You know you should eat right, get plenty of rest and exercise a few times a week to stay healthy. You also know that keeping your mind sharp and doing things that are emotionally rewarding help you feel fulfilled and satisfied.
Would you like to learn how to pull all these (and a few more) components together and form a system for whole-person wellness? You can, and that system is called the Wellness Inventory.
The Wellness Inventory is a whole-person wellness program that can help you use your strengths to achieve your goals and bring more vitality, awareness, and balance to your life. As you can see by the image, the inventory is like a pie made up of twelve pieces. In the spirit of fun, each Wellness Inventory pie piece can be associated with one of the four elements:
By associating each pie piece with an element, you can figure out where you may be needing more balance or support, and where your true strengths lie.
The Element of Fire
Fire is the element of will, passion, and energy. It helps you persevere, shows you where your true passions lie and keeps you motivated. Fire encourages you to be courageous and to take action.
The wellness inventory dimensions associated with fire are:
- Finding Meaning
Society has conditioned us to associate “intimacy” with a sexual partner. However, true intimacy can be found in sharing our deepest concerns with another person, which may include friends or loved ones. Though we have tech tools to connect us, studies show many of us feel more disconnected and isolated than ever. This is a lack of intimacy. Though connected, we don’t have trust; we don’t feel we can be vulnerable with another person and share our innermost thoughts or concerns. True intimacy allows us to share our private passions, ideas, and emotions in ways that are heard, understood, and respected.
Are you frustrated and discouraged because you work hard but often feeling empty at the end of the day? The underlying cause may not be a lack of effort, but instead, a lack of meaning. Finding meaning comes from knowing our values and aligning our actions with those values. One of the keys to finding meaning is to allow our “fire” to simmer from time to time; instead of constantly “doing,” take some time to reflect on what is important to you and examine your values and priorities. Then make sure your “doings” are aligned with those values. Finding meaning allows us to honor ourselves and others through what we do, all while allowing us to love the journey along the way.
When you think of transcending, do you envision rainbows and rays of light? Transcending sounds like a woo-woo concept, but it’s a state of being that occurs all the time in the real world. Examples of transcending are tuning in to your intuition, developing trust and faith in the process when life gets messy, and experiencing yourself as part of the greater whole. Transcending is when you find yourself in a state of flow; you’re so effortlessly engaged in something that you lose track of time. Transcending allows you to go beyond the rational and into the ethereal. Of all the dimensions, Transcending asks you to trust, believe, and tap into the power higher than yourself that is working for you at all times.
The Element of Air
Air is the element of thoughts, communication, and processes. Air helps us share ideas through technology, writing, or speaking (radio waves). Intellectually, it helps us make sense of what is going on. Air encourages you to think and share your thoughts, to approach situations with a new perspective, and to develop new rules and procedures.
The wellness inventory dimensions associated with air are:
Do you take breathing for granted? If you suffer from allergies, asthma, or any other condition that challenges your ability to breathe, you most certainly know the value and power of your breath. Stress, anxiety, sadness, or fear can cause shortness of breath. Something as simple as our posture can also cause us not to breathe as deeply as we should. Remembering to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the day can help us center ourselves, focus, and calm our nervous system. Breathing is truly the “air of life” and a cornerstone of personal wellness.
When we use the power of our minds, we can impact ourselves and the world in miraculous ways. This begins by recognizing that we have the power of choice; we can choose our point of view, our thoughts, and how we feel about those thoughts. With our minds, we can influence every facet of our health, choose life-affirming attitudes, and increase our focus and concentration. We can also change our perception of the world by changing our thoughts. Our thinking can change the world one new thought at a time.
Where would we be without the ability to communicate? Whether through speaking, writing, body language, or art, we express ourselves through communicating. Being a good listener, without the need to always think about what we’re going to say next, is also a part of kind and compassionate communicating. Asserting ourselves and being able to listen without the need to “save” or “fix” also fall into this dimension. Communicating helps us build trust, reveals our true selves, and allows us to develop policies and rules that benefit everyone.
Points to Ponder
To wrap up Part I of the elements of the Wellness Inventory, take some time to ask yourself these questions about Fire and Air:
- What element do you feel you’re most in touch with, and why?
- What element do you feel you need to nurture most?
- What are three ways you can nurture that element?
- How can you bring more balance to the elements in your life?
There are two more elements, Water and Earth, that I’ll touch on in Part II. Until then, nourish and support both the Fire and Air within and notice how those elements impact your wellness each day.