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What is Wellness?

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Wellness

Very Smart Girls will celebrate its 10th Birthday on July 27, 2019!  In honor of this milestone, I will provide an update on my first 4 blogs- There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two, What is Wellness?, An Effective Way to be Present- Do Not Compare, and 2 Essential Guidelines to Create a New Habit.

Original Post

What is Wellness?

Being your best possible self – physically, mentally, and emotionally – is what wellness means to me.  It is about having a personal commitment and practice to be physically, mentally, and emotionally conscious and optimized. One facet does not overshadow another; they are all important.

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellness Ideas

Ways to be physically optimized may include exercising, eating nutritious meals or taking vitamins.  Ways to be mentally optimized may include having positive thoughts or repeating a mantra to yourself.  On the emotional level, you can take the time to feel your feelings or maturely expressing your feelings to others.

Double and Triple Wellness Dipping

Let’s take the practice of getting a good night’s sleep.  You might first think of the physical benefits of being rested, however, there are mental and emotional benefits as well.  You are likely to think more clearly and to be more relaxed after a good night’s sleep.  This is a triple dip!

What about dancing with others?  This can be a double or triple dip as well.  You are moving around and getting physical exercise, you may be emotionally connecting to others (and perhaps the music), and you may be mentally repeating positive lyrics.

Quotations on Wellness

  • “Wellness is generally used to mean a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of well-being.” Wikipedia
  • “Wellness can be described as a state that combines health and happiness. Thus those factors that contribute to being healthy and happy also will be contributing to being well.” Wikipedia
  • “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow

Wellness- Beyond the Traditional

I have experienced non-traditional, or alternative, wellness practices such as yoga, meditation, and sound healing.  I look forward to sharing these and other wellness ideas with you.

10 Years Later – Meditation

During the last 10 years I have developed a daily morning and evening meditation practice.  The first 5 years required a fair amount of effort, trial and error, and figuring out what worked for me. I have heard it said that the only “wrong” way to meditate, is not to meditate! I agree.

I meditate before I get out of bed because I’m physically comfortable and can be still, I don’t go back to sleep, and it is easy for me (“Practice When it’s Easy”). I close my eyes and bring my awareness to my breath for 20-30 minutes. If you have a strong monkey mind you may want to practice guided meditation. Listening to the peaceful voice of someone else is a good way to tame the voice in your head.

For 30-45 minutes at night I typically listen to a guided meditation – in bed before I go to sleep. I do not believe that you have to be in any particular posture or place to meditate.  My experience is that the more natural the when/where/how of your meditation, the more likely you will develop a graceful practice. Look for leverage- I leverage my comfy bed!

Meditation and being in the present moment is typically categorized as mental wellness, however, it is has positive emotional and physical benefits.  When you quiet your thinking mind you open up a space for fresh thoughts and wisdom, you feel more peaceful (hence patient), and the opportunity to make better decisions is available to you (including not making a decision until something becomes more clear). 

Meditating is the gift that keeps on giving. You lighten up when you thoughts lighted up.

You may want to read “There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two – 10 Years Later”, “Holding vs Waiting”, “Breathing is Not an Option”, “5 Reasons to Live in the Present Moment” and “The Volunteer Wellness Effect”

photo credit: Mike Baird

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