According to the National Wellness Institute, wellness can be considered to have six dimensions: physical, social, occupational, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
The concept of different dimensions expands the view of wellness. Since these dimensions are interdependent and interconnected, the tools to enhance wellness mentioned in one dimension can be applied to any other dimension.
When we were requested to put a mask on because of Covid-19, how many of us suddenly realized that the primal need for wellness is breathing freely, and breathing well? Conscious breathing can replenish energy to our body more efficiently. It’s simple, just be aware of the in-breath and out-breath. Also, for physical wellness, regular physical exercise is required. Any kind of exercise, just do it regularly.
Listen to the sample Breathing exercise. (A teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh)
Do we have to be talkative to be socially well? Sometimes we prefer to stay with a quiet person rather than a chatty one. To be socially well, basic etiquette is one aspect, and the aura of a person's energy field is also important. The aura may silently invite or reject others when we connect with people. It comes from what is actually inside the heart and mind. Metta practice, loving-kindness meditation, can be a way to radiate the best part of our hearts and promote social wellness.
Listen to a Loving-kindness meditation. (A teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh)
If in the social dimension we work on contributing towards the surrounding environment, then in the occupational dimension the direction is different. We look at how the surrounding environment affects us and how we deal with this.
Besides the financial concern, the workplace atmosphere also has an impact on our occupational wellness. The atmosphere of the workplace is not created by one individual, and a lot of the time we won’t be able to change it too much. What do we want to do, need to do and actually can do? We need awareness to answer this question. Practicing mindfulness can increase awareness and enable us to find the balance between satisfying our personal needs and collaborating with others.
As Covid-19 lingers, we might notice how difficult it is to be emotionally well. Some of us experience negative emotions such as fear, loneliness, anger and sadness more than usual, and this can lead to physical and mental illness. We need to express our feelings and manage feelings in an appropriate way. Tapping, also known as EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique) can be one of the tools to cope with emotions.
To be intellectually well is tricky. We know we need to expand our knowledge and skills to enhance intellectual wellness. So, how do we expand our knowledge and skills? With an open mind or closed mind? Even though the answer is obvious, it’s easy to say but difficult to do. For example, if I am keen about natural path healing, I won’t be interested in modern medicine; or vice versa, if I believe in modern medicine I won’t look for information about folk medicine. A mind with a preference can make us think inside the box and we are not even aware our mind is narrow.
We need to be able to think outside the box and be creative. No matter how well a method works, remember things change all the time. By developing a variety of interests, practicing mindfulness and recognizing the nature of impermanence can help us to prevent and step out of fixed thought patterns. Have fun exploring!
A Chan(Zen) story tells us, Chan is “When we sleep, we sleep; when we eat, we eat”. Chan reminds us to be present, to let go of skills and knowledge, to forget about varied dimensions, and simply just live life.
May you breathe well
May you eat well
May you sleep well
May you be well
Walking on the path, may we meet each other with a smile!