Learn to live your best life to increase wellness, longevity

Do you want to live a longer, happier and healthier life? Wellness plays a significant role in the quality and longevity of your life! What is wellness, anyway? Wellness matters and is often described as a balance of your mind, body and spirit, which results in an overall feeling of well-being.

There are several components to wellness. People often associate physical health with wellness and forget to consider the significance of mental health as well as other important pieces to a balanced life.

The nationally recognized organization SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) identifies eight dimensions of wellness: 1. Emotional — Coping effectively and creating satisfying relationships. (Am I able to make decisions with minimal stress and worry?) 2. Intellectual — Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills. (Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?) 3. Physical — Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and sleep. (Do I eat mostly natural, whole foods and move my body regularly?) 4. Social — Developing a sense of connection, belonging and a well-developed support system. (Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?) 5. Environmental — Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being. (Do I live and work in a clean, organized environment where I can locate what I need?) 6. Financial— Satisfaction with current and future financial situations. (Do I have a budget and stick to it?) 7. Spiritual — Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life. (Do I make time for practices that enhance my sense of connection to self, nature and others?) 8. Occupational — Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work. (Am I working toward a career in a field that I am passionate about or a volunteer activity that is meaningful for me?) Health and well-being don’t just happen. They are created purposefully by our daily actions. Consider taking note of the questions outlined above and identify what is going really well for you (keep doing it!). Then, take note of an area in which you might like to see change and set one small, easily accomplished goal (baby steps). Small changes can add up and make a big difference over time.

Wellness is a journey and not a specific destination. Your personal wellness directly affects the quality of not only your life, but also impacts those individuals with whom you live and work. Remember that the quality of your life and how long you will live are based on your wellness over time. It’s never too late. No matter your age, it’s important to have balance in your life, keeping all eight dimensions of wellness in mind.

Be well, live well, do well, eat well, stay well and think well. Live your best life!

Pamela Krueger, MSW, is an account executive with the Aurora Employee Assistance Program and is a member of the Healthy Sheboygan 2020 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee.