How to Use the 7 Pillars of Well-Being to Create More Health and Happiness
Your overall health is a combination of your physical, social, and mental well-being. For many of us, we’ve become used to experiencing stress on a daily basis, settling for only a few hours of sleep each night, barely exercising, and eating processed foods that provide little nourishment for the mind and body. On top of that, you may be unhappy in your relationships or in your job (or both), and stay in toxic situations for a number of years.
Although none of us are immune to life’s challenges and circumstances, each one of these factors negatively affects your mind, body, and soul, and slowly chips away at all aspects of your well-being and the joy you’re meant to experience. When left undealt with, emotional and mental stress can also manifest as physical health ailments, such as chronic health conditions (CV disease, for example), or addiction.
The 7 Pillars of Wellbeing considers wellness as a holistic approach, and offers simple, practical tools for living a healthier, and more fulfilling life by prioritizing your own self-care. This includes developing resilience against negative emotions, getting enough sleep, and laughing more often. In a sense, the 7 Pillars take you “back to the basics” or necessities for your wellbeing.
The 7 Pillars of Well-Being
1. Emotional Regulation
Emotions are the most pressing force in your life. We’re all driven by daily emotions.
There’s no doubt that your emotions dictate your actions, intentions, and thoughts. But, act on your emotions too quickly, and you risk making decisions you may regret.
You can practice regulating your emotion with these tips:
– See the bigger picture. Everything in your life serves a higher purpose. In the midst of an upsetting event, trust there’s an ultimate purpose.
– Try not to react immediately. Take deep breaths for five minutes, feel your muscles relax and your heart rate slow down and remind yourself that this will pass.
– Replace your thoughts. Negative emotions equal recurring negative thoughts. When you’re confronted with an emotion that is upsetting, force the negativity out of your mind and think happy thoughts.
– Find a healthy outlet. Don’t bottle up your emotions. Write them down in a journal or talk to someone you trust about the incident.
Evidence illustrates that sleep is key to your wellbeing. Without restful sleep, both your mental and physical wellness suffers.
Sleep also plays an important role in the brain’s ability to function, reduces stress, and is involved in memory and learning. Lack of sleep can lead to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
There are a number of things you can do to get a good night’s sleep:
– Establish a bedtime routine, and try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
– Only use your bed for sleeping, and go to bed when you are sleepy.
– Avoid napping during the day and aim to be more active to assist with a better night’s sleep.
– Make sure your bedroom is quiet and has sufficient ventilation before you go to bed.
We discuss more useful tips for improving your quality of sleep in this blog.
3. Mindfulness and Meditation
Life is busy. You may get up and plan your day while listening to the news, folding laundry, and keeping an eye on your children. But, in your daily rush to accomplish the necessary tasks, you may find you’ve lost connection with the here and now. And that means you’re missing out on how you’re feeling and what you’re actually doing.
Mindfulness, coupled with meditation, is about purposely focusing your attention on this moment; the present. It’s about accepting the present moment without judgment. By practicing mindfulness and meditation, you can savor life’s pleasures as they happen, and you may be less likely to get caught up in worries about things to come or regrets over things that were.
You can start practicing mindfulness right now by getting in touch with all of your senses.
– Sensory: concentrate on smells, touches, tastes, sights, and sounds. Name them without judgment and let them go.
– Meditation: sit in a quiet space and focus on your breathing. Allow your thoughts to come and go without judgment, and then return your focus to your breathing.
– Urge surfing: cope with your cravings and allow them to pass. Concentrate on how your body feels as you begin to crave something, and replace the craving sensation with the certain knowledge that it will go away.
– Body sensations: notice the subtlest body sensations, such as a tingling or itch, also without judgment, and let them pass. Take note of each part of your body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
As for meditation, it takes just a few minutes a day to reap the benefits and enhance your mindfulness. Simply find a quiet spot, get comfortable, and focus on being in the present. Concentrate on your breath, feel your body, and quiet your mind.
4. Movement and Breathing
Yoga, and in fact all types of movement from walking and Pilates to regular exercise, and even Tai Chi, have become popular practices, with millions around the globe reaping the benefits of regular movement.
Fortunately, you can maximize the impact of yoga and movement to increase your sense of wellbeing.
Movement is essential for healthy body and mind and with these tips you can enrich your yoga practice, bringing together movement, mindfulness, and improved sleep:
– Mediate before class. Practice your mindfulness techniques for a few minutes. This increases your body awareness and creates a greater connection to your breathing.
– If you find your mind wandering during your practice, once again bring your focus back to your breathing.
– Use breath as your guide during your yoga practice. If you’re breathing too hard, focus on relaxing and re-engaging with calmer breathing.
– After a yoga session, don’t just jump right back into “doing” things, allow a time of transition where you don’t reach for the phone right away, and just enjoy the bliss of your session.
There is a growing amount of research that shows our wellbeing is influenced by our diet. Not only does a healthy diet protect against ailments, but shopping for and preparing healthy meals is an effective way to distract yourself and help you practice your mindfulness skills.
– Combine good nutrition with exercise. Diet on its own is not effective enough to reach a healthy body weight compared to combined diet and exercise.
– Drink water. The recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water per day helps your body eliminate wastes and toxins and assist your biological processes.
– Pay attention to eating patterns. Be mindful of your eating by sitting at a table and enjoying your meals. This also helps to avoid indigestion and overeating.
– Implement an Ayurveda lifestyle which suggests we include six tastes and seven colors. Each taste – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent – offer exceptional healing and health properties. Colors are also beneficial for nutritional support.
– Follow the dietary guidelines. Make healthy food choices by following dietary guidelines to meet your nutrient requirements, boost your energy, and improve your sense of wellbeing.
Healthy relationships can enable us to be who we are, nurturing us, and helping us to grow. Healthy relationships reduce stress and have been linked to overall improved well-being.
To ensure you are enjoying fulfilling relationships:
– Be intentional. Think about the aspects of the relationship, your thoughts, and feelings, and face the truth. If you’re flinching away, it’s time to reconsider the relationship.
– Don’t assume. A big danger of any relationship is assuming that the other person has the same thoughts and feelings as you. But, we’re all different, even those close to us, and we need to accept it.
– Break down communication barriers. This will help with open and honest communication, which is necessary for healthy relationships and boundary setting.
– Use “tell culture”. This is a communication strategy where you practice being honest and open with people, lowering your barriers, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
We all love a good laugh, but how often do we make time for laughter? The science of laughter suggests that it has significant benefits on our wellbeing. You can laugh more by:
– Including laughter in your morning routine.
– Making a concerted effort to smile more often.
– Setting your intention to laugh more.
– Regularly connecting with friends and family who uplift you.
Fortunately, we can teach ourselves to laugh more, both at ourselves and the world around us. This is Nature’s best medicine! You can find out more about the benefits of laughter for wellbeing in this blog.
These 7 pillars of wellbeing are easy enough to implement right away and can assist with your overall health, happiness, and even boost your energy levels.
If you are interested in improving your wellbeing, find out more about our transformational Two Week Mind-Body-Spirit Integration program.