What is wellness?

The Wellness Series | What is wellness?

Wellness is a broad, holistic integration of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Yes, it’s about fuelling the body nutritionally and physically, but it’s also about engaging the mind and nurturing our emotional wellbeing.  Not just surviving – but thriving. The World Health Organization has defined health as not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”.  Wellness is an attitude; the practice of healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, not jumping on a health fad or exercise craze. Several lifestyle areas are key dimensions of overall wellness. They include: social connectedness, exercise, nutrition, sleep and mindfulness. Each one has an impact on your physical and mental health – ie, your wellness. By making simple and healthy choices on a daily basis, you will be well on your way towards reducing stress and having positive social interactions.  

Social Connectedness

Connecting with friends or loved ones is a great way to help improve your physical and mental health. Strong ties with family, friends and the community provide us with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose. Being connected to others is important for our mental and physical wellbeing and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression. “What we try and emphasise is community – whatever that might mean for you,” says Healthfix Senior Coach Mark Wilson. “Healthfix embodies that social connectedness as all members of our public, whether they’re doing rehab or working towards performance-based goals – come together and work in the same space. It also serves a good education purpose, in that no matter the ability, we’re all trying to be better and improve.”  

Physical movement

Even 20 or 30 minutes of daily exercise can have a positive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing and help improve your mood. WHO has identified a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes high intensity exercise per week to have a marked impact on how people are feeling physically and emotionally. This is thanks to the release of endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter that helps relieve pain and stress. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which play an important part in regulating your mood and improving sleep cycles. Regular exercise also helps balance your body’s level of stress hormones. Don’t know where to start? Try a brisk walk on your lunch break or opt for the stairs instead of the lift when you can. “It is important that people get the appropriate type of physical activity,” advises Mark. “If you’re not sure, keep it low intensity. Light physical activity is a great way to help improve wellbeing and prevent injury.”  

Nutrition

By adding wholesome ingredients to your plate, you’ll be taking steps towards a healthier you. The food we eat gives our bodies the “information” and the materials they need to function properly. For example, your immune function thrives on vitamins A, E and C, while your metabolism is affected by potassium, niacin and B6.  “We are what we eat,” says Mark. “Nutrition is an absolute keystone to health and wellness – anyone can out-eat any exercise routine. It’s important to get the right foods in the right quantities, avoiding foods that might cause us harm.”  

Sleep

Sleeplessness and mood disorders are closely linked. And it can work both ways – sleep loss can affect your mood, and your mood can affect how much and how well you sleep.  Your amygdala is the fear processing unit in your brain. The good news is that not only is it reset during the night under deep REM sleep, it also becomes less active following a good night’s sleep.  Ask yourself: when was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed? Do you feel that you’re currently getting a good night’s sleep to energise you for the next day?  Consistent bedtime practices can help get you a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine after 12pm, include quiet and calm activities before going to bed, and wake up at the same time every day – these are simple ways you can begin your journey towards becoming a successful sleeper.  

Mindfulness

Did you know that practicing mindfulness is good for the body and mind, helps with focus and also changes the brain? Take a moment right now to consider your own mind and how you are feeling. The more you tap into your own thoughts, the more you may become aware of how you react to stressful events. Healthfix’s integrative approach can help you achieve optimal wellness, particularly through its Wellness Coaching program, where Mark and team can work with you to find solutions to areas which are presenting as roadblocks to leading a healthier more bountiful life. “If you take the word wellness out, and replace it with whatever you personally want to work on – say, routine, lifestyle, healthy eating, sleeping, motivation, anything – that’s essentially what wellness coaching is,” explains Mark. “The coaching element remains constant, it’s just the goal that changes.” Healthfix utilises different methodology in its wellness coaching, including The Check Institute’s holistic health system, which focuses on the four-doctor principal: Dr Diet, Dr Quiet, Dr Happiness and Dr Movement. Contact us today to find out more.