Wellness: The 21st century’s most critical competence:

Failure to recognise the importance of wellness in your life can be as catastrophic as failure to recognise the importance of the right and adequate equipment when going for mountain climbing at night.

Failure to recognise the importance of wellness in your life can be as catastrophic as failure to recognise the importance of the right and adequate equipment when going for mountain climbing at night.

As discussed in part I, wellness encompasses a number of dimensions which all contribute to the overall wellbeing of an individual. A person’s wellbeing is not merely a ‘nice to have’ but it is a ‘must have’ for any person who desires to build the resilience required to make it in this current challenging operating environment. Without wellness, your goals and dreams may take very long and cost you a lot to achieve. Of course, it may not be feasible to strike a balance in all the eight dimensions but awareness on its own, is a big step in the right direction.

This can then be followed by drawing up a wellness priority list, where you start by paying attention to the areas that affect your work or business and key relationships the most. Some people are privileged and disciplined enough to follow through their wellness journeys to the end but others may need the guidance and assistance of a mentor, a medical practitioner, a Pastor, a coach, an accountability partner or just a friend, depending on the dimension one is pursuing.

Again, as mentioned in part I of this topic, wellness is not a destination, it is a process that requires continuous assessment and improvements. Wellness goals will always be changing, given the nature of the world we live in, so we need to be constantly upgrading our wellness levels to match the level of pressure and stress that comes with life in the 21st century.

Let us look at the last three dimensions namely intellectual wellness, financial wellness and spiritual wellness.

Intellectual wellness

This dimension speaks of cognitive aspects such as ability to learn, developing new skills, reasoning, common sense, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity and problem solving. The education systems in most parts of the world are moving away from mere academic performance and grades to transformational learning and behaviours.

If you check, for example, the mission statement for Harvard University, you will not find anything about grades or performance, but phrases like “intellectual transformation” and “new ways of knowing”. Intellectual wellness is the new normal and those who wish to move with the times in pursuing their goals will strive to purse intellectual wellness.

Its benefits

Achievement of personal, professional and business goals is possible where intellectual wellness exists. In it’s absence, it can be very easy to get entangled in negative thought patterns that might impede one’s ability to move forward in life. It is important to note that intellectual wellness hinges on mental wellness. An individual battling with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar, anxiety may find it very difficult to focus and make progress in life. Taking care of your mental health will therefore, result in ability to achieve goals. Intellectual wellness will bring;

Clarity of thought and improved focus

Ability to learn and acquire new knowledge and skills

 A positive mindset

Ability to manage challenges and stress

 A sense of achievement and overall wellbeing.

How to attain it

There are a number of activities and habits that one can adopt to improve their Intellectual Wellness such as;

 Learning something new and different from your field of study or profession.

Adopting positive thinking habits

Maintaining healthy social connections

Playing games that stimulate the brain

Practicing self-care activities such as adequate sleep, healthy diets, exercise, hobbies and relaxation techniques

Financial wellness

Financial wellness means different things to different people depending on the context. However a more general definition of financial wellness is, having a healthy relationship with money. It answers questions such as,

Do you have a good relationship with money or it’s a cat and dog affair, where one is always chasing the other, which will not let itself get caught?

Do you pay your bills and settle your debts on time?

Do you meet your regular expenses whilst remaining with extra money for savings and investments?

Do you have mitigation plans to deal with variables that impact your finances?

Financial wellness does not necessarily mean being rich or having multiple streams of income. It is about being comfortable with what you are making, without giving in to pressure to spend on what you cannot afford. You may find a person making a million dollars a month, struggling to make ends meet while the next guy earning five hundred dollars a month, managing very well.

Its benefits

The major benefit of financial wellness is that it reduces stress. Stress is one of the major causes of medical conditions particular cardio vascular diseases. In other words, financial wellness feeds into mental and physical wellbeing. Financial wellness allows you to plan, grow and achieve financial goals. It can also go a long way in promoting good relations particularly between couples if finances are managed properly. 

How to achieve it

The first step towards attaining financial wellness is to live within your means. Eat what you kill! Many people battle with debt because they are spending much more than they are making hence creating a huge disparity which pushes them into serious financial issues. The following are some of the key steps towards building financial wellness.

Budgeting — this will assist in setting realistic spending goals. Ability to stay within budget is key to attaining financial wellness.

Emergency fund — setting aside money for this fund on regular basis can help cover basic expenses in the event of unexpected emergencies

Insurance — it’s important to protect your assets like your car, your home, your gadgets and your health. This can help a lot, in times of sudden losses

Debt Management — reduce or eliminate debt because the more indebted you are, the less you are able to save and invest or worse still, meet your daily expenses.

Savings and investments — the Jews have a special way of allocating whatever money they make. 10% goes to the tithes, 10% is for charity, 10% goes to savings, 20% is invested and 50% is for spending. Such discipline can help you manage finances well, hence fostering financial wellness.

Spiritual wellness

Spiritual wellness can be described as having a sense of purpose and meaning in life. It includes being aligned to your values, your morals and ethics. Spiritual wellness is not necessarily about religion, it’s about finding peace in who you are and the things you do. It involves the desire to do good and to spread positivity in the world. Tony Robbins describes spiritual wellness as, “the certainty that your life has a higher purpose – a purpose that goes beyond physical things and short-term happiness”.

Its benefits

Spiritual wellness goes a long way in supporting other dimensions of wellness because without wellness of the soul, it may be very difficult to achieve life’s goals and desires. Furthermore, spiritual wellness;

Brings peace, calm and meaning to life

Supports mental, emotional and physical healing

Gives rise to a positive mindset which is key to achieving success in life

Promotes healthy relationships

How to achieve it

Spiritual wellness can be attained through creating time to focus on and engage in activities that enrich your soul. Spiritual practices such as worship, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, spending time in nature, journaling, listening to music and artwork are some of the ways that promote spiritual wellness. Habits such as positivity, gratitude, doing volunteer work and acts of kindness have a huge positive impact on one’s spiritual wellness.

When you pursue wellness, you pursue your life.

Mhaka is a self-development coach focusing on mental health and mind fitness. She is the executive director of BeMindFit, an author and speaker. These weekly New Horizon articles,   published in the  Zimbabwe Independent, are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge,  an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe (CGI Zimbabwe). — [email protected] or mobile: +263 772 382 852

Related Topics