Posts tagged ‘emotional’

June 10, 2013

Dimensions of Wellness

wellness

Hello, Friends! It’s Brooke, here. What does wellness mean to you? Does it mean that you are thriving and growing? Or does it simply mean that the nasty stomach bug going around the office managed to miss you . . . this time? According to the World Health Organization, wellness is not simply the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.

Living a healthy lifestyle means making choices that support your overall well-being. This term “well-being” feels very broad to me. We often limit our perception of a healthy life to only the physical aspects, but we are so much more than just our bodies. The following dimensions of wellness allow us to examine various aspects of our lives and see what’s working and what needs more attention. Some of the ways to improve your personal wellness will be very familiar to you, whereas others may spark some new ideas.

Dimensions of Wellness

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Vocational

Physical wellness means taking personal responsibility for your own health as well as striving to incorporate positive behaviors into your life each day.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods
  • Exercise daily
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink lots of water
  • Practice safe sex
  • Stay current on health screenings
  • Stop smoking
  • Consume alcohol in moderation (if at all)

Intellectual wellness is thinking creatively and logically to understand yourself and others as well as expanding your knowledge and skills through activities and resources.

  • Learn a foreign language (and then travel abroad to practice!)
  • Visit a zoo or science museum
  • Learn to appreciate art
  • Read anything your heart desires
  • Challenge yourself by taking a class
  • Seek out people who stimulate your mind
  • Immerse yourself in a subject that fascinates you

Spiritual wellness involves finding meaning and purpose in your life. Spiritual wellness also encourages you to develop and examine ethics and personal values, which may or may not be based on religion.

  • Allow yourself and others the freedom to be themselves, without judgment or agenda
  • Engage fully in your life
  • Discover (and protect) the parts of yourself you value
  • Search your motivations and goals
  • Explore what spirituality means to you
  • Honor sacredness in nature and in your life

Emotional wellness is the ability to accept your feelings about yourself, assess your strengths and limitations, cope with stress, and function autonomously in the world.

  • Accept your strengths and improve on your weaknesses
  • Give and receive encouragement and support when you need it
  • Listen to your heart and your feelings
  • Manage and minimize the stress in your life
  • Learn the fine art of time management
  • Seek out the things that light your fire
  • Strive for peace and happiness

Social wellness involves the creation and maintenance of healthy relationships within your family, friends, and community.

  • Communicate directly when you need something
  • Spend time with your loved ones
  • Collect new friends and treasure your old friends
  • Find a group or activity that gives you purpose
  • Nurture your relationships, despite the busyness of everyday life
  • Contribute your time or gifts to the community
  • Expect positivity and love—I promise you’ll get it back

Vocational wellness involves discovering personal and occupational interests that are meaningful as well as setting goals and recognizing abilities that enrich your life.

  • Explore new interests or long-forgotten passions
  • Imagine yourself in a career(s) that makes you feel alive
  • Spend time brainstorming and setting goals
  • Ponder how you can best use your gifts and skills
  • Get acquainted with what makes you special and then figure out how to share those things
  • Strive to be of good cheer and consciously bring positivity to those you work with

These dimensions are interrelated in such a way that one affects the others, positively as well as negatively. Balance in all areas of wellness is the key to fulfilling personal potential. I know we focus on living a vital, healthy life by caring for our bodies, but you and I both know that we are the sum of all of our parts, beautiful and flawed, together or falling apart. When we care for our outsides as well as our insides, we will see wonderful things rippling through all parts of our life. I hope you will begin each day by choosing to own your health and taking steps each day to live radiantly well.

May you have a gloriously happy week,

Brooke

yoga

November 16, 2012

Personal Musings of a Massage Therapist

Hello, Family and Friends! This is Brooke. For the last 4 years, I’ve been blessed to be a licensed massage therapist at a beautiful retirement community. Massage therapy itself is truly a special occupation, one that allows you to help people in so many ways. I love being able to take my fascination with science and anatomy and use it to solve problems that people have with their bodies—maybe an injury here or there, a little tweak in the back, a stiff neck and shoulders, a tension headache that needs soothing. I also confess that I like to be needed and I adore making people happy. So, therapeutic massage is a gift I can share with people.

Some people may find the practice of therapeutic touch mysterious or unfamiliar, but really, it is very simple. The manual manipulation of soft tissue not only loosens tight muscles, but also reduces pain, warms tissues, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, improves immune function, reduces blood pressure, increases respiratory capacity, calms the nervous system, and influences hormone levels (among various other things). These effects are physical, and so can be observed and measured. However, the emotional components of massage are just as powerful. Recipients of therapeutic massage report feelings of well-being and happiness, of acceptance of their body, of connection and being cared for.  Actually, some psychological benefits of massage stem from physiological means—massage can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and can increase serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone.  Also, massage can increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone that helps you feel nurturing connection with others. Now, I’m certainly not saying all good feelings and happiness can be explained by scientific rationalization, but in case you are the pragmatic sort, actual clinical evidence supports the benefit of therapeutic touch. There you go. Now for the more touchy-feely stuff . . .

Everyone has personal space, the invisible but palpable field of energy around them that is closely, often subconsciously regulated. One allows others into that personal space according to the social relationships he or she maintains with the others. For example, you allow your friends and loved ones close to you, but door-to-door solicitors you probably keep at a distance. When clients come to me for an appointment, they are allowing me to be in that personal space with them and share my therapeutic touch—this is a great honor. They trust that I will be professional and respectful while helping them to relax or relieve a painful knot or move more easily, and I convey my care for them through my hands and how I communicate with them. My hope for my clients by the time they leave my spa room is that we have accomplished what they asked for help with, and that they are calmer and happier than when they arrived, with looser muscles and softer spirits.

But what’s on the other side of this interaction? Most of us know what it feels like to receive a massage, but what’s your therapist thinking? I can speak only for myself, but while I try to convey a calm, peaceful, positive vibe to people I interact with, my mind is often filled with thoughts of the day feverishly pinging around like an out-of-control pinball machine.

Once a session begins, however, my monkey mind is forced to be present and connected with my client. I wrangle my thoughts and tuck them quietly away as the music provides a soundtrack to the action of my hands, and I am lulled once again into peaceful contemplation. Massage becomes a moving meditation and calms my anxious spirit, in spite of myself. Often I feel the same peace and expansiveness my client feels as we work together—we are sharing the same air and energy in the dim room after all.  As I ponder this interchange of energy, I think of this quote by Ofer Zur and Nola Nordmarken, which feels true to me: “Touch is our first language. Long before we can see an image, smell an odor, taste a flavor, or hear a sound, we experience others and ourselves through touch, our only reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being touched ourselves. . .”

Blessings and happy Friday!

~Brooke