If you’ve been on the path to wellness you’ve probably learned one thing: health is multifaceted and it needs to be cared for on many levels for true wellness to occur. Dr. Mark Hyman, a functional medicine pro, created the Feel Good Wheel for his patients to map out the eight areas that are essential to building vibrant health. He breaks down each spoke and how it supports wellness in a truly integrative way. Some of our favorite takeaways are below!
Studies have shown that a lack of community and strong social connection can pose just as much health risk as smoking. Eating well and moving our bodies are most definitely keys to good health, but they mean nothing if someone feels isolated, disconnected, and lonely. Get involved in things you care about and your community connections will naturally fall into place.
We’ve seen that a positive attitude with enthusiasm for life, emotional vitality, and a sense of purpose can make people more physically resilient. Taking time to check in with yourself everyday, allowing yourself the room to change when necessary, and practicing meditation are all helpful ways to nourish your spirit.
Ignoring negative emotions can actually contribute to physical disease, which is one of many reasons it’s important to face your fear of feelings. There are many ways you can foster a more open relationship with your emotions; try practicing deep breathing methods during overwhelming moments, show yourself compassion when times are tough, and don’t be afraid to talk out a difficult feeling with a friend or professional coach.
We must realize that as humans we all have an innate desire to connect and be close to others. It’s also important to explore your own feelings, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and work on prioritizing the relationships you want to support. It’s okay to walk away from toxic relationships that aren’t serving you—sometimes moving on is the best way to support our own needs.
What we put into our bodies can impact our mood, our energy, and our physical health. By becoming more mindful and intentional about what we eat, when we eat, and why we eat, we can create balance and harmony, both physically and emotionally. Real foods in their simplest form make the most nourishing fuel for the body.
Body + Movement.
We’ve known for quite some time that exercise benefits our health, but science is also showing additional physical benefits from movement, ranging from supporting brain health and cognition to balancing our stress response signals. It’s also okay to start small—even just a short walk each day can work wonders for your health.
Research has shown that having a sense of purpose produces longer, happier lives. Identify what makes you feel your best. What parts of your schedule do you most look forward to? How can you make more time for these things that light you up? Are you keeping an open mind to unexpected opportunities? These are important questions to ask yourself so that you can move forward feeling happier and more fulfilled.
Mindset + Practice.
Our mindset and daily practices can be the strongest guiding force to carry us on the journey to better health.
In the case of stress, one study found that those with a “stress-is-enhancing” mindset, as opposed to a “stress-is-debilitating” mindset, had fewer psychological stress responses like anxiety, depression, and anger. Beneficial practices can come in many forms, just find something that feels good to you and make it a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
We wish you health and happiness this year!