Wellness is an important part of staying healthy and enjoying a long life. Research is showing that we need to focus more on wellness in order to prevent diseases and to have a better quality of life. But the idea of physical wellness is tricky to define since it’s so broad.
You’ve probably been interested in eating better, exercising, and getting enough sleep. But is this all there is to wellness? What really is wellness and how does the IAWP expand upon how to improve it?
Physical Wellness and IAWP’s Wellness 360
We believe that physical wellness isn’t just taking care of a couple aspects of your life. At the IAWP, we know that every part of your life affects other parts, in a domino effect-type of wellness chain. We call this Wellness 360.
Wellness 360 is our holistic philosophy that looks at all aspects that affect a person’s health and well-being. We’ve identified 12 elements that belong within the Wellness 360 wheel, and they all work together to support a life that fully embraces wellness.
Wellness 360 also considers how these factors are interconnected and impact one another. This is the cornerstone of our Holistic Health & Wellness Coach training and a crucial part of understanding physical wellness from a holistic perspective.
Wellness 360 Body
One of the elements in the Wellness 360 Wheel is Body. Talking about the body is important when it comes to wellness for many reasons.
The most obvious reason is that our body is the vessel that houses all our organs. It’s a great starting point for discussing wellness since it represents our physical health. This is important because it is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think of wellness.
Our bodies are often the parts of us that encourage us to begin our own physical wellness journeys. This could be due to pain or illness in the body. Or it could simply be that we want to improve our physical appearance or the way that we look to ourselves and the world.
So let’s talk more about the body and the concept of this element in the Wellness 360 wheel.
What is the Body?
At the most basic level, the element of Body is all about our physical body. That said, it includes other aspects of the body that might not seem immediately obvious.
These aspects include:
- Your physical appearance. This is how you look from a general perspective. It includes your height, weight, and other markers that define your body at a very basic level.
- Your body type. Our body type can inform what foods we eat, what activities help us to feel our best, and can even relate to our personality types. Do you know what your body type is?
- Your body image. This is how you mentally perceive your physical body and the things about it that you like or dislike. How do you see yourself? Do you think others perceive you in one way or another?
- How your body feels. This can be physical sensations such as pain or it can be related to the mind such as feeling physically tired or energetic. Is your body feeling tight? Do you feel pain anywhere? How flexible do you feel?
- Body movement. This includes exercise, of course. But it also includes flexibility movement like stretching and yoga, mindful movement like tai chi, and ecstatic movement like dancing. How do you move your body? Is your body fit and how do you care for it through exercise? How does your body move through space?
- Body mechanics. This includes how strong your body is when it moves and how in alignment it is when moving. It also includes how intentional you are in your movements. Is your body well-balanced or does it move awkwardly? Are certain parts stronger than others? Or do you feel that the way you move is strong and aligned?
IAWP Student Feature
IAWP Certified Wellness Coach Morgan Sheets says that there are three pillars to your well-being that can help you figure out what works for your body type. She discusses this in a live television interview here.
Sheets uses a Wellness 360 approach to supporting her clients when it comes to helping them with their bodies and physical wellness.
Internal Physical Wellness
The external aspects of our bodies aren’t the only things to consider, but we also need to pay attention to our internal bodies, as well. This just means that we tune in to what’s happening on the inside of our bodies.
This includes aspects of how we treat our bodies, including:
- How you feel about your body. These are the thoughts you have when you notice how wonderful you feel. Or they can include the moment when you judge the way you look. Do you spend a lot of time criticizing your body and wishing you could change it?
- The things you say to your body. This includes those moments when you say things to yourself that judge aspects of your body. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated with how your pants feel and so you say something unkind to your body. What do you say to yourself when you’re noticing your body? We call this body talk and if it’s negative, it can be damaging to our physical wellness.
- How in tune you are with your body’s internal processes. This includes how aware you are of your body’s pain and pleasure signals. It also includes interpreting those signals so that you know how to create more balance for your body. Do you feel pain, discomfort, satisfaction, calmness inside your body? Do you know what the body’s signals mean? They can often tell us what needs to be balanced in our lives and physical wellness practices.
How to Get Started in Balancing Your Body
If you’re ready to tune into your body and find ways to improve your physical wellness, here are a few tips that might help. Always focus on listening to your body, treating it kindly, and looking for the root of any issues.
- Do a daily body scan. Take some time to close your eyes, relax, and really pay attention to each area of your body. What feels tight or strained? Is there any area that needs attention? For example, if you are sitting too much at your desk, can you stand today or take more breaks?
- Check within. Spend a few minutes and have a mindful moment with your body. How do you feel today about your body? Do you notice any negative self-talk?
- Body movement. Do what you can every day to move your body in some way, even if it’s just a short amount of time. How can you move your body today? What can you do to give your body a little exercise or stretching or another movement practice that feels good?
- Honor your body. Create intentional practices that are kind and gentle toward your body. Then do them every day. What one thing can you do today to honor your body? Take a bath, go on a walk, tell it some nice things, and dress in something you love.
- Take a Wellness 360 Body check. Consider how other aspects of your wellness are impacting your physical wellness. How are other elements in the wheel impacting the element of body? What can you do to support those to create more harmony in your body?
Helping Yourself and Others
Are you feeling ready to be more in tune with your body? Taking the time every day to intentionally create a more balanced approach with your wellness starts with kindness, support, and intentionality toward your body.
Have you gotten to the point where you feel really balanced and supportive in your body? Perhaps it’s time you helped others achieve that in their own lives by becoming a Wellness Coach. Learn more about the IAWP Holistic Health & Wellness Coach training by clicking here.