Wellness often seems like an uphill battle. It’s a buzzword you hear a lot these days as something to prioritize for a fulfilling life, but what does it really mean? Wellness is defined as “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Wellness is a term frequently used interchangeably with well-being. Well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. It more fully encompasses the scope of wellness in a person’s life: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and relational.
How do you choose among the varied approaches to achieving wellness and well-being? Wellness can mean different things in each person’s life: exercise, eating healthier foods, disease prevention, etc. Even among each of those categories, there are diverse schools of thought. There is, however, one highly affective factor that influences every one of them equally: a positive mental attitude.
Negative thoughts and emotions adversely impact our bodies, circumstances, life satisfaction and the people around us. In the quest for wellness and well-being, it’s vital to take charge of our “thought health.” Our thoughts and emotions are ours to control. Martin Luther once said: “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Negativity is the bird that lands on your head and you get the choice to shoo it away. There are multiple means of doing this!
Speak optimistically to yourself: “Take baby steps. Slow progress is still progress and days without progress are okay. I’m proud of every step that I’ve taken. I have made it this far; I can go farther!”
Find little things to be grateful for in your everyday life, such as your favorite outfit, your morning cup of coffee, and your walk with your dog. Write them down in a journal or simply keep them in mind.
Change your “I have to” to an “I get to”. Remind yourself that you get to go to work, you get to go grocery shopping, you get to do laundry. These chores and responsibilities are reflections of the essentials that we can appreciate.
Make someone smile. Ask a friend to meet for coffee or send a message that lets them know you’re thinking of them. When you take your focus off of the problems weighing you down and put it towards someone else’s happiness, it will brighten your mood and day too.
These practices can put you on a faster track towards your wellness goals. They reduce stress, provide better sleep, create connections with others and build a greater sense of overall happiness. With that foundation laid, wellness and well-being will be a gentler and more enjoyable path to travel.
As a last note, this fun—and useful—list has a lot of great advice: