The idea of wellbeing presented by the wellness industry is somewhat limiting. Having a healthy body (or a body that is deemed healthy-looking by social standards) completely dismisses the notion that humans are complex beings in need of social and spiritual connections, psychological and emotional balance.
Let’s look at the different aspects of wellbeing; and how within each of these dimensions, different values are emphasized.
Physical – For most people wellbeing starts with taking care of the physical body. Wellbeing here implies: physical health, comfort, pleasure and enjoying nature. With important values being: safety, love of nature and beauty.
Social – It is also essential for human beings to have relationships with other people and to have a place in society; the social dimension is another important source of wellbeing. In the social domain the values are: esteem, success, solidarity, love for others and goodness.
Personal – What happens when you discover your unique personality, or specific personal qualities? We speak of personal wellbeing when we are able to develop our talents and feel at peace with ourselves. Feelings and emotions also fall under this category. In the personal domain the predominant values are: autonomy, freedom, knowledge, self-love and truth.
Spiritual – It is interesting that we can also experience peaks in our wellbeing when we come into contact with ‘pure’ qualities, such as: beauty, compassion, truth, love. These are experiences of the ‘life force’ or the ‘spirit’. In these spiritual experiences we transcend our limited self. We become part of something bigger and participate in universal qualities that nourish and enhance life. The spiritual domain encompasses values as: helpfulness, finding one’s place in the universe, contributing to a better world and love without self-interest.
The interplay of these different dimensions can create a fulfilling life contributing to our wellbeing.
I invite you to journal about the following questions:
What does wellbeing mean to me? What do I sense (bodily sensations) when I experience wellbeing?