The Three Pillars of Wellness
Today, more and more people are becoming health conscious and striving for a healthier lifestyle. People are now making small adjustments to this path to better health, whether it is exercising or simply altering their diet for a healthier alternative. The food industry has also hopped on the band wagon by developing healthier options for the public. Now, whether a fad or not, countless "healthier" products are being offered on the market as a result of health consciousness.
Personally, I have been on this journey of wellness for many years. What is my key to success and how do I stay on track, you may ask? Well, it is extremely important for me to align my Body, my Mind and my Soul into a positive space. In fact, it is essential to note that wellness is not an easy task at hand. Instead, it is a full commitment that requires sacrifice and mental endurance. I believe that whatever you do in life, you have to fully commit and give your absolute best.
Where/How do I start? To be honest, I started working out for the wrong reason. Truth be told, I was more motivated by vanity and feeding my ego rather than focusing on being healthy. You get into this euphoric state when your body is transforming into remarkable physical shape. Then, your ego is fed by friends, family and even strangers paying you compliments on your looks on a daily basis. This is where a lot of people get lost or develop an addiction as their ego keeps inflating. There is nothing wrong in wanting to transform your body into great physical shape. The important thing here is to remember that the emphasis should be placed on being healthy. It then may be very overwhelming to navigate through this journey of wellness as there is a huge database of information. Often times, people may be helpless and unable to figure out what their starting point should be. I am very guilty of falling into that trap of information overload with misleading steps that can hinder your success with wellness.
As my body ages it will be grateful for the alignments I have achieved thus far with this concept. In fact, my notion of wellness has completely changed from my early days as I realized that my focus needs to be placed on my health rather than solely on my appearance.
What is my definition of wellness you may ask? A healthy Mind, a healthy Body and a healthy Soul equate happiness for me. From that point of view, I have developed three main pillars of wellness that I live by: Body|Mind|Soul.
The Body: The human body is an incredible master piece. We should honor it; fully educate ourselves on how it works. The key here is to understand that although as human we have the same body (same anatomy with regards to male / female), we are all designed uniquely. What works for person X may not necessarily work for person Y in terms of fitness. Getting in tune with one's body is one of many factors of success in wellness. More often, people tend to devote all their effort on the Body given it is the physical part of wellness.
-Exercise (Working out): It is no secret there are no magic pills; you have to put in the work in order to see results. That means exercising at least three times a week. Personally, I enjoy weightlifting whenever I can get to a gym. I would advise having a workout program. Set some achievable goals and work every time toward succeeding them. Remember to strive for progress not perfection (baby steps).
-Sleep: Sleep plays a very important role on your overall health. In fact, a goodnight sleep is extremely beneficial not only for your physical health, but also your mental health and your quality of life as a whole. According to a research conducted by the national sleep foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org) an adult needs on average about 7 to 9 hours of sleep. It is important to note that while you sleep, your body is working on regenerating and repairing your muscle cells. Also, during sleep, the human body is working to support healthy brain function - something beneficial for your overall well-being.
-Nutrition: Very often we hear the phrase: “You are what you eat!” That is because nutrition is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. Once again, one can get lost with the numerous diet plans that are flooding the market. Education is then key in determining what type of food we should consume that will nourish our body. In fact, it is important to choose food with appropriates nutrients, vitamins and minerals for our body to function at its best and stay healthy.
The Mind: The human mind is extremely complex to fully comprehend. It can be our greatest power yet also our greatest hindrance. It is then important to cultivate and nourish your mind in a healthy environment. This wellness pillar encompasses psychology and sociology on a bigger spectrum.
A healthy mind is equally as important as a healthy body as they both promote well-being. On one hand, it becomes very important to ensure that our mind stays in a positive and healthy state at all times. To do so, we have to constantly cultivate, nourish and sharpen it. Thus, doing only activities that we enjoy, sharing laughter with love ones, learning new things are just few tips that can help.
On the other hand, very often, we tend to get caught up with our daily stressful life that can take a toll on our mental health. In fact, we sometimes allow trivial matters to consume our thoughts and negatively influence our mind. We then have no room or energy for generating creative, positive thoughts. Let us not forget that the mind is powerful. What we allow to consume our thoughts influences who we are as a person. One of the greatest lessons that I have learned is the art of protecting my inner peace by any means necessary.
The Soul: This wellness pillar is about spirituality and connecting with a higher power. One lesson that I have learned throughout the years is that there is something bigger than us in this world. Whatever denomination you choose to call it - GOD, The UNIVERSE -connecting to it brings me joy and inner peace. Spirituality brings balance to my life in a sense of peace, purpose, and connection to others. For example, early in the morning I like to start my day with positive affirmations followed by some spiritual meditation. It allows me to start my day fresh and it cleanses my soul from any negativity.
Plus, spirituality brings a sense of comfort and clarity to my life. Following the same train of thoughts, I believe that whatever happens to us in life, good or bad, is actually meant to happen. We should not allow our emotions to cloud our judgment as it is meant to be a teachable moment for us. There is a reason behind everything and we should take it as a learning lesson. The rational here is that we all have a uniquely designed path in life that is full of obstacles but also blessings. "What is yours is yours".
Aligning these three pillars the Body, The Mind and the Soul allow me to be whole as a person. We sometimes put a lot of emphasis on only one of the three pillars (Body) and forget to put as equal effort on the other two pillars (Mind and Soul). I believe wellness is the sum of all three pillars. It goes without saying that we should take some time and work on not only the body, but also the mind and the soul. The key to a successful healthy lifestyle is then to have a great balance with the Body, the Mind and the Soul.