We talk a lot about ways to improve your health, but just as important to staying healthy is staying well. What’s the difference? They are two sides of the same coin, but the idea of wellness is a holistic one – to be well you incorporate the health of your mind, body, and spirit equally.

Investing in your best life doesn’t just mean having a diet and exercise regimen – it means seeing yourself as a whole person and creating your most present, honest life.

Basic Tenets Of Getting And Staying Well

Wellness is a holistic concept.

Anything short of that is incomplete and ultimately ineffective. We need to look at the whole person and plan lifestyle changes for mind, body, spirit and environment. Just working at the dimension of wellness that you already like, such as exercising and minimizing the others, like stress management or nutrition, doesn’t work in the long run.

Self esteem is the critical factor in change.

Wellness is caring enough about yourself to take stock of your life, make the necessary changes and find the support to maintain your motivation. Heal the wounds. Find what is holding you back from feeling good about yourself and work through the blocks, not around them. Acknowledge your achievements and express the “real you.”

You don’t have to be perfect to be well.

Perfectionism often pushes us to feel ashamed and feeds a negative view of ourselves. Workaholism, anorexia and other addictive behaviors can result. Wellness does not mean swearing off hot-fudge sundaes. It just means not b.s.’ing yourself about when you last had one!

Play!

We all need to lighten up, not take ourselves (and wellness) so seriously. Remember the lessons of the coyote and be playful, even ornery in a non-malicious way. Let the child within out to play. Give yourself permission.

– via ahha.org

If you want to start improving your wellness by approaching your life from all angles, the three tips below are a great place to start. It may seem simple, but the more you lighten your stress load and let yourself feel happiness in each area of your life, the healthier you’ll feel overall.

The Mind-Body Connection

Release emotional toxins.

Many of us harbor emotional toxicity in the form of unprocessed anger, hurt or disappointment. This unprocessed residue from the past contributes to toxicity in our body and needs to be eliminated. You can begin by asking yourself, “What am I holding onto from the past that is no longer serving me in the present?”

Once you have identified what you want to release, spend some time journaling about how your life will be different when you change. Then you can do a specific releasing ritual that declares to yourself and to the world that you are letting go of whatever it is you’ve been holding on to.

Cultivate loving relationships.

Research shows that a good social support network has numerous physical and mental health benefits. It can keep you from feeling lonely, isolated or inadequate and if you feel good about yourself, you can deal with stress better. Friends and loved ones can be a good source of advice and suggest new ways of handling problems. But they can also be an excellent distraction from what’s bothering you. If your network of friends is small, think about volunteering, joining an outdoor activities group or trying an online meet-up group to make new friends.

Enjoy a good belly-laugh at least once a day.

From the scientific perspective, laughter is an elegant mind-body phenomenon that reduces the production of stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Researchers in Japan found that people with rheumatoid arthritis who watched “rakugo” or comic storytelling experienced a significant decrease in their pain and stress hormone levels as well as an increase in two immune-enhancing ones.

– via chopra.com

How are you investing in your wellness, rather than just your health? In what areas do you feel your life needs more balance?