Here we are already in 2019. Does being this far in the future mean that we’ve reached the peak of well-being? Not necessarily. There’s obsession about with tarot-cards and detox sessions, popping vitamins to boost cognitive function, yoga teas for vitality, and meditation practice to mitigate unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety, companies that specialize in delivering a box of ingredients to your door so you can make a gourmet dinner without ever stepping foot outside. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things per se, so long as they actually work and benefit people. But it’s all a part of a billion-dollar wellness industry.
It does begs the question, however, what does it really take to experience wellness and wellbeing. There’s food and shelter of course, but beyond these basic needs, wellness is thought to be found by fostering six areas: the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, and environmental. Turns out, the secret to a good life might be more simple than we think. Sounds like a relief not to have to overthink this one. And it doesn’t require you to buy expensive pills, creams, or guidance by a trademarked guru. Advertising and word of mouth make things sexy and hard to resist buying into. But try to halt the preoccupation over marketing hacks and try putting your focus back where it might count most – on the basics.
Let’s get physical! Oh, and forget about dieting
Remember that old song by Olivia Newton-John … Let’s get physical, physical …?
Well as silly, cheesy, and as outdated as it sounds, the scientific evidence that suggests this is a darn good piece of advice, is here to stay. Turns out that physical activity helps keep a host of non-communicable diseases, cancer, and depression at bay. You don’t have to go out and risk life and limb climbing K2, but a mere 30 minutes of moderate to intense daily physical activity will improve your life. Just don’t be like my mom who thinks that grocery shopping counts – god rest her soul. Oh, and try to get physical, just like Olivia Newton-John, but outside! There’s no substitute in a capsule for fresh air, sun, and time spent in green space.
The flip side to exercise on the coin of health is nutrition. If you’re serious about being in good health, ignore diets and supplements. Instead, cut out all fried and all processed foods and remember the old adage calories in versus calories out. It’s not hard to do and might take some practice getting used to.
Let your feelings out and seek help when you need it
There’s that line in the song Hayling by FcKahuna and I share it with my friends all the time … Don’t think about all those things you feel, just be glad to feel. There’s so much good advice packed in that one phrase. Don’t be foolish and fall for the notion that everyone is happy all the time. Being down and feeling sad on occasion is a natural part of life.
Try not to push your feelings down into the bottom of a thimble: studies show that repressing them only make them worse. Yes, it is scary to be vulnerable and wear your heart on the sleeve, but you’ll probably sleep better at night if you can muster up the courage to live this way. The beautiful mess effect has value and being open by sharing your feelings builds connection and trust. We’re humans, not superheroes, no matter how many marvel movies you watch. And remember that mental illness can strike anyone and at any time. If you suspect your sadness is out of the ordinary then it’s best to seek professional help.
Screw productivity ALL the time, get social my friends
Currently thinking of song. Will post soon 🙂
Having a network of friends and family keeps resilient in the face of tumult. Your social web doesn’t even have to be a network of close companions, in fact you can benefit from even having a number of loose-knit associates. Real face time in analog context decreases the likelihood of experiencing loneliness and feelings of isolation – which are often associated with higher rates of obesity and physical inactivity. According to YouGov, “30 percent of millennials say they feel lonely and 22 percent said they have zero friends.” That’s really, so sad.
So don’t get lost in the hype of being busy all the time. Have human contact. Learn, if you don’t already know, how to develop meaningful relationships. The idea of busy being best is cultural programming, in part, and must therefore must be overwritten – like code. Like I said folks, back to the basics
Figure out who you are and eliminate distractions
I couldn’t think of a song about distractions off hand, so I had to search for one. It’s not my jam, but it’ll do for the scope of this article.
My brother was a computer geek, from what I swear to you, was out of the womb. He’s one of the few who seemed to know his calling in life from infancy. But not everyone is like that. Figuring out who you really are is a good thing and usually doesn’t happen overnight. It’s probably going to take longer than you imagine. Having a development mindset in life, meaning one that you understand will take time to find your passion is advised. Expectations of perfection may cause you to rush into things, and as a result quit more easily in the process.
Another tip is to eliminate distractions. You might think you suffer from ADHD, but it’s more likely that the hundreds of messages in your inbox keep you from maintaining concentration. It’s only you who really has your best interest at heart, so stand strong and don’t allow others (or IMs) to veer you off your charted course. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t trade in a small amount of focus for love and opportunities if you find it – because those things are worth it.
Develop a spiritual side and get inspired
Most millennials and GenXers have no religion at all. But, feelings of disorientation and lack of direction can be negative and nauseating. To avoid, what I call spiritual vertigo, having a strong purpose in life helps. While it’s better not to fill the void with things you don’t care about or believe in, it’s really very nice to have a reason to live. Being rooted in life and taking steps towards meaningful goals is one of the best ways to experience well-being.
Having direction, values, and a connection with something beyond you is key – whether that’s takes shape in the form of religion, nature, a piece of art or music, what-have-you. The point is to experience transcendence.
Take care of your space and environment
Currently thinking of song. Will post soon 🙂
We shape our environment and our environment shapes us. Approach your space with intention. Evaluate your space on both the micro and macro levels. Is there clutter in your room that prevents you from thinking clearly? Are there too few windows and not enough natural sunlight? Think about how your space can be conducive to helping you achieve a desired goal or outcome that you want.
If you need the change, maybe consider moving to a new apartment or into a place with access to parks and better jobs. Hanging a colorful painting on the wall may do the trick, or it could take bigger planning and effort to get yourself into the right environment. And always, take care of the environment too!