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  • Writer's pictureDr. Adrian Pujayana

Wellness is a system, not a technique

Being "well" is often thought of as a life that is symptom free...the absence of pain, suffering, or stress. But such a life rarely exists, and if you are living this kind of life presently, I would recommend situating your life circumstances to prepare for the days of hardship.

Wellness has many dimensions, 8 dominant areas actually, and we'll talk about it soon enough. Wellness is a combination of an approach to life, and a resiliency despite illness, pain, and stress. In short, wellness is...

  • Caring for your mind, body and soul

  • Determined and shaped by your culture and life experiences

  • Dynamic, modifiable for better or worse

  • Thriving and having a kind of gratitude despite experiencing challenges in life

The following are the major dimensions of wellness, all of which need some kind of attention and course corrections throughout life. Self awareness and honest introspection are key to evaluating your wellness status, and to create operating systems for these dimensions that create a system that produces a life of wellness. So here we go!


Being emotionally well involves a cultivation of coping skills and worldview that is able to experience the difficult issues or circumstances in life, and bring a proper perspective to them that allows the individual to return to a state of peaceful balance. As a person lives their life, they encounter a prospective or actual threat of sorts, they react (appropriately) and then scale down the level of perceived threat once it is a remedy is initiated. Under-reacting can be a sign of apathy, and over-reacting can produce undue anxiety. This dimension is often influenced by all the other dimensions.


This dimension of well-being recognizes the importance of work and how you derive gratitude for being able to contribute to a group, a cause, or a goal. Finding a job that you can love, earn a living, fills a need, and have passion for excellence can provide a sense of purpose in life through a career choice.


Creative and mentally-stimulating activities should be a part of our life experience. Many people who are thriving well into their 80's and 90's have kept their hobbies, personal growth, and engagement with others intact, bringing an intellectual wellness component into the other 8 dimensions.


The environment we live in are both geographical and cultural. Some environmental aspects can be modifiable by moving to different geographical locations. Other environmental aspects such as pollution and crime may also be modifiable, and certainly can influence our way of life and how our bodies work. Cultural values can also shape how we engage our community and how we respond to certain challenges in life. Environmental wellness is only one aspect of total wellness, and many people have learned to overcome extreme challenges of living in poverty or war-torn regions by having gratitude and joy despite these challenges.


Money isn't everything, though everything does cost money to someone, somewhere. Practicing financial wellness is a process of learning to manage financial expenses and gains in a way that brings options and opportunities that may not be available without some financial resilience.


The ability to maintain a quality of life that allows for personal, occupational, and recreational activities is an important part of total wellness. It allows for your body to perform at a level of intensity and vitality that can affect self care and the care of others. Physical wellness also allows for more resilience in occupational tasks and also environmental stresses as well.


This aspect of wellness focuses on meaningful and nurturing relationships with other individuals, groups, and communities. Communication, trust, conflict management and setting boundaries are just a few aspects of a healthy social well being that can and will affect self respect and also respect for others.


"Spiritual" is an ambiguous term. Some people say they are 'spiritual' to convey they pursue things in life that feel good. I don't object to this practice, as feeling good is preferable to feeling badly.

Spirituality is acknowledging that you have not been put on this earth in vain, and there is meaning in each of our lives because it was created in the image of God...the God who created the universe who spoke it into being, and created the heavens, the earth, all it's inhabitants, and finally, created man and woman in His image. This is the God who has revealed Himself through the bible, the one who brought light into the darkness, and made a way of restoration for man when man decided to choose to become his own god by taking of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). This God has also revealed himself through all of creation...the stars, the earth, and all creatures, and has also revealed His son, Jesus, the one who has completely done the work of redemption from our sin towards a Holy God, an act that was done in the garden that brought death and spiritual suffering to those who continue to go against a Holy God. This restoration was made possible by the perfect-life, death, and resurrection from death of God's only son, Jesus. And only through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

Realizing we are sinners in the presence of a Holy God is a terrifying place to be...certainly a not-feel-so-good feeling...but He promises the following...that "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)

I think there is a humility that runs deep into our soul when we think of spiritual wellness as realizing that we are sinful people, waiting for the day of redemption when God will bring justice to the unjust, and waiting for the promise of Jesus returning to the earth, "For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'" (Romans 14: 10-11)

In summary, there is no pill or supplement for wellness. There is no exercise for wellness. Your lifestyle develops patterns that make you adapt into wellness or mal-adapt out of it. You must learn, do, and engage in a life that is productive, good towards, others, good towards self, and grateful towards God. Learning to trust in God's ways and values are not always easy, and is a lifelong process, but we can. He blesses us in our pursuit of Him who sent his son, Jesus Christ our savior. I wish you all well in pursuing a life that is gratifying and peaceful no matter what your present circumstances bring!

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