Most wellness experts define several dimensions of wellness, including: physical, mental/intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social. Ultimately, to be healthy and happy, one should strive to balance those five areas, letting no one dominate. This is easier said than done, especially as we all naturally gravitate to the areas that feel the most comfortable to us. I have two friends that exemplify for me what unbalance can look like.
She is of medium height with a soft, rather matronly, with a soft smile and kind eyes that immediately put you at ease. She has been through quite a bit in her five decades, and has developed a spiritual wisdom as a result. She is fully aware of her emotional existence, and embraces the emotions of others. She has a large social network and a smaller group of close friends which she sees on a regular basis.
This wonderful woman may not make to 60. Although she takes care of the physical needs of those around her, she disregards the requirements her body is screaming out for. She engages in little to no exercise and eats foods that are easy and comforting. On the phone, this person is a poster child for wellness, but her blood tests and BMI tell the full tale.
The other friend is a tall, lean, muscled man in his 30’s. His body speaks of the hours spent in the gym, his abs suggest no unhealthy food ever passes his lips. He is extremely intelligent, reads constantly, and is always looking to expand his knowledge base and engage in academic and scientific discourse.
This man is deeply unhappy. He is universally liked, yet shies away from the very friends who want to help him. He is afraid to explore his emotional and spiritual sides, preferring to intellectualized instead. This breaks my heart, especially because it reminds me of how I used to be, and I know how uncomfortable it is. This man could easily be on the cover of Men’s Health, but his inner life is not well.
Do you recognize yourself in either of these portraits? Are you unbalanced in your wellness? The areas that you dismiss as not being important and probably the ones where you have the most room to grow. None of us is a perfect balance, but we can all strive to become more centered.