By: Jessica L.

The mind and body, while often thought of as separate entities, are intertwined with each other. They directly affect each other, which can sometimes have negative effects. For instance, if you are stressed over school, causing your mental health to be lower, your physical health might be affected if you lose sleep. Using the inverse of that example, if your physical health is lower because of lack of sleep, then your mental health will not be at its best, causing you to perform poorly in school. Also, when your mental health is lower and you love yourself less, you are more likely to engage in destructive behaviors that will damage your physical health. However, the relationship between the two can also be used to your advantage if you know how to manage it properly. This article walks you through the Aspects of Wellness and How to Find Balance.

Aspects of Wellness

Just as the connection between mental and physical health is overlooked, there are other lesser-known aspects of health that influence your overall well being. A majority of professionals agree that there are eight sections – including mental and physical – in what has become known as the wellness wheel.

Physical health is pretty self-explanatory. However, it is important to note that you can still be in a good place physically without fitting into an athletic, flawless standard. For instance, you can still be physically fit without being super muscly or skinny as long as you still incorporate some sort of movement in your life. Similarly, because your physical health also includes hygiene practices, having acne or teeth that aren’t perfectly white does not mean you have low physical health as long as you have good hygiene practices. Methods to improve physical health include finding out what type of nutrition and exercise is right for your body as well as getting proper sleep and hydration.

Mental health is also called emotional health because it deals with the emotions and other dealings of the mind. Having high mental health is associated with control over the expression of your emotions. It is important to realize that this does not mean bottling them up, but rather learning how to manage them so that they are each expressed during appropriate moments. Methods to improve mental health include talking about your emotions with someone you trust and acknowledging your emotions.

Spiritual health, while often associated with religion, refers to ethical wellbeing. When you do what you know is right, your spiritual health is in a good place. Whereas, when you do what you know is wrong, your spiritual health is in a low place. Another part of spiritual health is about purpose, which can be a pretty overwhelming subject. Methods to improve spiritual health revolve around reflection, such as through meditation, journaling, or prayers.

Social health revolves around your relationships. The people you surround yourself with have influence over your life and your choices. It is important to recognize whether this is a positive influence or a negative one and to act accordingly. A primary factor in determining the wellbeing of your social health is whether or not the people whom you choose to surround yourself with are supportive. Remember that these people can include both your friends, family, and romantic partners. Methods to improve social health revolve around good communication, such as through listening without judgment, expressing with honesty, and responding with respect.

Financial health, while not as present in the lives of many adolescents, plays a role, too. As a child, many consider their first lesson in money to be their allowance. However, long before this they are taught the difference between a need and a want. This differentiation is something that must continue to be practiced through the teenage years and adulthood in order to have good financial health, especially once joining the workforce. Methods to improve financial health include budgeting, having multiple sources of income, and researching to improve financial literacy.

Environmental health can be interpreted two different ways. One way is by defining your environment by your physical surroundings, such as your workplace or bedroom. Methods to improve this environmental health include decluttering, cleaning, and adding more of what you love into your space. The other way is literally interpreting the environment as the earth. Methods to improve the wellbeing of this environment include reduce-reuse-recycle, decreasing your carbon footprint, and supporting more sustainable products or businesses.

Occupational/vocational health can be applied in many different areas. It looks different for everyone because everyone plays different roles. It does not strictly mean a job that you are paid for. For many teens, it primarily refers to being a good student. It can also encompass excelling at a sport or club. General methods to improve occupational health include putting effort to improve skills required to succeed in your occupation and by making goals for yourself. 

Intellectual health should not be mistaken for being strictly associated with schoolwork. Rather, it revolves around creativity and the pursuit of knowledge and passion. Similarly to occupational health, it is different for everyone because everyone has different interests and ways to express their creativity. A general method to improve intellectual health is by consuming media, such as through reading books, watching movies, or listening to the news.

How to Find Balance

Now that you are aware of the different components of your health, you can learn how to use each of them to improve your wellbeing. The first step in any relationship is to understand the dynamics, meaning understand how things work with- or against- each other. 

If you notice your overall well being feeling low, it is important to pinpoint which aspect, or aspects, of your health are causing this feeling. Once you identify what area this notion is stemming from, then you have to find the ‘why.’ Ask yourself “Why is my ____ health feeling low? Does it trace back to another area of health? Is the negativity coming from internal or external factors?” Now that you have found the source of the problem, you can find the solution. This is where you can use the connection between the aspects of health to your advantage. You can sometimes raise one aspect of health by Here are several scenarios of why your overall health might be feeling low and what to do about it:

  • I failed a math test today, so my mental health has decreased because of my low self-esteem. My mental health is actually reflecting the decline in my occupational health. In order to increase my mental health, I am going to boost my occupational health by studying for the science test I have on Tuesday.

  • Lately, I have been feeling my ecoanxiety, worries about destruction to the environment, spiking, so my environmental health is low. I am going to bring up my environmental health by making a budget, which incorporates sustainable products, to improve my financial health.

  • My social health has been lower because I don’t feel as connected with my friends as we grow up and explore different interests. I am going to rely on my spiritual health to boost my social health by setting aside time to reflect on my relationships.

  • I haven’t been feeling energized to do the things I love, a sign of low mental health. I am going to go on a walk to get my endorphins flowing in hopes of feeling less sluggish. In this way, I am using my physical health to improve my mental health.

It’s all about balance. Some days, you will have to pay more time and attention to one area of the wellness wheel. Other days, you can step back and just observe to make sure nothing starts to dwindle. The important thing to remember is to be patient and understanding with yourself. After all, you have the tools. Now, all you have to do is use them.

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