Biological wellness is impacted by diet, sleep, exercise, and sometimes medication and other interventions. A well balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and other goodies has a tremendous impact on mental health. Unhealthy diets feed depression and fatigue. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period to achieve optimum mental capacity and emotional stability. Exercise releases “feel good” endorphins, relieves stress, increases energy, and helps you sleep at night. If you’re having trouble in any of these areas, take a look at what options are available to get yourself on track and headed in the right direction.
Psychological wellness is based in thought patterns. Do you see the cup as half full or half empty? Our thoughts have a direct impact on how we feel and how we behave. Keep a thought log and notice how different thoughts impact your life. The wonderful thing about thoughts is that if they’re not quite where you want them to be, you can change them. It’s not always easy, but a lot of the most rewarding things in life come through hard work and persistence.
Social wellness is defined by your connection to other people. Healthy people have a healthy social support network. They involve themselves with a variety of people, benefiting from both the give and the take of relationships. They practice effective communication skills, set healthy boundaries, take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and balance time alone with time with others. If you lack social connection or are having trouble in any of your primary relationships, put some energy into finding ways to resolve these deficits.
Spiritual wellness involves a connection to a Higher Power. Whether your idea of a Higher Power comes from religious texts, science books, or life experience, you can find peace, strength, and wisdom from connecting with that power. Being in groups of like-minded people is a great way to strengthen your connection, as is prayer, meditation, yoga, and short or long readings that fit your beliefs. A great way to start getting connected to a Higher Power is to answer the questions: How do I define my Higher Power, and what does my Higher Power have to offer me?
Wellness is a journey with highs and lows, ups and downs. I try very hard as a therapist to be with my clients on this journey, to share the wisdom I’ve gained from my studies, my personal experience, and most of all from my experiences with other clients, and to support my clients in achieving wholeness in a way that feels right for them. I encourage you to assess your own well-being according to the biopsychosocial-spiritual model described here, and to take steps every day to achieve the wellness you deserve.