Rohan Pereira , a computer professional, returns home, after a long workday, and slumps into his sofa and surfs TV channels.
He thinks it's a great way to unwind—an impulse that most of us often fall prey to everyday in order to keep ourselves hooked onto mind-grabbing news headlines. Well, if it's not TV, we simply connect to the Internet.
But, this is no way to relax. It is just not possible for us to relish, absorb, and assimilate the joy of living when our minds are preoccupied.
This is not all. We often think automatically and also so quickly that our souls do not get the focus of our attention.
This has, for one, led to a glut of pills and digestive aids on the market to help us beat stress—a bad tummy, gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhoea, or any other problem you could think of.
This is also a "given" you thought, in our frenetic world.
However this may be, there's actually more to life, health and wellbeing, than what meets our eye and the ear on the surface.
The problem is also compounded by the fact that not all of us have the time to delve deep into the subject as much as we would love or want to.
Living a life of wellbeing
Being fit and well are just not good enough for wellbeing. WHO defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease, or infirmity."
By definition, wellbeing is the condition of optimal physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, good relationships at home and work and meaning in life.
This idea, in point of fact, leads us to what we, at CW, define as wellbeing. In other words, wellbeing, for us, is the all-encompassing, interconnected and harmonious network that regulates and enhances our state of wellbeing, in mind, body and soul.
In simple terms, the idea of complete wellbeing urges us to also understand that we are more than just a sum of parts with our physical, physiological and psychological elements working in tandem and/or unison. A deviation, therefore, in any area of our functioning will not signify a state of wellbeing, even when we think we are well and fit.
Living beyond the good life
Wellbeing, by explanation, differs from one person to the other in terms of interpretation. For most, it is related to good health and happiness. In actuality, complete wellbeing is fundamentally the synchronous integration of our body—physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual components.
It is also more than feeling good. To measure happiness as wellbeing or satisfaction with life is, therefore, not the right thing to do. To cull one example: the quest for happiness is often mistaken with the search for pleasure. In addition, there are other modes of wellbeing that stretch beyond individual happiness—a happy family, supportive friends, or an equal—opportunity workplace.
Put simply, wellbeing is more than living "the good life." It has more to it than happiness—in other words, having a purpose in life, satisfying our potential and feeling good that our lives are worthwhile.
Several factors like family, friends, faith, workplace success etc., significantly contribute to our wellbeing. Wellbeing also comes from being linked and occupied in a network of worthy relationships and interests. These identities provide a strong meaning to our lives, primarily because we are social beings.
- Studies have shown that intimacy, or belonging, and support offered by close personal relationships are of the greatest value to our sense of wellbeing
- According to Opinion Surveys, married adults show significantly greater happiness than non-married adults [this is "slightly" more true for men than women]. They also tend to live longer
- Job security, creative satisfaction, fulfilling work and friendly relations with boss/colleagues are important determinants of an individual's wellbeing
- Research also shows that contented people are likely to be married, have more friends, do more motivating work, or take home higher salaries and other benefits.
Life beyond fitness
Being fit is often said to be the emblem of good health. Fitness, needless to say, refers to the condition of our physical body just as much as mental vitality is related to our mental wellbeing—or, psychological and/or emotional wellbeing.
It can also relate itself to looking good and feeling good—wearing appropriate clothes and dressing well. It sure gives us the "feel-good" attitude or self-confidence—which is essentially wellbeing in action.
This is not all. Good physiological, or bodily function, also plays a major role in giving us a sense of wellbeing.
Going further along the road, the reward for being in the "pink of wellbeing" comes from spirituality or religion too, to pick another globally accepted example, including social connections, support, rationale, responsible faith structures and ethical systems that our religion provides. These may, of course, be found through other means—but, the binding factor is again a belief in a composition, if not form, because one can be spiritual without being religious.
Interestingly, another fact stands tall over all the others. As studies prove, those who are single, elderly, or in poor health, gain most from spirituality, prayer, or religion. Their absence, in turn, affects their wellbeing the most.
- Our mind's ability to remain in a state of wellbeing is truly a direct result of our spiritual intake. For instance, our brain does not function healthily without the necessary participation of good thoughts
- Research suggests that religious individuals report higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. They are also less likely to be depressed than individuals who are not religious
- A study of 91,000 people shows that weekly church attendees had 50 per cent fewer deaths from heart disease than non-attendees, and 53 per cent fewer suicides. [Reader's Digest, Canada].
Meditation in today's world, for example, is a highly recommended practice for everyone, especially those of us with frantic, stressful lifestyles. Meditation seamlessly integrates our mind, body, spirit and soul, not to speak of thought and action.
Meditation is principally an engagement in reflection of a spiritual nature. The method has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, and promoting overall health and wellbeing, by simply contemplating on our daily life and finding happiness from within - not from the outside, which most of us seem to desperately aim at and struggle to achieve.
- "Wealth is like health: its absence can breed misery, yet having it is no guarantee of happiness." [David G Myers and Ed Diener]
- Respondents on the Forbes' list of wealthiest Americans reported only slightly greater happiness than other Americans. 37 per cent were less happy than average people.
Philosophy of wellbeing
We, at CW, strongly believe in the very foundation of wellbeing as our focal point, with emphasis on each of us as a unique person having our own unique requirements. This means just one thing - it's only when we function in agreement with all the three elements, physical, physiological and psychological, or the Three Chakras©, can we establish a sense of wellbeing in us and those around us.
This also explains as to what makes the philosophy of wellbeing an achievable prospect - one that will empower us to take from the concept whatever one would personally need. This is not all. It also, in the process, lets you, the reader, to think in terms of a line of action that is appropriate to one's condition, situation, beliefs, and nature.
More than anything else, the idea urges you to take charge of your health and wellbeing through the use of appropriate physical, functional, psychological, and spiritual elements, including dependable information and knowledge, that promotes complete wellbeing, which the magazine is geared to provide, every month.
As noted wellbeing researchers Ed Diener and Martin Seligman suggest, we all need to incorporate a clear-cut perspective as to what makes wellbeing wellbeing;
- Live in a democratic and stable society that meets material needs
- Have supportive friends and family
- Have rewarding and engaging work and an adequate income
- Be reasonably healthy and able to treat mental health problems
- Have important goals related to one's values
- Have a philosophy, or religion, that provides guidance, purpose and meaning to one's life.
The inference is simple, and profound. Taking time to explore the art of living a life of wellbeing, and not merely good bodily health, and making the right health choices, and living life to the full should be the ultimate goal of every living person.
This is what CW is going to adhere to and also advocate, keeping you, the reader, always in the spotlight.
This was first published in the Nov 2006 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!