My essential five pillars of health and wellness
Updated: Jan 17
How are you feeling today?
I guarantee that whatever is bothering you or upsetting you, fits into one of the categories explained in this article.
I believe that there are five essential pillars of health and wellbeing that can be broken down into the following five areas:
Mind and emotions - Achieve emotional balance and mental wellbeing
Sleep and waking cycles - Develop an understanding of your circadian rhythm
Connection to others - Cultivate improved and healthy social relationships
Movement - Focus on quality and enjoyable exercise
Sustainable eating - Enjoy good food and harness the power of nutrition
Let's go through each of them in more detail below.
Mind and emotions
According to the National Science Foundation, every human has around 60,000 thoughts per day.
Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive.
Think about that for a moment.
If we are repeating negative thoughts then we think negative thoughts way more than positive.
This affects our choices, behaviours, decisions.
Our internal world affects our external world.
So many people let the external world affect their internal world.
Your thoughts affect your beliefs which affect your choices; our minds affect our overall health and wellbeing so having a healthy mindset is central to making the changes you want to make in your life.
In order for us to achieve emotional balance and mental wellbeing, raising our consciousness about our thinking patterns beliefs and behaviours is really important to drive more positive thoughts and improve our lives.
Sleep and waking cycles
Sleep is defined as a natural periodic state of rest of the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli.
One of the leading authorities on sleep, Dr William Dement, said, “You’re not healthy unless your sleep is healthy.”
We can all relate to this statement.
There is nothing worse than a bad nights sleep, you wake up groggy, grumpy, and it inevitably affects the day ahead.
Sleeping is how your body and mind rests and restores its energy levels.
It is an active state that affects both your physical and mental state.
Sleep deprivation can be incredibly damaging.
Symptoms and common ailments associated with sleep deprivation include immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression and memory loss.
Many people can be suffering from any number of issues or diseases, and don’t realise that their continued sleep problems are acting as a catalyst and ongoing contributing factor.
Connection to others
How often do you look around the lunchroom and every single person is looking at their smartphone?
When did you last check in on that friend or family member, and go for a coffee or a catch up in real life?
When did you recently open up about your feelings to someone close to you?
In a world that is seemingly more connected than ever due to the huge uplift in social and digital media, we are often far more isolated and lonely than appearances suggest.
The danger of the perfect worlds that we convey online mean that deep-seated personal issues can be left for individuals to deal with by themselves.
It can also breed jealousy and leads to you feeling insufficient when comparing yourself to idealistic lifestyles, unattainable goals and unsustainable habits across Instagram and other social platforms.
Cultivating improved and healthy social relationships is crucial to both your physical and mental health.
Sedentary lifestyles are slowly killing us.
Inactivity has been described as a ‘silent killer’ by the Departments of Health.
Current obesity statistics overwhelmingly support this; today, nearly one-third of the world’s population is obese or overweight.
Food and the volume we eat are partly to blame, but we’re also becoming lazier as individuals.
Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.
Exercise activity thermogenesis is energy (calories) expended from intentional exercises.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy (calories) you expend for everything you do that isn’t sleeping or exercising.
You will struggle to out-exercise a sedentary lifestyle, even if you manage to make it to the gym 2-3 times per week.
It will not compensate for your 9am-5pm desk job and Netflix binges every evening.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose body fat is solely focusing on burning calories whilst exercising at the gym and neglecting their overall daily activity levels.
Slogging it out continuously on the treadmill is not an automatic recipe for success.
You need to combine a reduction in calories, strength training and increase your daily activity to achieve fat loss, health, fitness and longevity.
The best diet is one that allows you to make consistent progress without negatively impacting and taking over your life.
You want to find a way of eating that makes your life happier, healthier, more enjoyable and if you tick these three boxes, it’s the one you can stick to forever.
The key to sustainable eating is to create a plan that includes sound nutrition that fits around your lifestyle, and not one that dictates how you live the rest of your life.
Where are you now?
Using the five pillar wheel below, record where you are at with each of the five pillars right now.
The wheel represents your level of satisfaction with each of the pillars.
Mark on here a score between 0-10 with 0 being totally unsatisfied and 10 being totally satisfied.
Use this as a basis for your decisions over the next few weeks.
Be honest with yourself.
Where should your focus be on improving?
Mind and Emotions – I don’t allow negative thoughts to impact my choices, behaviours and decisions.
Connection to Others – I connect regularly to those who positively impact my life.
Sustainable Eating – My current diet allows me to make consistent progress without negatively impacting and taking over my life.
Movement – I am active throughout my day, not just with planned exercise.
Sleep and Waking Cycles - I feel that I get adequate sleep and wake to feel refreshed.
Ben Yates is a personal trainer based at Places Gym Hinckley and Hinckley Leisure Centre in Leicestershire.
To book your free personal training consultation click here