The notion of sustainability, eco-living and the environment appears to be inextricably linked to the concept of wellness, and we couldn’t help but wonder; what exactly is wellness anyway?
It would be easy to assume wellness as an idea was some fever dream conjured up in a Californian desert in the last decade, but it is actually a modern concept with very ancient provenance. With both preventative and holistic measures as main principles of wellness, we can easily traces its origins back to ancient civilisations both in the East (China and India) and West (Greece and Rome).
Eventually, during the 19th century in the United States and Europe, the worlds of medical, religious and intellectual collided to work alongside conventional medicine to provide us with what we have come to know as wellness today.
A focus on natural, holistic approaches, prevention and self-healing has continued to guide us in the 21st century. What was once considered niche, has now infiltrated into the mainstream and can be said, has a place in practically all areas of life.
According to the National Wellness Institute, wellness is…
“A conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential. It is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment. It is positive and affirming.”
The Six Dimensions of Wellness, coined by Bill Hettler, incorporate:
Physical: Healthy bodies achieved through thoughtful exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.
Mental: Engagement with the world through education, problem-solving, creativity, etc.
Emotional: Increased emotional intelligence via awareness of, accepting of, and an ability to express one’s feelings (and those of others).
Spiritual: Our continuous search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
Social: Connecting with, interacting with, and contributing to other people and our communities.
Environmental: A healthy physical environment free of hazards; a great awareness of the role we play in bettering rather than diminishing the natural environment.
What these six aspects have in common, is a multidimensional agreement that one has to stay as close to their true self as possible, and work on increasing their awareness across all six categories. When it comes to leading a more sustainable lifestyle, perhaps the number one most important trait is, you guessed it; awareness.
It is with this awareness that allows us to live a more meaningful life day to day and also on a larger scale; for example, working harder for our environment and the future of sustainability can help us live more authentically and with purpose. These simple acts often leave us with positive feelings and emotions.