In Indian milieu and culture where only physical fitness gets plenty of attention, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental well-being remain ignored or little understood.
This testing pandemic lockdown period has opened an opportunity for us to understand the importance of our overall well being. The daily news on tragedy,death,doom and suicide amid the present restrictions can be traumatic and take a toll on our overall well-being.
Therefore,it is important to understand that just as our lower physical immune system can put us at risk , similarly a head full of darkness, a heart replete with loneliness,a life without purpose or shakened belief about our suddenly changed environment can also cause a peril. In other words, it is necessary to fathom the meaning of our overall well-being explained as under and explore all these dimensions to take charge of our own health.
Optimal physical health requires eating well, exercising, avoiding harmful habits, making responsible decisions about sex, learning about and recognizing the symptoms of disease, getting regular medical and dental checkups, and taking steps to prevent injuries at home, on the road, and on the job. The habits you develop and the decisions you make today will largely determine not only how many years you will live, but also the quality of your life during those years.
Optimism, trust, self-esteem, self acceptance, self-confidence, self-control, satisfying relationships, and an ability to share feelings are just some of the qualities and aspects of emotional wellness. Emotional health is a dynamic state that fluctuates with your physical, intellectual, spiritual, interpersonal and social, and environmental health. Maintaining emotional wellness requires monitoring and exploring your thoughts and feelings, identifying obstacles to emotional wellbeing, and finding solutions to emotional problems, with the help of a compassionate partner or a therapist,if necessary.
The hallmarks of intellectual health include an openness to new ideas, a capacity to question and think critically, and the motivation to master new skills, as well as a sense of humor, creativity, and curiosity. An active mind is essential to overall wellness, for learning about, evaluating, and storing health-related information. Your mind detects problems, finds solutions, and directs behavior. People who enjoy intellectual wellness never stop learning. They relish new experiences and challenges and actively seek them out. This is how they also build resilience.
To enjoy spiritual health is to possess a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that give meaning and purpose to your life, especially during difficult times. Spiritual wellness involves the capacity for love, compassion, forgiveness, altruism, joy, and fulfillment. It is an antidote to cynicism, anger, fear, anxiety, self-absorption, and pessimism. Spirituality transcends the individual and can be a common bond among people. Organized religions help many people develop spiritual health. Many others find meaning and purpose in their lives on their own-through nature, art, meditation, political action, or good works.
Interpersonal and Social Wellness
Satisfying relationships are basic to both physical and emotional health. We need to have mutually loving, supportive people in our lives. Developing interpersonal wellness means learning good communication skills, developing the capacity for intimacy, and cultivating a support network of caring friends and/or family members. Social wellness requires participating in and contributing to your community, country, and world.
Environmental or Planetary Wellness
Personal health depends on the health of the planet- from the safety of the food supply to the degree of violence in a society. The current scenario of pandemic has given rise to spread of fear, uncertainties, threat to life, insecurity, and unsafe and unstable existence of human life on earth. To reach out to Wellness amongst such circumstances requires learning about and protecting yourself against these hazards-and doing what you can do to reduce or eliminate them, either on your own or with the help of others. But the right step in this direction would always begin with working on one’s own individual self,and taking charge of the surroundings step-by-step with positive self- beliefs.
These six dimensions of wellness interact continuously, influencing and being influenced by one another. Making a change in one dimension often affects some or all of the others. Maintaining good health is a dynamic process and increasing your level of wellness in one area of life often influences many others.
When uncertainties during a pandemic threaten to leave many of us in deeply stressful situations, it becomes our duty to explore the above mentioned wellness dimensions in order to bring emotional balance, clarity, fulfillment, joy to experience exuberance of life.
(The author is a social activist and
an educational consultant)