences that provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
- Work: work satisfaction is one of the best predictors of longevity as well as perceived quality of life. People who view their career as a calling tend to experience the highest work satisfaction. (Let one of our career counselors help you find your calling if you haven’t done so yet).
- Work-Life Balance: women who place their relationships as more important than work tend to have lower rates of depression and work-life balance conflict. This doesn’t mean the time is spent balanced, it refers to priorities.
- Leisure: leisure activities can be an important way of managing stress and providing relaxation and enjoyment.
4. Friendship: incorporates all social relationships that involve a connection with others (not including familial). We are all born with the capacity and need to be connected with each other. There is a very strong connection between social relationships and physical and emotional well-being.
5. Love: relationships formed on the basis of a sustained, mutual commitment and involvement of intimacy. Committed relationships provide protection against physical and mental illness, increased longevity, and a greater sense of well-being.
- the ability to be intimate, trusting, and self-disclosing with another person
- the ability to receive as well as express affection with significant others
- the capacity to experience or convey non-possessive caring that respects the uniqueness of the other
- the presence of enduring, stable, intimate relationships in one’s life
- concern for the nurturance and growth of others
- satisfaction with one’s sexual life or the perception that one’s needs for closeness are being met
To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
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