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All About Defining Wellness for Yourself-min|woman doing yoga in room with doors open|holding hands consoling


Define Wellness for Yourself

Wellness sounds like a good idea and is likely something you’d want more of in your life.

However, your daily schedule is likely already way too full and your busy life might feel a bit overwhelming. So, thinking about your wellness as just another item to check off your to-do list isn’t helpful to anyone.

So, highlighted in this article is a clearer, kinder definition of wellness. In this way, you might be able to define and embrace wellness as you feel it might best benefit you and those near you. The goal of this approach is to transform the idea of wellness as a chore into something that is comforting and comfortable for you.

woman doing yoga in room with doors open

Expert Definitions of Wellness

Psychologist Judd Allen, Ph.D., a board member of the National Wellness Institute, polled many experts in the field of wellness to arrive at this definition:

    • “Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.

    • Wellness is multi-dimensional and holistic (encompassing such factors as lifestyle, mental, and spiritual well-being and the environment.

    • Wellness is positive and affirming.” 1

That’s a lot to absorb here, but embrace these ideas: self-directed, holistic, positive and affirming. Wellness is about body, mind, and spirit. Since individuals are all quite different in those aspects of life, wellness is something you can and should define for yourself.

How To Define Wellness in a Useful Way

Let’s say that you want to define your level of wellness in these categories:

    • Physical: Fitness, including how you care for yourself when you’re unwell.

    • Emotional: How you feel about yourself and your life, including mental health, positivity, and self-esteem.

    • Social/cultural: How you relate to or are willing to contribute to others: family, friends and those from different cultural or social circles.

    • Career: Is your work enjoyable, rewarding, and valuable? If it’s lacking, can you supplement your work with volunteer opportunities so that you do feel rewarded in some aspect of your work?

    • Financial: Understanding your financial situation and managing it to meet your goals.

    • Environmental: Knowledge of the interdependency of all life and awareness of how your choices can benefit or hurt the environment and your wellness.

    • Spiritual: How you experience meaning and purpose in life or seek higher wisdom.

Of these seven, are there two or three elements of wellness that really stand out to you as being areas that require some work? Perhaps they are parts of your life that keep you awake at night.

Working towards resolving challenges in your personal world can greatly reduce stress levels and free up so much of our energy. Jot down a few ideas that you think might work to help you improve wellness in ways that feel most important to you.

holding hands consoling

Always with Kindness

Too often, it is within human nature to look at yourself with a highly critical eye. Perhaps in prehistoric times, this self-criticism was wired into humans to keep them one step ahead of the saber tooth tigers. But now, self-criticism has become a self-defeating habit.

As you consider the two or three areas of wellness that you wish to focus on for improvement, first imagine you are sitting down with a dear friend. Visualize that this friend is asking you how to make wellness improvements in the exact areas that you need help with. Individuals are infinitely more kind to friends than they are to themselves. Listen to and write down how you might encourage a friend to make wellness changes. Then try using the same loving kindness to encourage yourself along the path to increased wellness.

The Next Step

Consider making a few small changes that feel interesting, comfortable, and manageable in your life. These changes should not feel like just one more thing to do. Instead, you might be able to view them as changes that will make like easier and more fun.

Perhaps enlist a buddy or small group of friends to discuss wellness goals. Remember that your plan and your friends' plans will be different. The true goal of working with friends is support and accountability.

Additionally, consider a wellness coach to help you sort through wellness goals and come up with a plan that works for you. Or, visit the National Wellness Institute website for free tools that you can use to coach yourself. 2

Now that you’ve defined wellness, some of the next steps include taking a holistic approach to your wellness and determining what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to wellness.

Photo credits: SFIOCRACHO/, Pressmaster/, GaudiLab/

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