Too many people assume that when they’re not sick, they’re healthy. This narrow definition isn’t necessarily false, but it does fail to consider the bigger picture. I believe health and wellness should be thought of holistically.
There are eight pillars of holistic health: physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial and environmental.
The absence of illness is an important part of physical health, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. To be physically healthy, a person should also ensure they’re exercising enough, sleeping well and taking care of their personal hygiene.
Nutrition is tied to physical health, but it is considered its own entity because of its complexity. A person’s nutrition should be customized based on their age, activity level, and other factors. Unfortunately, the vast majority of adults don’t eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily, which can deprive the body of necessary nutrients. Those nutrients give our bodies the energy to function, so proper nutrition should be a big priority.
Sometimes life is a roller coaster, and our body responds by flooding our brain with certain hormones that cause an emotional response. Analyzing our emotions to validate and gain control over them can make life’s bumps seem a bit smoother. Some people choose to seek the help of a mental health professional, while others prefer to journal, talk with friends or reflect internally.
Engaging your mind is essential for good overall health. This doesn’t necessarily mean keeping your head in a book. Oftentimes, personal advancement and community activities are the best way to keep your brain engaged and learning new things.
Humans are social beings. We have an innate desire to be part of a group and surround ourselves with people who care for us. Social wellness is about forming positive relationships and dealing with external conflict productively.
There are two factors that encompass environmental wellness: How do you support your environment, and how does that environment support you in return? An environment could be your desk at work, your community or your country.
Spiritual health means something different for everyone. Prayer, meditation and practicing mindfulness are a few common ways for a person to discover their sense of purpose.
Financial wellness is a necessary part of life, although it is admittedly not the most exciting task for the average person. However, paying off debt and feeling secure within a budget can do wonders for maintaining peace of mind and a stress-free life.
How a person approaches wellness will vary by individual. However, most experts agree that the absence of illness isn’t what leads to a healthy life. Analyzing the pillars that need attention and personalizing your wellness goals is the first step toward mastering holistic health in your daily life.