PacSci Perspectives

Get Ready For Wellbody Weekend With Wellness 101

by | Sep 15, 2016

Wellness, as defined by The National Wellness Institute, is an active and “self-directed and evolving process.” According to the World Health Organization, wellness is “complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We often think of our health as how physically healthy we are, but there are other, very much connected pieces. Each of the six dimensions of wellness (emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual and spiritual) are a piece of an overall complicated concept that makes up our health.

Physical well being has to do, mainly, with diet and exercise. A diet high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein allows your body to produce energy. Exercise uses this energy to keep your body flexible and help prevent the onset of some diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Exercise not only helps you live longer; it also improves your quality of life. You may find yourself sleeping easier and feeling happier and more productive (leading to improved social and mental well being, as well). Exercise means different things to different people, depending on your age, previous activity levels and your natural abilities. No two peoples’ bodies are the same.

Mental well being, like physical well being, requires work to maintain. It is greatly affected by your emotional and intellectual health. Emotional health is affected by factors like stress levels; all of us experience stress, but emotional health allows one to cope with it in an effective way, and in a way that allows us to gain wisdom from these (sometimes painful) experiences. Mental wellbeing is also greatly affected by our intellectual health, or the ability to have “an open mind when you encounter new ideas.” Mental health requires self-care, in the same way our bodies require good food and exercise. Close to twenty-percent of the world’s population is affected by some kind of mental illness. Taking the time to care for your mind, whatever it requires (whether it be a professional help or a little self-care), is essential to maintaining a balanced well being. It is important to make these resources available for all demographics.

Social well being is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of your overall well being. The support system of family and friends are one of the greatest influences on your health. Having a network of caring, giving people helps you to become a the best version of yourself. It “increases your self-esteem” and helps to further develop your emotional maturity through human interaction. Your occupational health is a major component of this network, and whether or not you find meaning in the work that you do greatly influences how you interact with your peers (your mental well being also greatly affects how you deal with conflicts with coworkers and stress). The search for purpose is also evident in your spiritual well being.This is not necessarily religious or spiritual in a traditional sense, but a practice that allows you to look inward, rather than towards people, to help you determine your sense of self.

Each piece of wellness is equally important. Improving and maintaining your health can be challenging, though. Pacific Science Center is hosting Wellbody Weekend October 1-2, an opportunity to interact with our Wellbody Exhibit and learn how each of these pillars of wellness interacts with each other, and what you can do to actively stay well, to live as the best version of yourself.