What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
The driving purpose for all of our actions as human beings is to be happy. You don't need extensive scientific studies to prove this. Just look into your own life. Why do you do the things you do?
Whether it's pursuing a career, raising a family, or finally getting that new shiny object you've always wanted, the end goal is always the same. You want to be happy and to feel a deep sense of satisfaction and wellbeing. Even mundane activities like brushing your teeth in the morning or going on a healthy diet, have wellbeing and happiness as the desired outcome.
Here are 5 areas of our lives we can work on and develop in order to experience more happiness and wellbeing on all levels.
Holistic View and Interdependence
Everything is interconnected. Ayurvedic, Tibetan, and Chinese medical systems all stress the importance of treating the whole person when dealing with illness and disease.
Our physical health is dependent on the food we eat, clean water and air, as well as access to quality medical care. Emotional wellbeing is connected to our physical health and whether or not our basic needs are being met. Mental health affects our emotional states, while a deep and heartfelt spiritual life can sustain a person even when all other areas of their life are out of whack.
Somatic Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
How well do you know your body? How literate are you in the wide range of emotions you experience moment by moment, each and every day?
Being in tune with our physical and emotional experience allows us to recognize more easily when things "just aren't right". We can then respond proactively to imbalances before they begin to manifest as full-blown physical and emotional illness.
Meditation is a great way to cultivate and develop these skills of body awareness and emotional intelligence.
Connecting with Nature
When was the last time you kicked off your shoes and walked across a grass lawn or a sandy beach? How do you feel when you sit outside and listen to the birds in the trees, or the sound of waves lapping on the shore? We live in a society that is disconnected from the natural rhythms of life. We experience a great deal of reality through a mere facsimile shining through tiny screens.
When we reconnect with nature-even if it's simply a matter of going out for a walk in a park-we are able to tap into the healing properties of the earth, the fresh air, and the silence.
Compassion for Self and Others
The basic teachings of almost all spiritual traditions is that cultivating love and compassion for our fellow human beings leads to our own fulfillment and wellbeing. When we're concerned with others as much as we are concerned with ourselves, our own lives begin to improve.
In order to do this, we have to understand, recognize, and accept the truth that everyone, including ourselves, suffers. This is a tough pill to swallow. We generally don't want to look at suffering in the face.
But once we do-and especially when we see that everyone else suffers in the same ways we do-we can begin the lifelong journey of developing real compassion for ourselves and others.
Being of service to others is another way we can increase and optimize our overall wellbeing. Ironically, much of our suffering and unhappiness comes from being overly self-centered. We strive and strive to meet all of our needs and accomplish all of our goals, yet we still wind up feeling dissatisfied or incomplete.
Helping others, whether volunteering one's time or giving money, has been shown to increase one's sense of happiness. Volunteer work, mentorship, and being involved in community organizations are all simple ways to offer service to others and reap the benefits of giving.