Wellness is made up of all the different parts of our lives and works sort of like a wheel. When one area is out of balance, it is like having a flat tire, and our wheel doesn’t spin easily, causing all kinds of problems. When our life is in balance, our wellness wheel is round, spinning freely, taking us where we want to go.
The World Health Organization describes “Health” as: Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
More simply put, when our mind, body, and spirit are in order, we are in a state of Wellness or Health.
One of the tools I use as a Health Coach is a the Wheel of Health. Each segment of the wheel indicates areas that need balance. When all areas are simultaneously in balance, we are in our most Well state, barring outside factors.
One of the most overlooked segments is “Spirituality.” Studies are beginning to show a greater connection between Mind, Body, and Spirit. While there is still much to learn, these studies show that people who consider their spiritual lives as an essential part of life benefit in their bodies and minds as well.
- Reduction in stress
- Lower levels of depression. Primarily thought to be due to renewed hope.
- Improved immune system
- A greater sense of peace
- An increased overall feeling of wellbeing in general
- A greater sense of positivity
- Improved coronary health
- Increased Life Span
- Increased Health Span
- Reduction in pain – Chronic stress leads to inflammation, reduction in stress can reduce inflammation resulting in a reduction in pain.
In the book, The Blue Zones, author Dan Buettner discovered that all 7 of the most long-lived people groups in the world pay attention to their spiritual life and reap the benefits listed above. One thought is that the ability to relinquish stress and difficulty to a higher power allows them to reduce overall stress.
A study led by Dr. Dean Ornish studied individuals with significant coronary heart disease. This study found that the progression or regression of their heart disease was significantly impacted by their spiritual wellbeing.
What about you? What about me? I find that spirituality can be complicated in our society. I have Judeo/Christian beliefs and sometimes I may be “defined” by others as a result.
By “define,” I mean that there are times when some people may develop a preconceived “storyline” of what they think that I feel, think, or believe. When this happens, it prevents a genuine relationship from forming and creates distance.
Let’s get to know one another before writing that “storyline”. Was I kind, loving, helpful, and generous? This is what I want to be asked! It’s what I ask. This also leads to another segment in the Wheel of Health, “Social Wellness”. It all works together, including the times when we disagree.
My faith is my own. Yet…I find that I do sometimes worry about what others will think, I write my own storyline of what I think they feel about me. In many ways, I create more stress for myself in my spirituality than if I’d just embrace my own faith. Do you?
Sometimes it looks like living between the tension of these sentiments:
- “You are too religious”.
- “You aren’t spiritual enough”.
- “you are intolerant”.
- “You are too tolerant”.
- “you aren’t open-minded”.
- “You are too open-minded”.
If we spend our lives trying to please everyone, we will create more stress for ourselves and never “own” our own faith. We will be tossed to and fro, so to speak. This is a time when having a spiritual life will be detrimental to your health rather than beneficial. It becomes more of a set of prescriptions than a genuine spiritual life.
As you work on your Spiritual Wellness, it needs to bring you to a place of peace. This is when you begin to reap the mental and physical benefits. The bottom line is that we have to accept ourselves – all of ourselves. Your health and wellness begins here!
By the way, it also means not trying to control another person’s spirituality. If you are worried about someone’s faith position, keep in mind that love and kindness will go much farther in their hearts than anger, hatred, and rejection. It is also crucial to your own Wellness.
If your spiritual life leads to anger, hatred, wickedness, and ill-will, then I question your spiritual life. If your spiritual life leads to peace, understanding, compassion, and a willingness to serve others, then well done. You are on your road to balanced Wellness.
Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools, and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.