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August 2016

Intellectual Wellness by Why The Health Not?™
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Intellectual Wellness: How Hungry Are You To Learn?

If you’re reading even this first line, chances are your intellectual wellness is already pretty solid because you’re curious about it. The fact that you want to learn more about your wellness indicates you have a thirst for knowledge. And that’s awesome!

Intellectual Wellness Means Exercising Your Cognitive Powers

The obvious way is through education, but there are many more approaches that don’t involve enrolling in night school. We can all agree, your brain is a muscle, and you need to use it to keep it sharp and healthy. Give it a great workout by engaging in activities that challenge your mind, force you to solve problems or puzzles that broaden your cognitive powers and stretch your imagination.

Quality, Not Quantity

It’s important to understand that intelligence isn’t defined by how much you know. Intellectual wellness measures your willingness and ability to learn and apply new concepts to your everyday life. This one pillar of wellness should support the other five.

What’s the state of your current intellectual wellness? Take a moment to assess this short list:

  • Are you able to easily access the information you need?
  • How fast can you recall memories?
  • Can you solve problems without getting stressed?
  • Is your concentration easily broken?
  • Do you enjoy learning?
  • Can you become a better reader?
  • Is it difficult for you to learn new concepts?
  • Do you get confused easily?
  • What’s your reaction to those with higher intellect?
Find The Gaps and Fill Them

If you’re not sure how to accurately measure your current intellectual wellness, there are professionals who can give you valuable insight. In addition to understanding your emotional health, psychologists are also trained to aid in the understanding of knowledge. Remember, the goal isn’t to determine you’re intelligence. You’ve already read half this blog! Rather, it’s to determine what you can do to boost your intelligence—and point you to resources that can help you achieve your intellectual wellness goals.

The Sky’s The Limit

With a baseline of your intellectual wellness, you’re ready to set goals. The loftier the better; many avenues are free, thanks to the Internet, public libraries, and specialized meet-ups. Whatever you decide on, try to stick it out for a while. Give yourself permission to fail and try again. Making your mind stronger and sharper will pose just as many challenges as what goes into making your body stronger. Don’t let difficult roadblocks turn you away from your goals. In fact, the more you persist, the more resilient you’ll become. And guess what? That in itself will make your mind stronger over time.

Sharpest Tool In The Shed

Those with heightened intellectual wellness possess the best tools for life enhancement. In previous articles, we discussed the importance of physical, emotional and social wellness, and how those pillars support intelligence:

  • physical activities increase brain function and knowledge retention
  • proper nutrition promotes cognition and memory
  • proper sleep reduces stress on the brain
  • emotional balance frees up your ability to use logic to solve problems
  • all of the above boost your self-confidence

Are there any limits to intellectual wellness? No, there aren’t. And on that note, here’s a great quote to retain in that growing mind of yours:

Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.Carl von Clausewitz

 

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social wellness by Why The Health Not?
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Social Wellness Is Defined By You, Not Them

Social media would have you believe social wellness is defined by how many likes, shares, and followers you get in an hour, a day, a week. If being judged by the pictures of your food and your pet were the criteria, they might be correct. Yeah . . . No.

Social Wellness Is About Relationships

Specifically, making the most of the ones you have while also finding ways to make new ones. Just as with your previous two pillars, you’ll need to first understand your current social state. It’s not measured by how many friends you have, or how often you engage in activities, but rather how your relationships and activities are fulfilling your needs. And only you can determine what your social needs are.

Let’s take a look at the underlying factors that define your social needs. How many can you relate to?

  • Are you lonely?
  • Do you enjoy your current relationships?
  • How do you make time for others?
  • What activities have you regretfully passed up?
  • Do friends and family invite you to participate?
  • Are you available to engage in activities?
  • What hobbies or interests are you ignoring?
  • Having a hard time finding activities that interest you?
  • Would you do more if you had a partner?
Balance vs. Co-Dependency

It’s important to understand that each relationship will be different, depending on the person at the other end. However, almost all functional relationships require both people to maintain a level of independence and autonomy. When we find ourselves in a relationship based primarily on satisfying a need (like love, loneliness, or something else that benefits one person more than the other) it creates “co-dependency.” This places an undue burden on you or the other person, which is often not healthy.

Self-Assessment

Social wellness means you are meeting your needs outside of your relationships. For example, if you need love, you need to love yourself before someone else can love you (and vice versa). If you’re in a relationship where you feel loved but don’t share the sentiment for the other person, it becomes easier to cause pain. This will definitely be a drag on your social wellness (and theirs).

Now apply this idea to casual friendships, professional contacts, family dynamics, etc. The goal is to make sure you’re not taking advantage of someone else. And making sure someone else isn’t taking advantage of you.

Plan of Action

Now that you’ve taken a moment to assess your current state of social wellness, start making yourself socially healthier. Go out there and do things! What activities do you enjoy? Plan them and find ways to bring others along. If you’re happier outside and being active, invite others to play along. If you prefer being indoors, make plans for company and enjoy social time that way.

There’s nothing wrong with alone time. But if you find yourself alone more often than not—and noticing it with regret—maybe it’s time to take a proactive approach and invite others into your private space. Not only could joint activities strengthen your relationships, being social could boost your self-esteem, as well.

Choose Your Activities With Care

Think of the behaviors you engage in. Some will be positive and others will be negative. Can you see how each will have a direct effect on your other pillars of wellness? How can you balance the good from the bad so your social pillar doesn’t erode too much? If you find yourself engaging in too many activities that have negative results (and we’re all guilty of that at times), make a deliberate shift. Find time to volunteer, taking in the cultural arts in your area, take time to travel, participate in team sports, games, and recreational activities. See? That’s not so hard.

Something as simple as movie night can help strengthen relationships that lean toward the negative—and improve your mood and self-esteem very naturally. Negative social activities you engage in without your partner might damage your relationship, and increase stress. That affects your emotional wellness pillar. By making poor choices, you harm yourself in other ways. If you wake up the next morning feeling as like you’ve been run over by a truck, it might be best to avoid those trucks!

Put Yourself On The Priority List

Of course, the more responsibilities you have, the harder it is to balance your social life with obligations that top your priority list. You’re the one that decides how important your social wellness is. You’ll always have responsibilities—to work, school, family, etc. However, how you spend your free time and with whom is entirely up to you.

Make social activities a priority in your life. And involve the ones you care about. It will make all your other obligations easier to participate in. Most importantly, it will reduce your overall stress.

So, go ahead. Give yourself an afternoon off for play. It may make your workweek that much easier to enjoy.

 


Quotes To Remember

 

“The wellness and prevention market will outgrow the healthcare market.”Leroy Hood

“A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.”Hippocrates

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Emotional Wellness Pillar by Why The Health Not?
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Emotional Wellness Begins With A Proactive Approach

Emotional wellness is the pillar that supports your mental health—and your ability to understand how and why you feel the way you do. It’s perhaps the least understood of our 6 Pillars of Wellness. But being aware of your feelings is not enough. It’s also important to understand how your feelings affect your day-to-day life, and how forces beyond your control impact emotional wellness.

Managing Your Emotional Wellness

If you believe controlling your feelings is beyond your grasp, think again. Believe it or not, you have plenty of influence. You can proactively shape your attitude toward more positive feelings. This will improve your overall mood and mental state. It’s no wonder the strength of the first two pillars of wellness (physical and emotional) determine the strength of the remaining four (social, intellectual, financial, and spiritual).

Accept Who You Are

The first step toward shaping your emotional wellness pillar is acceptance: accept who you are and how you feel about certain things. Give yourself permission to be happy with who you are and why you feel. Once you’ve chosen to accept your feelings, you’ve established firm footing toward stepping up your emotional wellness.

My Map Is Different From Yours

Mapping emotional wellbeing and mental health is unique to each individual. Much like a fingerprint, each map varies from one person to another. It’s important to understand we each see the world differently, and the world impacts each of us differently. Not only is that okay, it’s inherently human. The reasons for our differences may not be easy to define, or even justify. But identifying our trigger points on our emotional wellness roadmap will help us navigate around them, or meet them head on.

Let It All Out

Start your personalized blueprint: Express your emotions. Expose them to someone you trust who understands you. Loved ones are the obvious choice, and trusted friends are another. Depending on the complexity of your emotional pillar, it may be wise to consult a mental health professional. Counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists are trained to help you better understand yourself. Beginning your blueprint to emotional wellness with professional help can put you on a fast track toward achieving your goals.

Shine A Light On Triggers

Once we begin the process of expressing our feelings, we can recognize them. Now is the time to strengthen emotional expressions against our triggers. That’s how we make this pillar the basis for stronger bonds. Important relationships with family, friends and co-workers will improve. Why is that? Because the strength of your emotional pillar dictates the strength of your communication skills. And that’s a key ingredient for success in all the other pillars of wellness.

The basic elements of emotional wellness make a short list, but each of the three listed below has its complexities. How many can you relate to? How many have you already tackled?

DEPRESSION

It’s hard to go through life without experiencing depression at some point, on multiple levels. When it becomes debilitating, some look to professionals and consider antidepressants. Exercise may be a better option. In some cases, it’s almost as effective as antidepressants. And without the negative side effects. Exercise reduces inflammation, releases endorphins, increases libido, corrects sleep cycles, increases motivation, and even improves memory.

And let’s not forget the physical benefits. Supporting the physical pillar may also prevent a relapse of depression. Improved self-esteem and self-confidence are strong barriers against trigger points that pounce when we’re most vulnerable: Emotionally.

ANXIETY

What happens when we know something has to be done but we don’t or can’t make it happen? Maybe we’re simply fearful of a situation or an outcome that seems beyond our control. We can combat tension and stress (the root of anxiety) with our body’s natural endorphins. Exercise, once again, is the key here. Fitness goals supporting the physical wellness pillar helps combat anxiety.

Say goodbye to your sedentary self and begin a physical cycle of positive activity. Soon, you’ll regain the clarity you need to take control of your stressors. Concentrate on breathing, endurance, distance, posture, and other elements. You’ll be meditating before you know it! Higher-intensity physical activity can elicit your fight or flight instinct. This naturally resets your brain to focus on the task at hand, not the cause of your anxiety. You may actually break the anxiety cycle, altogether.

STRESS

Stress literally hurts your body. This intangible drag on your emotions has a tangible effect on your body. From muscle soreness to headaches, lack of sleep and even jaw pain from clenching teeth, the struggle is real. Did you know a sedentary lifestyle makes us more vulnerable to stress? Add in high-pressure situations from work, finances, or relationships and it gets even worse. Stress multiplies, too: As soon as notice its existence, it causes more stress! Exercise and nutrition will give your mind a break by forcing your focus on proactive activities. Get into a routine of reaching positive physical goals and break the stress cycle.

 


There are many more emotional symptoms that can be addressed with proper physical wellness. Mental health professionals would be a great resource for uncovering symptoms and finding healthy resolutions.

Importantly, as you strengthen your emotional pillar of wellness,

remember to be kind to and patient with yourself.

Treat negative feelings and emotional weakness as you would an injury to your physical body. You’ll recognize the importance for healing time. All wounds need to heal.

So, let’s start healing today!

 

 

casey and chrissy

Why The Health Not?™

6 Pillars of Wellness: #1 Physical
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Physical Wellness Starts Your Path To Awesomeness

In order to understand how to thrive and not just live, start on The Path To Awesomeness with an understanding of the 6 Pillars of Wellness. What are they and how do they work together to create a whole-person approach to true health care? The 6 Pillars address the primary categories that support the most important aspects of healthy, happy human beings. Mapping your wellness among the 6 Pillars helps ensure you are maximizing your life. Let’s start with the basics.

Physical Wellness Pillar, Digital Health by Why The Health Not?THE 6 PILLARS OF WELLNESS:

  • PHYSICAL
  • EMOTIONAL
  • SOCIAL
  • INTELLECTUAL
  • FINANCIAL
  • SPIRITUAL

 

Each of these pillars works together and is affected by the another. For example, if your physical wellness is compromised, it will impact your emotional, social and financial wellness. If you’re financially unwell, it affects your stress levels which immediately erodes your physical, emotional and social health. Of course, you probably know this and have seen it in action. But what can we do about it? How can we minimize weakness in a vulnerable area and perhaps overcome it, once and for all? We’ll explain more in this six part series and lead to an innovative solution created by the Why The Health Not? team.

Physical Wellness Is Step One

The physical pillar is the simplest to understand; your body has been telling you how it feels your entire life! But are you listening? Sure, you grew up hearing your body tell you when it’s hungry or thirsty, tired or energetic. You and your body are together all the time. Let’s maximize this close relationship and use it to better understand the all-important physical pillar of wellness.

This pillar is vast and comprehensive. To make it easy to digest, let’s start with the basics. Digestion, nutrition and hydration are some of the key components of physical wellness, along with exercise, sleep and balancing the treatment of illness or injury with medication and preventative actions. In a nutshell, your body is in a constant state of fluctuation between healthy and unhealthy. It’s important to understand that physical health is not merely about the absence of illness; it’s also about making good choices that help strengthen some of the other pillars that support our physical wellbeing.

The goal of physical wellness is optimal physical fitness. But that doesn’t mean you need to go full-gladiator. The healthiest physical you is the version that can better defend your body against preventable illness, speed up recovery from injury, sustain a positive mood, keep stress levels in check, see tasks to their completion, and basically enjoy life. A strong physical pillar, therefore, is your solid foundation for a thriving lifestyle.

How Strong Is Your Physical Pillar?

What’s your current physical state? This is the question you’ll want to ask yourself first. Do a diagnostic check on your current physical condition. Here’s a general checklist to get started. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all set of rules that works for everyone. We’re all different, so you’ll want to get the advice of a physical health professional to truly assess your current physical state. He or she will help by being objective and providing you with metrics, goals and expertise that go beyond basic observation, making sure you get optimal results.

Do you

  • eat a balanced diet?
  • get plenty of sleep?
  • engage in physical activity?
  • know your physical limits?
  • take care of yourself when you’re ill?
  • understand your medication(s)?
  •  listen to your body’s needs?
  • receive regular check-ups?
  • avoid substance abuse?

You may not be able to accurately assess all of these criteria right now. That’s completely okay. Assessing your current physical state is not about how far you’ve come but understanding where you are now so you know where you want to go. Be honest with yourself and give yourself permission to not be perfect. Your wellness is about what makes you healthy, not how others perceive you. Is there something you need to focus on that’s not included in this list? Then focus on that, too. Again, everyone is different.

After you’ve given yourself plenty of time to focus on your current physical state so you can understand where you are, you’ll want to set goals to improve these areas. A professional can help here too: as a source of valuable information and advice for what your realistic goals can be. Set goals that are attainable and focus on wellness first and foremost. Once you’ve achieved better wellness you can focus on more strength, a leaner figure, running a million kilometers . . . But before you get great, let yourself get good.

Let’s Tackle The Other Pillars

Now that you have an understanding of the physical wellness pillar, you should know how it affects your other pillars. Your physical self will either help or hinder your other wellness states in many ways. If you’re suffering from fatigue you may be more susceptible to emotional responses that aren’t in your control. If you’ve been injured, you may have to abstain from social or work activities which will affect your social and financial wellness and so on. Your wellness depends on your pillars holding you up. If one begins to crumble and fall away, it puts more stress on the others to hold you up.

So, let’s get started!

 

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