You hear so much in the media, from your doctors, your friends and family about health and wellbeing. You can find videos, articles, books, online programs, local fitness centers and wellness professionals just about everywhere with a plethora of information about how to eat well, ensure you’re hydrated and how to exercise. There are nutritional supplements, meal replacement shakes, work-out classes and tips on how to be well everywhere you look.
But your health and wellbeing encompasses so much more than your physical health. You are a multi-faceted being living in a multi-faceted world where everyone and everything is somehow connected and it’s vital to attend to all the facets that make up you and your life. In order to ensure the whole of your health and wellbeing are addressed you need to examine your relationships. Not only your relationships with your immediate friends and family but with society and your community as well as with money, the law, and Nature.
4 Surprising Areas of Health and Wellbeing You May be Neglecting
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1. Your Relationship with Community
Anne Colby and William Damon’s book, Some Do Care, describes their research study that found the experience of relating to and with others is essential in order to develop into an all round healthy person. In their book, these researchers write, “Even as individuals seek their own unique destinies, they do so in the context of relations with family, friends, and others in their communities. Strong social relations, in fact, provide a setting in which the exploration of self flourishes.”
Here are some tips for how you can ensure this aspect of your life is attended to:
- Verbalize genuine appreciation for others every day everywhere you go. Make it a point to take time to slow down and express to others an authentic word of thanks or admiration.
- Schedule and commit to community volunteer work. Make it a priority to block off time once/month to participate in a community collaboration project such as Habitat for Humanity or a local soup kitchen. Become a Red Cross volunteer or seek opportunities through local houses of worship. Working with other community members contributing your time and talents will help you to feel a part of something much greater.
- Join a Meetup to meet others with similar interests. You can locate thousands of gatherings on the website meetup.com to develop connections with others who share your passions and interests.
2. Your Relationship with Money
Authors Brad Hewitt, CEO of Thrivent Financial, and Dr. James Moline, licensed psychologist tell us that we need to carefully examine our most basic outlook toward money and bring those attitudes into alignment with our core values. In their book called Your New Money Mindset, the authors take you through an assessment process, which helps you pinpoint what specific attitudes about money you need to shift in order to develop an openness to experiencing healthier relationship with money.
In my work mentoring therapists and helping professionals through the business of private practice, I often find that their relationship with money is barely limping along, preventing them from having the career and life they long for. The healthier your money relationship is, the more likely you are to have and share abundance with others. My Money Matters training workshop provides learning and tools for supporting healing in this area of your life if you are a therapist or helping professional.
Here are some basic tips for improving your relationship with money:
- Improve your financial literacy. One of my all time favorite resources is Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness because he addresses your relationship with money and your daily behaviors to ensure you are in good shape financially.
- Give money away. Don’t go crazy with this but find a spirit of generosity and donate money to people and causes you believe in who really need your help. A generous spirit of giving actually improves your health and wellbeing.
- Practice gratitude when receiving. Whether its when you are depositing your pay check or receiving payment in cash for a couch you are selling, practice feeling a sense of palpable gratitude for the money that is coming to you. This improves your emotional connection with money as the energy of gratitude begets greater abundance.
3. Your Relationship with the Law
We may not always agree with the rules and laws of society but as members of the society we live in, we have an obligation to understand and follow the law. Respecting, harmonizing and working with the rules and laws of your local, state and national government systems is important. And when you have a politically based belief that a particular law is unfair, an aspect of your whole health and wellbeing is honoring that belief and taking action. There are many ways to get involved in political action.
In the case you make a mistake such as driving after having drinks at the office party and getting a DUI, there are resources, including free legal aid, that can assist you with the legal process. It’s best for your all round self care and the safety of others on the road to be sure this mistake doesn’t happen in the first place but in the case you find yourself in a bind, being familiar with the laws and legal proceedings can be helpful.
Here are some tips for how to develop a healthy relationship with the law:
- Learn about your laws. Take time to study the laws that may affect you at Find Law. where you can search for any topic you can imagine and learn about legal concepts and then search further for references to your local and state laws.
- Befriend an attorney. Don’t expect your lawyer friend to lend you free legal advice but it can be helpful to have some attorneys in your circle of friends. I happen to know a lot of attorneys after years of working as a therapist, having testified in court many times and they often call me for quick advice in exchange for being there for me when I have a quick question.
- Know your rights. Equally important to following the law yourself is the need to know what your rights are as a citizen. No organization better provides information, support and representation when needed than the ACLU.
4. Your Relationship with Nature
None of us lives in a vacuum. Without respect for and harmony with our natural environment, we are destroying our planet. In order to have optimum wellness, it is crucial that we lean into having a good relationship with Nature. There are many ways your health and wellbeing can benefit from developing an active and regular connection to Nature. Nature deprival is a reality many humans face when they spend too much time indoors on technology devices. In his book called The Nature Principle Richard Louv addresses the urgency for all of us to make a concerted effort to reconnect to Nature and dig deeper into sustainability and environmentalism.
Here are some ways to improve your relationship with Nature:
- Get outside every day. Make it a dedicated point to take time to get outdoors, breathe fresh air, look at the sky, sit under a tree, plant some flowers, gaze at the green gardens.
- Embrace sustainability. Shop at your local co-op or farmer’s market rather than spending your money at large grocery chains that leave big carbon footprints. Consider biking and walking rather than driving and take time to learn about other habits you can adopt that will preserve our planet.
- Take a forest bath. In Japan, there is a mindfulness and therapeutic practice called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku in which they soak in the forest through all the senses. It is not an exercise hike. It’s for mental, emotional and spiritual soothing and healing. Many research studies have proven this practice has tremendous benefits to health and wellbeing.
Your self care involves so much more that the more obvious things we hear and read about in the news, on tv and from fitness experts. Your health and wellbeing also involves your attention to your mental, emotional and spiritual connections to not only those immediately around you but the greater society and Nature all around.