“How are you?”
It is a question that is commonly answered with “fine,” sometimes even “great.” Although the question, on the surface, is not very probing or invasive, it is sometimes more accurately answered with tears or sadness. Every day we are required to “show up” and how we are - more importantly, how we feel – really is what determines how present we can actually be. This is why whatever we have going on internally has such a strong effect on our output.
What is wellness?
The National Wellness Organization defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of - and make choices toward - a more successful existence. It is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential; is multi-dimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being and the environment; and is positive and affirming.”
The emotional dimension of wellness recognizes awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. Emotional wellness includes the degree to which one feels positive and enthusiastic about one’s self and life. It includes the capacity to manage one’s feelings and related behaviors, including the realistic assessment of one’s limitations, development of autonomy and ability to cope effectively with stress.
Beyond physical wellness
The general perception is that wellness consists of diet and exercise. People tend to think of wellness in terms of “how many steps am I taking per day?” “Am I eating right?” or “What physical activity challenge can I join?” While diet and exercise are crucial to overall health and wellness, often overlooked is the basic concept of feeling okay about one’s self and accepting that one’s life is moving in a positive direction. This internal feeling of self-satisfaction could be a contributing staying motivated enough to accomplish the external, physical aspect of overall wellness.
Achieving internal wellnessHaving a supportive network of friends and family is a major contributor to being able to manage our emotional highs and lows. A good, effective network of support gives us a feeling of safety and security and precludes us from having to go through emotional stressors alone. Sometimes, therapists and counselors are more effective at helping manage our emotions than our personal relationships are and that is fine too, as long as we remember to always turn to our available support networks when life gets overwhelming or stressful.
To be well, emotions cannot be ignored. They are critical to whole-being wellness. By managing our emotions, we become aware of how present we can be in any given situation and adapt accordingly. When we are aware of our own emotions and accept them, we can participate in healthy relationships at work and at play. Healthy relationships lead to productive interactions, which most likely lead to positive outcomes and success.
So, how are you…really?