The Art of Wellness: Transformation Lies at the Heart of Achieving Wellness
Wellness is all about transforming your life by taking one step at a time. Wellness (“good change or incremental change”) is a philosophy of making continuous and gradual improvements.
Wellness can be applied to all areas of your life: your work, family, and health.
A Wellness Plan should consist of five parts: mind, body, diet, relationships, and environment.
We will focus on the mind part of the plan, which is all about your personal development and conscious growth. Before you start transforming your life, you need to answer a few questions: What do I want? Who am I? How did the current situation come into existence?
These are fundamental questions, but you will need to answer them before you will be able to move forward. And remember, this process should be ongoing because life is dynamic by nature. It’s not about the end goal! Never stop growing and improving yourself!
What are the Elements of A Wellness Plan?
A wellness plan consists of four steps – awareness, commitment, visualization and action.
1. Awareness – Wellness is all about self-development, so first, you need to start paying attention to what’s going on with your mind and body. You have probably heard the phrase “you only live once,” but we still need to care for ourselves. If a car is not taken care of and you don’t perform scheduled maintenance, it will break down. Understand that you need to take care of yourself physically and mentally to continue growing.
2. Commitment – after awareness comes commitment! You can get all information about how fantastic life is, but only you can make that dream come true. Once you decide that you want to live your life in a better, easier, and more productive way – you need to take action!
3. Visualization – visualize yourself as a wellness person! This will help you push through the rough times and stay on track with your goals. You can see yourself as a wellness person by simply looking at your before and after photo. Sometimes all you need is to see yourself as a healthy person to commit to that lifestyle.
4. Action – now comes the hard part! To gain the wellness success, you have to start taking action now! You can’t just sit around and wait for your life to change because it won’t ever happen. You have to start doing things differently to achieve different results one step at a time!
Body Wellness is closely related to mind wellness because once you heal yourself from within – you will look much better on the outside as well.
BE AT ONE – A 10 STEP WELLNESS ACTION PLAN
Here are a few tips on how to achieve proper physical wellness:
1. Sleep 7-8 hours a day – this is one of the most important things you need to take care of for your body to function properly. Lack of sleep ages you and makes it harder for your brain to focus and remember information.
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day – this is one of the most effective ways to achieve true wellness. It will not only make you look better, but it will also improve your focus and memory retention.
3. Meditate = it’s not what you think – meditation is the force that surrounds us. It is not just the still image of someone who sits within their mind but I can argue that real meditation is movement based. We meditate when we’re doing our favorite activities. And activity is a repetitive action and meditation hinges on repetition. You can feel it while throwing the basketball, playing your favorite sport, playing cards, losing yourself in chess and backgammon, and my favorite is shower thoughts. Within these thoughts…..within this Stillness, one can solved one’s problem. I would even take it so far as sleep would be a meditation because we can tap our subconscious mind. Sleep can help us out problems through this kind of subconscious mind. Hence meditation is the subconscious mind at work – both still and active. Meditation helps you focus and clear your mind from all distractions. You can use built-in meditation app or download one on the Internet. Here are a few apps that will help you with mindfulness:
4. Eat fresh, healthy food – yes we are what you eat. You need to understand that your body is like a high-performance machine and it needs fuel in order to function correctly. Junk food will not help you with the wellness journey, because it has a negative impact on your cognitive process. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains!
– eat healthy snacks – these are foods that will boost your energy and provide you with a long lasting effect! Snacking also helps you save money because you won’t feel hungry between meals.
A diet Wellness plan should include some healthy recipes that are easily prepared in the comfort of your home. You don’t have to spend hours cooking meals in the kitchen; simply pick a healthy recipe and make it for yourself! Here are a few recipes that you can try:
– fruit salad with yogurt dressing
– avocado egg salad
– whole wheat pita with veggies and hummus
– tuna with salad
5. Productivity Wellness is all about being organized and achieving goals faster! People are looking for ways to become more effective at work, spend more time with their family, and find that work-life balance in today’s fast-paced society.
– use resources inclduing our Premium + Community – Keep an open mind – there are tons of productivity apps on the market that can help you achieve success and stay motivated and productive throughout your day!
Productivity planner – this is a great way to track the progress successfully! If you don’t know where you’re going, you will never get there! Here is a simple planner you can try:
- Plan your day in advance – this is one of the most effective ways to stay productive throughout the day. You simply need to plan everything in advance and stick to it! Set goals for each time period and accomplish them on schedule. Here is a great article on how to become more productive: XXX
- Set a deadline – if you have something important to finish, set a realistic time period in which you need to accomplish the task. Your plan should include that deadline and stay focused on achieving it! Get started with your project as soon as possible and stick to it until you’re done.
- Be positive – it will be hard to achieve the goals and stay productive if you’re constantly negative about everything. You need to set positive mindset and motivate yourself to accomplish your tasks successfully!
- Track your progress – you can use apps for this purpose too, just find app that will help you track your work and time effectively! Here is a list of self-improvement apps :
- Focus on the task at hand – instead of thinking about all other work you need to do, just focus on one thing that you need to finish and accomplish it successfully before moving on to another project!
- Eliminate distractions – this will help you complete your tasks faster without any interruptions! Simply turn off your phone and close all applications that will distract you from the work.
The 3 pillars of Wellness
The three pillars of standardization, 5S, and elimination of waste, are critical to achieving the goals.
Standardization is about commonality, doing things the same way, every time.
5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize, sustain) creates an organized workplace thorough cleaning and organizing. 5S results in fewer mistakes and improved spirit.
Elimination of waste is about identifying your “muda” (waste).
How to Get Started Around the Home
Wellness aligns with Kaizen – a Japanese word meaning “improvement” or “change for the better.”
The concept can be applied to anything: from your career, health and education to your home life, everyday routine or mindset. People are often afraid that when you start changing things in their daily routine this will somehow ruin the experience. Kaizen means “the little changes for better.” When done correctly these small improvements can transform into something extraordinary!
Kaizen is everywhere around us! For example, Google changes their layout and we can’t imagine life without it, and Twitter and Instagram and all the other apps and websites that constantly tweak their platform to improve user experience… Kaizen simply means “continuous improvement” or “change for better.” So how come this concept is not used more frequently at home?
Before we go through some basic steps of using Kaizen at home, let me tell you a story:
I was one of those people who got stuck in their comfort zones and routines. I would do the same things every day without even thinking about them. I knew it was bad because I used to feel tired and unproductive after work, but it never crossed my mind that the problem might be in some of my daily habits.
But when the covid pandemic hit, was about gaining an entirely new perspective on life! I started applying a Wellness concept all around me and little by little things got better!
Fit the Pieces – A Wellness at Home
1. Keep it simple! Begin with one habit that is really bothering you. Example: I realized that when I return home from work, the first thing I do is turn on the TV and check my favorite TV show’s FB page (without even watching the show). This bad habit had to go! So on Week 1, Day 1 I decided to turn off the TV! It was a simple change, no drama.
2. Always keep in mind why you are changing something and what result do you expect from it.
3. Stick to your plan for at least 21 days . This is the best way to create a new habit! If you skip a day, don’t freak out, just continue the next day.
4. Be patient! Don’t expect things to change overnight! You can’t expect a dramatic result from applying Wellness in your life. Remember it’s about little changes for better and those “little” things have incredible power if done right!
5. Celebrate your small victories along the way!
6. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Wellness is all about continuous improvement, so you are allowed to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes and try something new next time!
For example, after 7 days of not watching TV at home I decided to have a little TV-break. But this time it was different. I only planned to watch TV for 10 minutes, and then turn it off! This way I can test my limits.
7. Share your experience with friends and family! And don’t forget to thank people who inspire you to make positive changes in your life .
Now let’s get back to the beginning of this article when we talked about the meaning of Wellness. I mentioned websites as great examples of constant improvement. But there is a dark side to this as well!
You probably noticed that many social media platforms were initially created to be beneficial for business and interaction between community members, but they ended up being just another way to waste time! BUT there is one thing that remains the same:
The more they change things, the more time we waste on social media.
Three simple ways to improve your mental health as a working professional:
1. Practice Wellness
In the simplest of terms, Wellness is the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. In a work context it encourages incremental steps towards a long-term goal or target. For example, if your long-term goal is to become a supervisor or manager – it would be unrealistic to think that you could just decide one day that you’re going to apply for a new role and land the job. Instead, it’s less overwhelming to break your goal down into smaller steps. Perhaps every day for the next week you complete a daily report, or every day you go out of your way to share a story with a co-worker. Over time these small steps can add up and within a week you might just find that you’re taking on more responsibility – without even realizing it!
The same is true for mental health. If we see our well-being as one long journey, it can be overwhelming. However, if we break it down into small steps – say starting with 3 minutes of mindfulness each day or planning to walk for 30 minutes after dinner – then suddenly mental health becomes achievable instead of overwhelming.
2. “Unpack” Talk about your feelings with your family/ significant other/friends when you go home
This is easier said than done. However, it’s important to be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Whether that means opening up to a family member or reaching out for formal counseling – talking through your struggles is an important first step in the road to recovery. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or incapable; instead, it shows strength of character and courage.
3. “Penalty Box” Everyone Out – Silence notifications on your phone During down times
Putting your phone on silent or ‘Do Not Disturb’ helps with the constant bombardment of calls, texts and social media notifications often lead to phones being checked every few minutes. This will give you back complete control and the freedom to enjoy the time spent with loved ones and co-workers without worrying about any notifications coming through.
Study Evidence for Wellness
The process of wellness training aims to make small incremental changes over time resulting in overall improvement. Wellness is used to help individuals make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle, and unlike radical methods, it can be maintained over time.
The idea behind wellness is to make small changes over time that result in significant improvement of habits and lifestyle; one does not need to overhaul their life or try drastic measures all at once. This systematic approach allows individuals to make small steps toward a healthier life, and over time a significant change in behavior.
Research suggests that improving sleep, reducing stress and improving overall health, can be achieved through practices such as: mindfulness, meditation and yoga – all wellness principles.
Wellness and Sleep
Scientific studies have shown that proper sleep can increase productivity and overall health. Sleep deprivation is a very real, serious problem that can lead to issues ranging from depression to diabetes to obesity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping less than 6 hours per night has been linked with weight gain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of developing heart disease. Studies have also been done which show that people who are overweight or obese sleep less than people who are not overweight or obese. A study by the Harvard Medical School found that obese participants had a higher chance of experiencing poor sleep quality compared to their normal-weight peers. A study published in 2014 also showed that low back pain was negatively related to sleep quality and decreased productivity. In addition, one study found that a lack of sleep was directly responsible for poor physical performance in athletes. Therefore, it is recommended that those who struggle with their weight or fitness should consider getting some extra sleep every night.
Wellness and Diet
A study published by JAMA Internal Medicine shows that low carbohydrate – a.k.a. wellness diets are the most effective for losing weight. People with diet-controlled metabolic conditions have better results with high protein selections between 25 to 30 percent of their daily caloric intake.
Applying this knowledge, it becomes clear why bestselling books like The China Study show evidence that correlation is between diets high in carbohydrates and higher rates of illness. This includes reducing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and several autoimmune diseases.
Wellness and Physical Fitness Levels
At the University of California at Davis researchers discovered that people who train using repetitive, low-intensity activity – a.k.a., wellness – had higher levels of human growth hormone compared to those who trained with high-intensity bursts, even though they burned less fat. “Low-intensity exercise is associated with lengthening of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that are important for reducing aging,” says Dr. Larry Tucker from Brigham Young University.
· Journal of Applied Physiology, Feb 2008
Wellness and Mental Health
A study published by the American Psychological Association shows that mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness not only improves stress management but it also increases things like memory and creativity. Dr. Shauna Shapiro explains why this happens: “As you slow down and simplify, you can see things as they really are. Thoughts aren’t solid, but rather passing and temporal events. You can make choices about your thoughts.”
· American Psychological Association, Jan/Feb 2014
Wellness and Happiness
The more we focus on our own wellbeing – a.k.a. wellness – the happier we become. “When you focus on getting better, your happiness levels decrease,” says Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at University of California Riverside.
· Journal of Happiness Studies: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being, 2007
Wellness and Stress Management
A recent UCLA study found that higher levels of mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness are correlated with lower measurements of the stress hormone cortisol. “It’s possible that people who are more mindful are also getting better sleep, which helps to reduce cortisol,” says Dr. Lynn M. Martire, an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.
· American Psychological Association, Jan/Feb 2014
Wellness on Stress Reduction: Resilience to Illness
A study led by Carnegie Mellon University discovered that mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training boosted participants’ physical endurance. It also showed that those who practice it regularly were able to recover more quickly from a stressful event than before they started the program.
· Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 2014
Wellness on Stress Management: memory and creativity
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that students who practiced gratitude – a.k.a. wellness training just once a week performed better academically than those who did not. Researchers suggest this is because focusing on what we have instead of what we lack positively affects brain activity.
· Psychological Science, Mar 2014
Wellness on heart health
A study published in the journal Circulation found that people who are more present in their lives have healthier hearts. “Our findings suggest that to the degree that people engage with life – a.k.a. wellness training on a daily basis through attention and appreciation, they will experience less stress and inflammation, which can promote the development of cardiovascular disease,” says study co-author Dr. Paul J. Mills from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine
· Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Jan 2013
Wellness on risk of diabetes
A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care shows that those who practice mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training are less likely to develop type-2 diabetes. “Research suggests that stress reduction programs like meditation may help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes,” says lead researcher Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health
· Diabetes Care, May 2013
Wellness on inflammation
A recent study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows that practicing mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training reduces levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in people who are stressed. “These results suggest that a psychological intervention such as mindfulness training has biological effects and… supports the utility of these types of stress reduction practices in a healthy population,” says study author Dr. David Creswell, an assistant professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University
· Psychoneuroendocrinology , Jan 2013
Wellness on blood pressure
A recent review published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that mindfulness meditation – a.k.a. wellness training can have a positive effect on several factors known to influence hypertension, including stress and emotional regulation.
“Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure… The systematic review suggests that mindfulness meditation may be useful as an adjunct treatment for reducing blood pressure,” says study co-author Dr. Katherine S. Martinez from the University of Southern California
· Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Dec 2012
Wellness on pain relief
A recent systematic review published by the Cochrane Library shows that practicing mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training reduces pain. “Mindfulness meditation appears to be a reasonable intervention to consider for reducing pain compared with other therapies,” says study author Dr. Jeffrey A. Katula from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
· Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, Sept 2012
Wellness on weight-loss
A small study published in the journal Obesity showed that a mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training program helped participants lose weight and keep it off. Researchers say this is because being more aware of hunger cues helps people take note of when they are full.
· Obesity, April 2012
Wellness on reducing alcohol intake
A recent study published in the journal Health Psychology shows that practicing mindfulness meditation can affect how much people drink. “People who had more mindful awareness reported having consumed less alcohol,” says lead author Dr. Sun Gyu An from the Catholic University of Korea
· Health Psychology, July 2011
Wellness on relapse in substance abuse
A recent study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows that mindfulness is an effective tool that helps people stay clean. “These results are consistent with our clinical observation that MBSR facilitates acceptance of uncomfortable mental states, decreases reactivity to them and facilitates their passing,” says study author Dr. Zev Schuman-Olivier from Boston University
· Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 2012
Wellness on asthma symptoms
A recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training can have a positive effect on asthma sufferers. “The study suggests that mindfulness based stress reduction may have a beneficial short term effect on subjective and objective indices of asthma in patients with mild to moderate asthma,” says lead author Dr. Michael J. Irwin from the University of California, Los Angeles
· European Respiratory Journal, July 2012
Wellness on IBS
A recent study published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry showed that mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training is a successful treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, including pain and psychological distress. “This promising intervention may offer therapeutic benefits to patients with IBS by improving symptom severity as well as response to treatment,” says lead author Dr. W. Lawerence Peter from the University of Michigan
· General Hospital Psychiatry, July 2012
Wellness on stress and anxiety relief
A recent study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics shows that mindfulness – a.k.a. wellness training can help ease psychological distress. “The results indicate that MBSR is effective in reducing perceived stress and trait anxiety, as well as improving mental well-being and quality of life,” says lead author Dr. Nava Z. Silton from the Boston University School of Medicine
· Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, October 2011
Final thoughts | Wellness
Thomas Campi MD, editor MentalHealthWellnessNow.com
Wellness may be an excellent way to help yourself achieve wellness. Research shows that it is an effective technique.
Typically speaking, Wellness is not an approach that is seen in mental health nor spoken as frequently as it should for wellness. As such, we feel that Wellness should be essential approach to professional care – so outcomes can be optimized.
I favor the saying “every Journey begins with one step” however, the Journey is to lead to another step and another and another. There is so much gained knowledge in the journey.
As Freud said, life comes down to love and work. Why separate them? Let’s keep them in one. Get your Wellness, improve your mental health, and keep striving for greater self-acceptance and tangible life improvements. Therefore, a wellness plan from your mental health and wellness professionals is a helpful approach.
Wellness Format: Inclusive Check-in™️- on Premium+ Coming Soon.
Wellness can also help those who are seeking to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve overall health. The study evidence is very compelling for Wellness.
The bottom line: Although this topic comes in a straightforward package, it’s not easy to put into practice. However, life is too short not to take care of yourself and do your best to live a healthy and happy life. And if you feel like you need some additional support on this journey – reach out! There are plenty of people who would be willing to help.
All recommendations must be under a licensed professional (psychiatrist, child psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) to monitor symptoms and provide continuous treatment recommendations.
The above is for information media purposes only and does not constitute recommendations of any kind.