Studies show that feeling connected to your spouse and having a good marriage is beneficial to a person's physical health as the spousal relationship is the most intimate relationship of all relationships. Wellness encompasses much more than physical health. There is mounting evidence that working on intimate relationships with loved ones and making physical lifestyle changes can often prevent certain non-communicable diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and mental health disorders. Wellness is an active choice of taking responsibility for one's choices to work towards an optimal state of health and well being. Working on intimate family relationships, learning conflict resolution skills and stress-reduction techniques, having a healthy work-family life balance and making physical lifestyle changes can have an enormous impact on health. Generally, most wellness models incorporate at least the following seven dimensions:
1. Physical- Nurturing a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, proper sleep, and mental well-being.
2. Intellectual- Stimulating the mind through active participation in learning, problem-solving, creativity, cultural or community activities, etc.
3. Emotional- Being aware of and expressing feelings, and being able to understand the feelings of others. This involves learning healthy conflict resolution techniques and being able to accept constructive feedback in addition to giving constructive feedback in a healthy manner.
4. Spiritual- Searching for meaning and a higher purpose in human existence, and participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values.
5. Social- Connecting with your spouse, friends and family in a meaningful way by developing deep, long lasting connections, and contributing to your community.
6. Vocational- Preparing for and participating in meaningful and rewarding work that provides personal satisfaction that is consistent with your values, goals, unique gifts and skills.
7. Financial- Managing your resources to live within your means, having realistic financial goals, making informed financial decisions and investments and being prepared for future needs and emergencies.
Change your habits, change your life!
Making changes for optimal wellness is more achievable with strategies than enhance your chance for success. Some helpful strategies in changing old habits and developing new habits that strengthen relationships and foster optimal wellness include: being purposeful in connecting with your spouse, friends and family; setting goals and making a schedule to meet your goals; having systems of personal accountability and encouragement from your spouse, friends and family to meet your goals; abstaining from harmful behaviors by replacing harmful behaviors with positive behaviors; evaluating your life to detect rationalizations and false assumptions in your life; and decreasing idle alone time.
Wellness is a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to optimize your potentials and circumstances to be the best kind of person that you can be. Are you going to accept yourself or expect more from yourself? Are you going to be stagnant in your present circumstances, or move towards a better future? The present and future lie in the choices that you make today.
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