A Beginner’s Guide to Total Wellness
Wellness can be defined as a balance between the mind, body and soul that results in a state of overall well-being. The mind, body and soul triangle, the Wellness Triangle, is the foundation of wellness.
People who are new to wellness usually are introduced to one part of this triangle such as exercise, diet or stress-reducing practices (meditation). As important as these activities are, it’s even more important to understand the entire Wellness Triangle.
This post is an introduction to the Wellness Triangle and will provide ways to improve the mind, body and soul connection.
Body is by far the most frequently discussed part of the Wellness Triangle and it makes sense to start there.
- Body: There are two fundamental ways to improve your body: exercise and diet. Both are essential to overall wellness because your body is a temple and should be treated as such. Below are tips to improve your body:
- Yoga – Yoga is a one of the most popular and oldest fitness activities. Wellness is one of the building blocks of Yoga. Traditionally, Yoga was used to prepare the body and mind for mediation. Currently, Yoga is usually practiced for its physical benefits. At the Yoga classes I attend, meditation and chanting are always the first things to be cut. This is unfortunate because they represent activities of the mind, which are part of the Wellness Triangle. Here is a great site with a huge variety of Yoga postures.
- Weight Training – Weight training, or resistance training, is an excellent way to get into shape. As you add muscle, your body will burn more calories. Weight training is essential for reshaping your body. Good introductions to weight training can be found at: About.com, beYOU.tv, VideoJug, and Strong Lifts have good tutorials and introductions to weight and strength training.
- Cardio Exercise – Cardiovascular or cardio exercise will improve your cardiovascular system and your endurance. Running, walking, swimming or jumping rope are great cardio exercises. ShapeFit lists many effective cardio exercises.
- Diet – Don’t let your hard work go to waste. What you eat will directly effect how you feel, so fuel up on healthy food. Dr. Andew Weil provide a comprehensive Wellness Diet in an article for Time. I’m currently in the process of switching to all organic food and have never felt better.
- Meditation – Meditation is one of the great techniques you can use to calm and clear you mind. Meditation can improve your concentration, decrease stress, decrease muscle tension and build self-confidence. Many people are intimidated by meditation or simply don’t “get it”. Here is a great guide to meditation that will demystify this exciting technique.
- Relaxation – Relaxation techniques and breathing exercises are critical for wellness. Stress leads to many problems including lack of sleep, feeling overwhelmed and overreacting to unexpected problems. The Yoga 3-step breath will reduce stress quickly. Here is a good resource on relaxation.
- Soul: The soul part of the Wellness Triangle is the trickiest to describe and write about. Anything that you deeply enjoy can be a soulful activity. For some, being in nature, listening to a loved one or writing poetry are soulful acts. For a more formal definition:
- Eckhart Tolle teaches about the “Power of Now”. In short, if you can live in the present moment, you will live a more fulfilling life.
- Pema Chodron teaches Tonglen Meditation. Tonglen means “taking and giving”, she is known for her appealing and down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism.
Wellness is an achievable goal; sometimes you just need a guide to point you in the right direction. Keep the Wellness Triangle in mind as you pursue your wellness goals. Everything you do should reinforce your goals. When you eat properly you are reinforcing your exercise goals. When you meditate you are reinforcing your goals for your soul and body. As your efforts focus on total wellness you will see that it is achievable!