“Wellness.” This is a core part of what 40+ guys want for the second half of our lives. So it’s a major theme at OlderBeast.
But you may think: What does “wellness” actually mean, in general, and for my day-to-day life? (maybe also: does it involve incense, crystals or a homeopathic eye pillow?)
This is my first cut at framing a discussion of these questions – for your personal life navigation, and here among the OlderBeast band of brothers. There’s a LOT to this—a breadth of things to think about, with each one running deep. So I acknowledge up front…I’m just scratching the surface.
You can find dozens of definitions, but they all get at the same core idea. Here are definitions, one pretty expansive and the other really simple, from two early thinkers and authors on Wellness.
“The defining characteristics of a wellness lifestyle/mindset are a strong sense of personal responsibility; exceptional physical fitness due to a disciplined commitment to regular/vigorous exercise and sound diet; a positive outlook and a devotion to and capacity for critical thinking, joy in life, and openness to new discoveries about the meaning and purposes of life.” -Don Ardell
“Wellness is living your life consciously in ways that improve your health and well-being.” -Michael Arloski. My emphasis on “consciously” is added here – to me, this is the key thing that makes this definition powerful.
Ardell, viewed by many as the father of the Wellness movement, originally laid out five dimensions of Wellness.
1. Self-responsibility (at the center of the other four)
2. Nutritional Awareness
3. Stress Management
4. Physical Fitness
5. Environmental Sensitivity (this is least self-explanatory of the five. It refers to physical and social environments, and internal sense of meaning and purpose. It’s about how we consciously seek out or create environments that are good for us…and react well to tough ones we just need to deal with.)
Subsequent Wellness frameworks from Ardell and others described more-specific parts of life (career, family and friend relationships, spirituality, sexuality, finances, intellectual life, etc.) as critical parts of overall Wellness.
WELLNESS and OLDERBEAST
We all want to feel great, look our best, keep getting happier, and live long. At the highest level, that’s a Wellness set of goals, man.
At the ground level where we live daily life, here’s how OlderBeast’s focus areas help nurture and maintain our Wellness:
⇒ Fitness and nutrition are major pillars of Wellness in their own right. The more we keep up a level of overall physical fitness (endurance, strength, flexibility, balance) and start/keep eating right, the more likely we are to enjoy an overall sense of well-being in life. Many OlderBeast posts are all about this, but if you’re new here, please start with this.
⇒ The right fitness activities massively contribute to thriving on other Wellness dimensions. Especially Stress Management, but also in that fitness activities bring us both reflective solitude and the opportunity to be in nature…with both being central to the “Environmental” dimension.
And almost every day, researchers discover new ways the physical (what we do and what we eat) impacts the emotional and intellectual parts of our being. So, fitness and nutrition bring benefits to all dimensions of Wellness, really.
⇒ We all need strategies to not let life’s obligations and pressures prevent us from following a “sustainable for decades” fitness and nutrition plan. As one example of the many that exist here, check out these thoughts about controlling the role of email, media and “screen time” in our lives.
One useful, quick thing to do: take a free online personal wellness assessment. The results will be interesting, I promise. Even the questions are instructive and will help you develop your own gut-level sense of what the pieces of Wellness are for you.
There are a lot of assessments out there, but these two are good for starters. They’re different enough from each other that, with an extra five minutes, you may want to take both.
TestWell (a reference standard among Wellness assessments).
Thrive Global’s “Pulse” assessment (from the new Wellness-oriented media company launched by Arianna Huffington and others).
Wherever you’re starting from on fitness and nutrition, brother, I hope you keep deepening your conviction that physical well-being is intrinsically part of your overall well-being and happiness. Framed this way, fitness and nutrition are a matter of urgency for you, me, all of us.
I hope OlderBeast helps you form and sustain this life-enhancing belief, and helps you make plans for turning in into sustained action. Your feedback on all this will help, so I look forward to hearing from you!
“It takes love over gold, and mind over matter, to do what you do that you must” (Dire Straits, Love Over Gold)