The 4 Pillars of Well Being
Firstly let’s explore what wellbeing is. Wellbeing is acknowledging that we are a whole being so we need to consider our well being from a holistic perspective. An individual is more than just physical health and wellness. It considers and acknowledges the emotional, physical and social well being of a person. Well being describes essential parts that need to be met by ourselves that help us function at an optimal level. It is incorporates how we feel, cope, and manage our responses to life’s stresses. If any of the 4 pillars of well being aren’t met, we will tend to function at a reduced capacity and struggle.with lifes challenges.
Through my observations as a counsellor working with complex client situations, mental illness, and abuse, I believe that pillars of well being need to be simple and meet one’s needs necessary to allow one to flourish. If the 4 pillars of well being listed below are met, then other areas of life can build and flourish.
However, if one of these areas are not met, it seems that one’s resilience is affected and ability to cope amidst stress is compromised. The individual is less able to work through the problem as effectively as if these pillars of well being are met.
In my view, pillars of wellbeing are where the needs of an individual are met before a sense of well being can be felt. Having these main areas of life met allows for the development of resilience and improved positive feelings can be experienced.
I have broken these up into Primary and Secondary PIllars of well being as if the primary pillars of well being aren’t met, then the secondary components also won’t be met until the primary ones have been.
4 Pillars of Well Being
Sleep is essential for us humans. Without sleep, researchers have shown that we become delirious, hallucinate, can’t think straight and even put on weight.. We know how much babies need their sleep for their growing bodies but also to rest their senses from stimulus overload. The same is true for adults, if we don’t sleep, our bodies don’t produce the necessary hormones, and recovery that we need.
For example what if you haven’t been sleeping well for a few nights? How do you feel? Some people can manage on only a few hours, but over time, this can affect one’s mood and cognitive function, Without getting quality sleep, other areas of your life suffer. This shows how important sleep is. When our mood is affected, our well being is affected. It’s harder to cope with a stressful situation. If you are struggling to get quality sleep, check out these tips to help get you sleeping well.
Our bodies are designed to move. It’s that simple. During our evolution, we were on the move frequently. We would hunt, play, move around. Then we started living in communities, towns evolved, cities grew. As time progressed, we have become more sedentary. We are the most sedentary than we have ever been. We need to move to allow our muscles to do their job, help us get from one place to the next.
I’m not talking about running a marathon or even jogging, unless that’s what you enjoy. Movement can be walking, swimming, skating, pilates, stretching. It can be anything you enjoy that allows your body to move. Personally I have started doing taekwondo at the age of 44. Within a year, I’ve been able to get more height in my kick which I never thought would actually happen. When we do some form of exercise in particular, our bodies have this amazing effect where hormones are released that make us feel good. So there’s so much more to movement than just working up a sweat. It also helps with mental health.
The need to make healthy nutritional choices also has an effect on our well being. When a person doesn’t eat well, eats mostly processed and nutrient deficient foods, it affects the brain and the gut flora. This in turn affects how we feel physically and mentally. Health issues have been on the rise for decades at an alarming rate leading to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease among numerous others. Research is increasingly finding that diets low in carbohydrates as effective for turning these health issues around. For more information on this click here. and here.
Through interacting with others you ensure you aren’t isolated and can talk through your experiences. Research shows that those who are socially isolated have a much higher incidence of mental illness than those who interact with others.
Having a sense of connection with others allows the nurturing of relationships and a sense of belonging.
It also allows us to share our experiences with others while also having someone to talk to if things are not so great. By engaging with social connections and relationships our emotional needs are also met. It’s important to talk to someone so that our minds aren’t going round and round in circles.
Through social connections we can also consider participating in our community. This also helps in connecting with individuals, while engendering a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself. It can also help build on your sense of altruism if you become a volunteer, participate and get involved.
Once the above pillars of well being are met, then a natural progression is to focus on the following areas to support your well being.
Be present, practice mindfulness, reflect on your environment. Pay attention to your interactions, purposely doing what you do in a conscious way. Take notice of yourself in your space eg how you interact with others, how your body feels when breathing etc.. Taking notice allows you to broaden your awareness around you. Be fully present in your interactions and activities.
Ways to practice this includes:
- Grounding using your 5 senses
Take time out for yourself. Self care and focus on ensuring you get some essential ‘me time’. If you give too much of yourself, you can get burnt out. If we allow our stress levels to build up, this will inevitably affect our sleep, physical health and emotional health which will impact the 4 pillars of well being. For help with learning how to relax try this program.
Connect with nature. This helps you be more aware of your surroundings increasing your ability to pay attention while also be present. Nature can have a calming effect on our senses and help ground us.
Find something that you get a sense of relaxation from. If you don’t have much time, listen to your favorite music and not do anything for at least 5 minutes. Stop and be. .
With a negative perspective, it’s likely to influence how you respond to your environment which impacts how you feel. With the right attitude, we can conquer the world, however that looks to you. If you notice that you are thinking from a negative perspective, instead of berate yourself for doing this which becomes a vicious circle, reframe the negative into a positive. One way that can help you shift your focus to a more positive view is through thinking of something you are grateful for. Here’s a guide to the health benefits of gratitude.
When we look after ourselves from a holistic perspective, we can function at a higher level, achieve more, and feel more positive towards life and our way of being in it. .
Please share your thoughts of what you find are the pillars of well being for you below in the comments.