Updated: Sep 5, 2020
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘well-being’ as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. This definition provides a whole life view of wellness, which is sometimes narrowly defined by physical health or mental health or spiritual practices, leaving out other aspects of our lives which may leave us unfulfilled.
My journey to wellness began because I often lacked, or at least experienced a great deal of variability in, the areas of happiness, health, and prosperity. As I started shifting my habits over time and growing into my new normal of well-being, I knew that it was an experience I didn’t want to let go of and decided I would do what it took to have that experience as consistently as possible. The better it got, the more I knew I wanted abundant well-being, and the broader I began to define my experience of wellness.
There is a saying: “What you water, grows”. As with wellness, it is the behaviors and choices I continue making over and over that create my state of well-being, and why wellness is my way of life. What does it mean for wellness to be my way of life, you ask? It means my well-being is factored into the choices I make in how I live my life, and I have done my best to create the conditions in my life to support what I need to thrive in mind, body and soul.
Now naturally you may be asking: So how do I make wellness a way of life for me? It takes commitment to the maintenance of it, the practice of it, and the integration of it all into your lifestyle.
Well-Being is Maintenance
The re-choosing of myself and my well-being over and over is what led me to realize that intentional maintenance is my new normal. The actions I take for my wellness aren’t just something I check off a to-do list to reach a short-term outcome but are a life-long commitment to tending to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. It’s like a car; if you don’t get regular maintenance throughout that car’s lifetime, you can’t expect it to operate at its best.
Well-Being is a Practice of Self
If there is something wellness has taught me, it’s that my actions are a practice of being myself. Beyond maintaining my wellness, I must always be learning myself, digging deeper into my inner workings, and willing to adjust my approaches when confronted with new information or new life circumstances. Examples range from learning which foods my body best responds to, to understanding my discomfort with setting boundaries, to recognizing that supportive self-care varies during the different phases of my menstrual cycle, and so much more. This practice of self also never ends because our lives are always evolving and new circumstances, will require different ways of being and behaving to maintain an experience of well-being.
Well-Being is a Lifestyle
The big and (more often) small changes I made deliberately and slowly over time, accumulated to a transformation in my life. This occurred because the moment by moment decisions I made were fundamentally different. My goals and desires for my version of a good life were different. Inevitably, my priorities shifted to make room in my life for these new choices; and when your priorities shift, your life is bound to look different.
To make well-being part of my lifestyle I set the conditions to make my choices as easy, joyful and gratifying as possible; important to integrating any mode of operating into your life. Some of the many conditions I addressed included how to make it inevitable to show up at the gym, how to make nutritious eating absolutely delicious, how to feel fulfilled turning off shiny distractions to reflect inward, and so much more.
And with this I still explore ways I can inject wellness in every facet of my life. I seek greater experiences of well-being that perhaps I haven’t integrated yet and experiment with wellness tools that may turn out beneficial or not. If this sounds overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. It is a steady process over time, and you have a whole lifetime to play around in it, so why not start today? Wellness as a way of life is truly a calling for you to step into a beautiful experience of life.