External Factors of Wellness
Hey guys. Welcome to the Saluber Coaching Show. Helping you make wellness a priority. My name is Dr. Matthew Blaylock. Today, we're going to continue talking about what is wellness. In the previous episode, we talked about humans are a holistic system. What that means is sometimes these five various aspects that people talk about – physical, and, mental, and emotional, and social, and spiritual - that seem to be separate or individual parts, are actually one system that allows us to function as a whole. Today we're going to talk about the external factors that influence a person's level of wellness.
To get started, think about environment. The where a person lives has an impact on their level of health and wellness. Think about the person that lives in a very harsh environment frozen area that is really cold like Siberia. Or, think about a person lives in an extreme environment like Death Valley. How about a person that lives on top of a mountain - a really high altitude. Or, maybe even a person that lives below sea level that that's in danger being flooded. Whether a person lives in a city - an urban environment, or whether a person lives out in the country in a very rural environment, all of those things have a direct influence on a person’s level of health and wellness.
Now apart from the environment somebody lives in, there's also the ideologies or the world views or the belief systems that a person lives in. Now, think about a person that lives in a communist state and compare that to a person that lives in a democratic republic. Those people may experience different levels of stress and different levels of well-being as a function of the belief system or the political systems in which they're living under. Also, think about a person who lives with the ideology of the green movement. Taking care of the environment and living a very natural life. How does that affect their wellness?
Outside of ideologies, think about a culture the person lives in. Cultures are the accepted norms or what people in general think is normal for behavior for other people. Now, there are cultures that support individuality, and there are other cultures that support group interaction. Cultures may oppose a certain group of people or may give certain privileges to another group of people. Right or wrong, culture is a reality that everyone grows up in, and that will influence a person's level of wellness in their life.
Outside of culture, there's also relationship. In the previous episode, I talked about how the relationship with one’s self and how one relates to others will affect their level of wellness. But, also from the other side, the way that a person relates with us can affect our level of health and wellness. Think about family and friends and co-workers and neighbors and how they relate to us. While we can't control it, it does have an effect on our lives.
Outside of relationships, there's also things like work. A person may spend 40, 60, 80, or more hours of their life every week at their job. Sometimes a person does work that they love - that they feel like they're contributing to society. They feel like they're able to express themselves. And, other times people work at a job that just brings them stress and frustration. They feel limited or held back or unappreciated at the work that they do.
Now, related to work also it is the factor of finances or money. Whether a person has enough money or too little money or maybe even too much money, that will decide a lot of the choices that they're able to make in their life. It will determine the kinds of food they are able to buy. And, the places they live. And, where they're able to go. And, even to some degree, the relationships they have. A person's finances while it doesn't determine their happiness does influence their level of well-being.
Outside of finances, there's also the religious belief systems that surround the person every day. These belief systems will help influence what a person does with their life on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, and on a yearly basis. It may determine what food they can eat, and what they can't eat. It may determine who they interact with. It may even decide where a person needs to go in their life. Now, all of these factors and many more, influence a person's level of wellness.
I'm not saying that you have to control each and every factor in order to live healthy and experience wellness in your life. I'm not saying that you need to move to a tropical island, you need to set up a utopian society, and you need to be rich in order to live well. What I am saying is that you need to be aware. You need to realize that there is a dynamic balance between these internal aspects and external factors. And, these internal aspects and external factors will in some way lead you to a choice point - a place where you have to make some decisions about your life and what consequences are you willing to accept. While you may not be able to change all of these external factors, you have the ability to change the way you respond to those factors. Which, will influence your level of health and well-being. So, what is it for you guys that causes the biggest challenge or what is the biggest hurdle from some of these external factors that you face? Let me know in the comments below, and we'll start a discussion about what it is we can do to overcome some of these external factors. In the next episode, I'm going to be talking about the illness-wellness scale to finish up the series on what is wellness. So, until we meet next time, be strong and live well.