We often discuss the four pillars of wellbeing. But what do they mean, and how do they contribute to an overall feeling of wellness?
When we lead an active, healthy lifestyle, we’re able to minimise our chances of illness and disease. We achieve physical wellness when we’re able to carry out physical activities without limitation or pain.
Exercising and leading a great lifestyle is also likely to make us feel better. Being in pain, feeling sluggish or suffering the impact of a poor diet will have knock-on effects on our mental health too. Research shows that poor physical health can lead to mental health issues, and vice versa. So it makes sense that physical and mental wellbeing are intertwined.
Physical wellbeing can have an impact on social wellbeing, too. Playing sport, enjoying healthy activities and going for social walks all helps us to connect with others and find common ground. Linking our physical with our social activities is a great way of maintaining a good level of wellbeing across both.
Mental wellbeing is all about how we feel. It’s about being emotionally and psychologically healthy, able to enjoy our lives and feel a sense of meaning and purpose.
We’ve written previously about the differences between mental health and mental illness. They are two very separate things – a person may have low mental health, but no sign of mental illness. Of course, consistent low mental health can eventually lead to mental illness, so it’s important to look after your mental health and maintain a good level of wellbeing.
Identify key stressors or areas of your life that are causing your mental health to suffer. Talk about your concerns and struggles, and encourage those around you to do the same.
Of course, financial troubles and issues with our social life can have a detrimental impact on our mental health. Similarly, those struggling with low mental health are less likely to be able to interact positively with others and manage healthy relationships. All pillars work together to contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing.
They say ‘money makes the world go round’ and there is some degree of truth in this. We all need to feel as though we have enough money to live adequately. Individuals need to feel secure, in control and free to make their own financial decisions. Unfortunately, different attitudes to money can make it difficult for some to manage their financial wellbeing. Then there are concerns over insecure working hours or mounting debt which make it difficult for us to feel positive about our financial state.
To achieve financial wellness, an individual should be able to make enough money to cover necessary expenses in addition to unexpected costs and debts that might be just around the corner. Knowing how to save, budget and manage finances effectively is a great way to start maintaining a good level of financial wellbeing.
Of course, financial wellbeing can have an impact across the other pillars too. If you’re worried about finances, can you really enjoy socialising with friends and family without becoming too hung up over the cost?
Research suggests that two thirds of those who are experiencing financial insecurity also experience signs of poor mental health. Excessive worrying can lead to symptoms of anxiety, which has a huge impact on an individual’s mental health. If a person works to achieve a good level of financial wellbeing, they’re likely to feel better mentally too.
Social wellbeing refers to maintaining healthy relationships with others, and interacting positively with people. Being able to manage social situations and recognising our own impact on other people is a key part of this.
The best way to improve social wellbeing is to practice self-care and try to avoid critical thinking. Nurture the relationships around you and treat people with the respect and support you expect back.
Those who are physically or mentally unwell may find it difficult to keep up with social demands. It’s tough to demonstrate empathy and tolerance if you’re struggling yourself. Research shows that those with positive relationships around then tend to be physically fitter, with an enhanced immune system and healthier heart!
Each pillar contributes to overall wellbeing
As the above demonstrates, each pillar of wellbeing works to support the others. As one falls down, so do the others. It’s just as important to look after every single pillar of wellbeing.
There’s no easy solution to achieving a good overall level of wellbeing. Like all things in life, you must work towards it. Find time for exercise, eat well, make effort to socialise with friends and family, and find ways to relax and pursue your own interests. Self-care is as important as caring for those around you too!
Remember, individuals don’t have to manage their wellbeing entirely on their own. Support is available from professionals, friends, family and employers. Simply recognising you need additional support is a big step in itself.
The benefits of achieving good wellbeing
Those with high levels of wellness are more likely to be happier and healthier across the board, with a good network of social support around them. These individuals are more likely to be productive, motivated and achieve more. They’re also less likely to suffer certain illnesses and mental health issues. Basically, looking after your wellbeing is a great way to improve your lifestyle across the board.
We all want to make the most of our lives, and a strong wellbeing focus is a great way to start.
Can I get further advice and support?
Absolutely. Wellbeing providers like We Are Wellbeing are trained to deliver expert seminars and training sessions to help individuals make the most of their lifestyles and empower them to look after their wellbeing. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help!