Dimensions of wellness

Right, so life is a rough ride. It is difficult – and there's no getting around that. But there's a lot you can choose to do to make the journey a lot easier. Let's face it, having worn shocks usually doesn't bother you, until you hit a gravel road in the middle of nowhere or you need to swerve quickly to prevent an oncoming truck.

So what has this got to do with wellness? Quite a lot, if you think about it. Wellness is about choosing to fix those shocks before you hit the bumpy road. It's about making a choice to be healthy and to take active steps to make it happen.

And the good news is that choosing to be healthy is an ongoing present to yourself. It doesn't cost much and you will be happier for it every day – not just on your birthday.

Choosing health and wellness requires you to become aware of the choices you can make and the ones you are able to make. The responsibility becomes yours and will benefit you and all those around you.

Dimensions of wellness

The physical aspect
If we are physically well, we are able to care for and enjoy our bodies. And good care of our bodies includes a healthy diet, physical fitness, regular exercise, regular, but correct use of supplements and a generally healthy attitude to life.

The mental/intellectual aspect
We use our minds to think, reason and analyse. It can be our greatest asset, but also our greatest stumbling block. Much of our stress is mental. Everyone has stress - it's how we handle it that determines how happy and successful we are. If we are mentally healthy, we can collect knowledge and wisdom from our own experiences and from the world around us.

The emotional aspect
Most of our healing work needs to be done on the emotional level. If we constantly feel anger, frustration, resentment and fear will not only sap our energy, but it will impact on our health and sense of well-being. Suppressing feelings can be detrimental to our health, while emotion expressed appropriately can lead to health and healing.

The spiritual aspect
This is the level of our inner being. Our soul gives us our sense of deeper meaning and makes us aware of our goal and purpose in this life. It is through our soul that we are connected to other aspects of the universe.

The social aspect
We are all social beings and our social needs drive us to seek contact with others and to make some sort of contribution to the community. It encourages us to seek harmony with other people and with nature.

The occupational aspect
Working, if we are lucky, does more than provide us with money to pay our bills. We can derive a sense of personal satisfaction and enrichment through our work. Through this we can also make a contribution to the world around us, which in turn gives fulfilment.

(Dr Arien van der Merwe, General practitioner and wellness expert)

(Health24, updated June 2010)

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