What is Health?
During this “New Year’s Resolution” time of the year, we tend to be consumed by only the physical aspect of health. But there is more going on that helps drive good health. The list below is not complete. I am just highlighting five dimensions that I believe we can all work on to become healthier individuals, not only in 2020 but throughout our time on this Earth.
Here are the five dimensions of health highlighted in this column::
Each one represents a bank account.
In which ones are you investing? In which ones are you bankrupt?
Balance in each of these aspects is vital to overall health and wellness as a human being.
This part of health is all about searching for your meaning and purpose in the human experience. It’s about staying true to yourself and living in a way that fuels your soul. Start by writing down realistically achievable goals that you want to accomplish in the short term. Then write down those big, long-term goals. Both sets should align with each other.
As you stay on task and achieve those short-term goals, you will find yourself closer and closer to those long-term goals you have set for yourself. They do not have to be fitness goals. It could be a general goal that you believe will honestly improve your quality of life within the next day, months or years.
Surround yourself with people that fuel your progress in life. It’s been said that we are the average of the five people closest to us. The energy people have either is fueling us or draining us. Choose people that fuel you and what you truly want out of this life.
When we veer off the path we have set out for ourselves — maybe we fall off the wagon we know we should be on or we are surrounded by people that are constantly draining our energy — our spiritual wellness starts to suffer. Your gut instinct can be a valid compass. Do what you know is best for you and your well being, and you will be amazed by how that action will flourish into other facets of your life.
Go to the yoga class you have been wanting to attend. Try a new fitness program your friends have been bugging you to try for the last six months. Start a new hobby. Live the life you know will fuel your soul. There is no more time to wait.
This part of wellness is probably the most familiar to us all. It consists of eating more whole foods and moving more on a regular basis. Try to avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs that may be doing more harm than good on your physical body.
SPOILER ALERT: “One glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away” mantra has no scientific support. But what we do know is that people who do only drink one glass of wine a day more than likely live a healthier lifestyle than those who drink excessively.
Your body was meant to move. No matter how old you are, no matter what physical limitation you may have, you need to MOVE MORE! That’s it. There is no magic supplement that is going to establish solid wealth in your physical health. You just have to move more. Our bodies can endure incredible physical bouts.
You don’t need to start by running 100 miles or signing up for the next triathlon. Maybe it’s going for a walk with your dog once a day. Maybe it’s going to park with your kids and playing with them one more time per week. Maybe it’s going to shoot hoops like you did back in the day for an hour. I don’t know where you are currently with your physical state, but if you are unhappy with how you feel, then the best advice I can give you is MOVE MORE.
Nutrition is the foundation of your physical wellness. Eat more REAL FOOD. What does that mean? If it was grown from this earth or it had a mom and it is not poisonous to your body, then you should have more of it. Don’t get caught up in “fad diets.” Just eat Real Food more often, cut out the processed junk food, fast food and sugar drinks. When you do this, your body will get the nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. You will sleep better, you will be in a better mood and you will improve your overall wellness.
Your mind is a muscle. It thrives on learning. Just like your body, it’s healthy to live in a state of continued learning, whether it’s starting to read 10 pages a day, dabbling in a new trade or picking up a new hobby or skill.
Continue to learn and stress your mind to keep it sharp. This may mean turning off the TV and picking up an actual book. Or instead of sitting around and waiting for the next day to come, start researching something that piques your interest. Take guitar lessons, join a pickup basketball league or try archery. Whatever piques your interest, Google that and find where you can do that locally.
We are social beings, introverted and extroverted alike. Having a person to vent to about a stressful day at work, a community to support you in your darkest time, friends to laugh with until your abs cramp are all part of the human experience and give us a sense of belonging in this world.
This goes back to surrounding yourself with good people who provide a positive influence in your life. Create experiences you will cherish for a lifetime. Also, return positive energy back to your social circles.
This aspect of health, I believe, is one of the most influential on all the others. We are most likely going to do what the pack does and in that it is important to be surrounded by people who influence you in the direction that you truly believe is best for your well-being.
Being emotionally balanced is key to sustaining meaningful relations. Knowing how to control your emotions, having a safe place to express your emotions, and sharing them honestly is important to maintaining good health.
Think about all the pressure you feel inside when your emotions are unstable. It’s important to release that pressure in a way that not only helps you find relief, but doesn’t hurt others in the process.
Every single one of these is tied into each other. They feed off one another. If our physical health isn’t up to par, then it affects our overall emotional stability. When our emotional health isn’t good, then our social health suffers. I could go on and on about the intertwining circle of these five aspects of health we have covered in this article.
It may seem overwhelming to make all the changes needed to be your healthiest self. Take it one step at a time. Write down your goals and every day do at least one thing that will get you one step closer to achieving that specific goal.
“Make each day your masterpiece” — John Wooden (one of the greatest coaches in American history)
— Drew Goodin, masters of arts, Athletic Training Certified, CrossFit evel 2 Certified is owner and head coach at CrossFit Council Bluffs.