Family wellness is not just about physical health; it involves caring and being supportive of family members, who embrace each other’s differences and unique qualities. This type of wellness stimulates the development of the individual’s potential and helps shape a person’s character, thus helping each family member to grow and cope with life’s many challenges.
As explained by Dr Zulkifli early on, wellness consists of 6 dimensions one of which, physical wellness, has been elaborated by Dr Tee. Each dimension of wellness complements each other and are closely interrelated. The other 5 dimensions largely refers to inner wellness and are discussed below:
Emotional Wellness is the ability to be aware of and cope with daily emotional changes in adaptive ways. The ability to recognise, accept and share different feelings in a productive manner contributes to our emotional wellness.
- Make choices and decisions by processing feelings, thoughts, philosophies, and behaviour. Be more open and share feelings and thoughts with the family more often.
- For children, their principles and beliefs are moulded based on observing and imitating their parents early on in life, so set a good example.
- Live and work independently without ignoring the importance of seeking and appreciating the support and assistance of others. Teach your children that asking for help is not a display of weakness but an opportunity to learn, connect and improve.
- Take on challenges, take risks, and recognize conflict as being potentially healthy. Parents should take failure or defeat as an opportunity for their children to experience disappointment, learn from it and ultimately finding ways to overcome it.
- It is perfectly all right to have negative feelings as they are real and part of life. Rather than discouraging them, help your children recognise this and teach them skills to manage them.
Social Wellness is about interacting with people. It involves using effective communication and nurturing interpersonal skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, as well as creating a support system that includes family members and friends.
- Form relationships with others based on a foundation of mutual commitment, trust and respect, by reinforcing good behaviours such as honesty, personal initiatives and kindness.
- Positively participate and spend family quality time by involving the family in voluntary opportunities in your community.
- Make new friends and socialize. A good place to do this together as a family is by getting involved in NGOs, clubs, and social causes.
- Improving or maintaining social wellness is also beneficial to mental, intellectual and occupational wellness because when you meet new people you may experience and learn new things.
- You also have a greater chance of increasing opportunities in your life (i.e. in business, work, study, and play among others) and that of other family members as well.
Occupational Wellness is the ability to achieve a dynamic balance between work and leisure time, addressing workplace demands and building relationships with co-workers. It focuses on finding where you fit in at work and the larger community as well as how you can contribute best.
- When each family member is doing what they were meant to do or enjoy what they are currently doing in life, it deepens their sense of meaning and purpose.
- Find a job you enjoy doing and remember to support your spouse’s career and your children’s interests as well. Encourage your children to try new hobbies, sports, etc. so that they experience as many different things as possible to enrich their lives.
- If your current job has you stressed, make sure to take time for yourself to calm down.
- Take the initiative to develop new skills for excelling in the workplace.
- Maintain a healthy balance between work and play – this may take some adjustments but learning from it makes you more effective through practice.
- Doing what you love is great, but a good relationship with your employer as well as with other co-workers is key in creating a comfortable, calm and conducive work environment.
Intellectual Wellness is engaging in creative and stimulating mental activities to expand knowledge and skills and sharing it with others. An intellectually well person enjoys activities that help stimulate the mind and is engaged in the exploration of new ideas and experiences. Needless to say, working on your mental, social and occupational wellness also indirectly helps improve your intellectual wellness.
- Ask questions such as who benefits? How? What’s the evidence? And then what?
- Look at ideas and issues from different angles, or at least from the opposite direction.
- Putting yourself in other people’s shoes and see the world from a different perspective can help give you a wider scope in understanding world issues.
- Have discussions with people: your spouse, friends, and even your children about ideas that you have and challenge yourself from time to time to prove yourself wrong.
- Take time off to reflect on ideas that you have discussed with people.
Spiritual Wellness is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives. The path to spiritual wellness may involve meditation, prayer, affirmations, or specific spiritual practices that support your connection to a higher power or belief system. Your religious faith, values, beliefs, principles, and morals define your spirituality.
- Spend some time practising religious or spiritual activities on a regular basis – alone as well as with family and friends.
- Reflect on how you feel in your heart as you practice religious or spiritual activities and notice how they bring you peace.
- Involve your family and friends in discussing about how your religious or spiritual practices help you and them.
- Spend some time each day in being still.
- Volunteer yourself within the community. The spirit of friendliness, generosity, celebrating skilfulness and gratitude are easily derived from volunteer work.
Wellness is a conscious choice, a skill to be learned, and a journey which helps you evolve and become a better person. People deserve to feel fulfilled in their lives as a whole. When the family’s wellness is in check, so too is the individual ability of family members to be productive in all phases of life: home, work, relationships, etc. Two most important feelings to have that provides inner wellness is being a useful member of the family and society, as well as a sense of belonging to a family, group or community.
In addition, inner wellness when coupled with physical wellness allows for a happier environment where you can be a productive member of the community and improve your life and the lives of others.