Every day, people go to work and earn money to acquire material things and maintain them. Cars have to be maintained; homes have to be maintained; new clothes must replace old ones; bills have to be paid, etc. The motivation to take care of these responsibilities is sometimes to keep up with the Joneses and sometimes to enjoy a certain lifestyle. There is a cost associated with living this way, and oftentimes it is health and quality of life. What would motivate people to work just as hard to achieve a state of health and wellness?
In the early 1970’s, Dr. Bill Hettler stated that “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence." He identified the six dimensions of wellness as: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, and occupational. To live “well”, one must achieve balance across these six dimensions of human life. Living well ensures the best chance at optimal health. (Hettler)
So, what happens when someone does not prioritize being healthy and living well? The answer in a word is disease (or dis-ease). The body is sent into a state of imbalance which causes any number of the following ailments:
- Increased stress
- Weight gain
- Poor quality of sleep
- Mood swings
- Illness and symptoms of illness (i.e. headache, fatigue, elevated blood pressure)
- Accelerated aging
- Stressed adrenal glands
Emphasizing any number of dimensions at the exclusion of others will also affect personal relationships (family, spouse, friendships) as well as professional relationships. One seemingly simple solution is to plan and manage time well (which can be a very difficult skill to master) so that the individual can give full attention to his her surroundings/tasks (stay present in the moment). Time must be set aside for solitude, prayer, and meditation. There should also be time set aside for dedicated exercise and eating well. Once a daily routine geared towards a health and wellness lifestyle is established, then maintaining it becomes a priority.
The most important thing to remember is that without being healthy and well, everything else suffers. Productivity suffers. Moods suffer. Relationships suffer. Health suffers. Spiritual relationships suffer. Mental function suffers. Quality of life is, therefore, diminished and leaves the individual feeling empty and resentful of all the responsibilities he/she shoulders. So, what is the solution?
Re-prioritizing and setting life goals is a must. To accomplish each goal, the common thread is that health and wellness must be achieved and maintained first. There is very little that can be done well when the body is lethargic, overworked, and sick. Each dimension of wellness must be addressed in a balanced manner. Maybe one day per week is set aside for spiritual worship. Exercise may occur at least three days per week. Once or twice a month, a trip to the bookstore or library with the family may be warranted. Daily power naps may help recharge batteries. However it is achieved, everyone must be motivated to achieve a state of health and wellness as the key to quality of life.
Hettler, D. B. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2012, from Hettler.com: http://www.hettler.com/