Two years ago, after a coaching session with a client and reflecting on my father’s death and my heart condition, I took a good hard look at my life and wellness. I took the health guide and journal that I use with my clients and sat down, pondering how I had lived up until that point and considering what I wanted my future to look like, I realised holistic health and total wellbeing in my spirit, mind and body really mattered to me, and that my mission is to help as many people as I can in as many ways as I can.
There are five dimensions of health I want you to be aware of and for you to consider to live an optimal healthy life. Let’s have a look briefly at each of these five dimensions and how they’re related to one another.
Spiritual Dimension - Wellbeing of Spirit
Spiritual health relates to our sense of overall purpose in life. This purpose is found through our values, belief and faith. Having a purpose can help us maintain a proper perspective and overcome challenges in life. Often people who are spiritual meet together regularly to spend time in worship, prayer, scripture, reflection and meditation, which also helps to improve their social health.
To me, an important component of spiritual health is experiencing the presence of God. It’s the relationship with God. Just as a parent treasures every affectionate expression from their beloved child, so too is God touched by our every expression of loving devotion. Devotion is acknowledging God’s presence, with the ultimate goal of living your life to glorify and honour Him.
Physical Dimension - Wellbeing of Body
The physical dimension of health refers to the bodily aspect. Most would think of it as the absence of disease and illness. However, optimal health is a lot more than that. It is a complete physical wellbeing, with resourceful ways to improve bodily health such as healthy eating, fitness, nutritional supplements, rest and sleep.
Physical health often affects the other dimensions of health, as a decline in physical health can result in a decline in other forms of health. For example, if we suddenly get the flu we may be isolated socially so as to not infect others, struggle to focus on work, and may feel sad as a result of our isolation. If you are looking to be mentally healthy, take foods and supplements that contain nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to your overall health.
Emotional Dimension - Wellbeing of Soul
What about emotional health? Emotional health is confidence, attitude and the ability to appreciate and root for your friends; it’s about your mood and emotional state. It relates to your ability to recognise and express feelings and emotions, and maintains a realistic perspective on situations. It’s about your ability to realise your potential as an individual.
If we have good self-esteem we tend to be more confident in social settings, make friends easier and often perform better in physical activities.
Mental Dimension - Wellbeing of Mind
Mental health is a self-awareness, who you are relative to the rest of the world. It refers to the cognitive aspect of health and to our ability to use our mind and brain. This may include solving problems or recalling information.
An increase in mental health can come as a result of increased physical activities, and an increase in self-esteem as mental performance improves. Greater self-esteem then leads to more confidence in social situations and can help us explore the larger questions about life, leading to increased spiritual health.
Social Dimension - Wellbeing of Relationships
When you see people who are well, what do you see? You see that they are socially connected. The social dimension of health refers to our ability to make and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Good social health includes having rich connections with people around us, including family, friends and community. Good social health doesn’t make you feel alone.Social health affects the other dimensions of health in many ways. A bad social life can lead a person to question their purpose in life or feel isolated and unwanted. Such feelings can de-motivate people from physical activity and lead them towards depression.
All these dimensions are not separate entities. They are all intersecting. It’s all these balls that you have to juggle, and you have to think about them every single day. If you don’t work on discovering the parallel between your different health dimensions and the material world, you will continue to perhaps hide away, feel lonely and socially isolated, or spiral down to adrenal fatigue, stress, burnout and exhaustion. Even if you are successful, you are not happy and you are unfulfilled. And worst of all, it manifests an illness in your life.
Holistic view of health is a view in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social, should be taken into account and seen as a whole. Disease is a result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. We need to develop a much more holistic and well-rounded view of what it means to be healthy.
Even though our body may not be 'diseased', we do need to make sure that our soul & spirit are healthy too.