Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person? Do you see health and wellbeing as one and the same thing and as something you either have or haven’t got?
We don’t generally ask “How is your health?” We say “How are you? “Are you well?” We either “feel’ well or we don’t. We say “Yes, thank you, I’m fine”, or “No, I’ve not been so well lately.” Being well is what really matters to us.
Health can be viewed as something you ‘have’ and wellbeing as how you are ‘being’ or feeling, with the health you have. Are you happy with, or accepting of, your state of health? Or do you complain and strive and work at it being better? Are you anxious about it? Are you feeling well, given the health (condition) you have?
Generally, health is seen as the absence of disease – physical or mental (negative) or achieving a state of physical fitness and mental stability (positive). Wellbeing is a more holistic approach, which accommodates all the physical, social, mental, intellectual, and emotional factors that contribute to being well.
While you can’t always choose your health, wellbeing can be a matter of choice! Every day you get to choose how best to nurture your physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing. It is up to you to see how you can balance all of these for the sake of optimal health. It’s your life.
Factors Influencing Health and wellbeing
Health and wellbeing have their differences, but both are influenced by the same factors:
· Balanced diet
What you put in most definitely determines what you get out. Eating to improve your immunity has never been more important than in the last year and a half! Nourish the mind and the body to feel healthy and maintain a good weight.
· Sleep, rest, and relaxation
Reboot your mind and body. You will benefit from improved concentration, a refreshed body, and restored energy.
Work out regularly to control weight and improve mobility, circulation and fitness levels. The resultant chemical changes in the brain lead to the development of a positive mood.
It is not necessary to commit to a gym membership or to spend hours pumping iron. Figure out what gets you moving that you enjoy and do that: walk with a friend, your pets, or by yourself; dance, swim, or cycle. YouTube exercise videos are great and offer so many activities and new ideas to try.
· Leisure activities, work, and education
For all-around improved life and mental ability, learn new skills. It builds a sense of purpose, boosts self-confidence, and allows connection with others who are like-minded. Don’t settle on a plateau.
Find something you want to do. Let yourself wonder and be inspired by all that you don’t yet know. Take a course: cooking, history, learn the piano or new language, sewing, painting … hobbies are fun …. or take up a sport.
DIY projects will not only whittle down your to-do list but improve your mental wellbeing. Get busy in the garden, fix that gate, or organise your junk drawer.
· Emotional support
Good relationships that build self-worth and improve self-esteem are vital for all-around wellbeing. Interact kindly with friends and family, and even those in your professional circles. They give you the opportunity to share positive experiences, provide emotional support and contribute to others.
- Make time every day to be with your family even it’s only eating a meal together
- Plan an outing with friends
- Disconnect from technology to connect with your children, friends, or family
- Make a lunch or coffee date with a colleague
- Volunteer where you know you can make a difference
- Connect with technology to stay in touch with friends and family via video chat. Be mindful however not to rely too much on technology or social media to connect.
· Financial security
Allows you to not be tethered by worries over resources. Match your outgoings to your incomings.
It’s all about flow and balance.
Risks to health and well-being
The old question arises. Nature or nurture? Genes and the environment both affect your health and wellbeing.
It would be great if we were as enthusiastic about preventing illness and disease as we are about treating the symptoms when they arise. We often take good health for granted as assume we will always have it, despite what we do. Focusing on wellbeing aims to achieve optimal health right now! When we are not feeling well, when we are down or in a low mood, we do all sorts of crazy things to feel better, often damaging our health in the process, such as over-indulging on fatty foods and sugars, smoking and/or drinking excess alcohol, or lashing out at our loved ones. While pollution, genetic, social, and economic factors are largely out of our hands, we have more control over our choices than we think! Healthy thinking is the foundation of wellbeing.
Well-being comes with happiness and life satisfaction. Life satisfaction and happiness also come with well-being. Get your mind right. Connect with people you love and like. Find activities, exercise, and hobbies you enjoy, and do them. Get moving. Choose to be optimistic and enjoy every day. Today is the perfect day to choose wellbeing and in so doing gain, regain and maintain good health.