Written by Jehawn Lambert, Red Light Therapy Tech for Ideal Wellness.
What is wellness? Is it the same as health, or is it a combination of factors that influences our wellness? Corbin and Pangrazi (2001) came to that conclusion when they defined wellness as “a multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health” (p.7). Usually, when we talk about health, it's in yes or no terms; we are either healthy or not. On the other hand, wellness is much more of a spectrum influenced by many factors that we have in our control.
Much of what we do, how we think, and how we feel has an impact on our wellness and, ultimately, our quality of life. Therefore, wellness is a state of being that encompasses our quality of life, enhanced by personal practices geared to bring a sense of connection and vitality. These practices include meditation and any number of enjoyable physical activities.
Developing Connection Through Meditation
Developing a sense of connection with ourselves, the world, and the people around us by using meditation will enhance our wellness. Meditation opens the door to our ability to connect with our hearts and minds. From there, we expand these connections outward to our friends, family, and the world beyond. Without these connections, we are like a lone balloon being pushed about by the wind, entirely without a tether.
Another form of meditation that is really easy to start is walking meditation. Quite simply, walking mediation is being mindful of the act of walking. However, as you dive in and practice this form of mediation, you can develop a strong connection with the planet. The first step in walking meditation is to be aware of the act of stepping forward. It can be helpful to silently repeat “one, two” or “left, right” while walking meditatively. As you continue in your walking meditation practice, you can keep breaking it down, from the act of stepping to the act of putting your foot down, then lifting the foot, and so on (Silananda, 1995, p. 2).
Physical Activity for Enhanced Wellness
Enjoyable physical activity promotes vitality, which has a positive impact on our overall well-being. We will reap the benefits of increased strength and endurance when we regularly participate in physical activity. This will help cultivate a vigorous and vibrant physical condition that enhances our overall wellness.
Choosing an enjoyable physical activity and getting started doesn't have to be complicated or daunting. Suppose you've been sedentary or haven't been exercising in a while. In that case, it may be a good idea to start by walking in your local neighborhood. Walking is free and only requires a pair of sneakers and perhaps a jacket depending on the weather. During this activity, we can enjoy listening to music or a podcast; or we could make this a family affair and walk with our significant other and children, if applicable. It's also an excellent opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds around us.
Perhaps as a child, your fondest memories were of riding bikes with your friends. Guess what? Now you can choose from mountain biking, road cycling, or simply cruising with your friends on an inter-urban trail. If biking sounds fun and exciting, stop by a bike store to discover what kind of bikes are available. After purchasing a bike and a helmet, it's a good idea to have the bike seat and handlebars fitted to your height and reach for safety and proper body mechanics.
Don't worry if you aren't the outdoorsy type of person! Many group classes and indoor activities are available, such as:
• group fitness classes at gyms
Any of these activities will increase your physical vitality and perhaps put you on the path to creating new relationships. Before beginning, be sure to ask yourself: Is this something that excites me enough to do it every day if I could? Once you have selected an activity or two to enjoy, make a plan to regularly engage in it.
Wellness is a beautiful path of self-discovery. We can see how meditation and participating in exciting or pleasurable activities will empower us to strive for connection and vitality. Since we all have unique interests and abilities, we can appreciate wellness as a spectrum and how it looks different for each of us. Yes, we are all on individual journeys to wellness, but isn't it wonderful that we are not alone on that path!
Corbin, C. B., & Pangrazi, R. P. (2001). Toward a uniform definition of wellness: A commentary. President’s council on physical fitness and sports research digest.
Silananda, S. U. (1995). The benefits of walking meditation. Bodhi Leaves, 137. http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-AN/an141602.pdf