What's your wellness quotient?

What's your wellness quotient?

Blame stress for making healthy living such an overwhelming proposition. Adults in some parts of the world are, apparently, looking for relief in colouring books — yes, just like the ones we used as kids, but these specifically cater to older folks trying to beat the constant worry. There are studies that say volunteerism — dedicating some time for a social cause, say, teaching at an orphanage — up one’s wellness quotient.

The feeling after a trek in the woods, a day at the spa, a good night’s sleep…it’s easy to know when you experience that elusive sense of wellness, but how do you define it? Can it be a part of everyday life?   
 
Yes, say the experts. From Ayurveda to abdominoplasty and pumping iron to embracing the right dietary fats, there are many paths that lead to wellness. Take your pick and make it work.

‘A dynamic process of change and growth’
Rupal Tyagi, certified aroma therapist and founder, Wikka

Wellness is a positive approach to living by becoming aware and making choices towards a healthier, happier and fulfilling life.  It is, basically, a state that is oriented toward maximising an individual’s potential. In short, wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.

Everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our wellbeing. Feelings are hard for some to express. Being aware of what we are feeling can help direct our emotions into productive emotions. Achieving emotional balance lays the foundation for wellbeing. It is important to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.

There are eight dimensions of wellness, which are interrelated. Wellness and efficiency actually go hand in hand. We should encourage professionals and youngsters to focus on their key health behaviours such as increasing physical activity, improving eating habits, reducing stress and ceasing tobacco use to live a healthy and happier life.

*  Be positive: It is easy to get caught up in negative thoughts or among negative people. Whenever you feel that happening, immediately redirect and focus on the positive parts of the situation. Write down positive thoughts and repeat them to yourself. Surround yourself with positive people as much as you can.


* Accept support: For many, getting things off their shoulder makes them feel better. Whether it is a trusted friend or a colleague, talk to someone about how you feel, do not go through tough times alone.

* Seek balance: Be practical about your responsibilities and what you can possibly accomplish. Being overwhelmed may hinder productivity and focus and can have physical implications also. Set realistic goals and priorities, and then, tackle them.

* Manage stress: Stress can affect both emotional and physical wellness. Find a way to manage your stress. For some, a workout helps, while for others, a hobby may keep them calm. Wellness programmes are also available to help manage stress.

* Encourage exercise: Turn your office into an active campus. Implement and promote a lunch-hour walking club. Encourage the entire office to use the stairs. Join a local gym or exercise club.

 Fat is important for our wellbeing’
Ritika Samaddar, dietician

The key to improving our wellness quotient lies in our attitude towards life. While life gets increasingly competitive, both at personal and professional fronts, it is imperative to maintain a positive approach.

Also, factors such as diet and lifestyle have a bearing on one’s wellness quotient. One must ensure that their diet consists of a variety of food items that are rich in protein and fibre. Another thing that’s worth pointing out here is the role of fats in our diets. While most of us shy away from consuming fats, we must understand fat is an essential component of a healthy diet and is important for our wellbeing — provided it is of the right kind. That is, fats which are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and Omega 3 fatty acids.

One must also avoid lethargy and stay active with regular exercising in the form of walking, cycling, meditating or an activity of choice. While many confuse wellness with the absence of disease, I believe it is about leading a stress-free life with a well-maintained and balanced lifestyle. Wellness is about happiness and freedom from negativity. The right weight and fitness levels, freedom from illnesses are all important aspects of wellness. But there’s more to it…a feeling one has to strive for to lead a happy life.

Over the years, I have realised that a person’s emotional quotient is the key to wellness. My advice to all youngsters is ‘start early’. While there will always be things to worry about, be it studies or a job, you have to learn to take out time to do what you love — something that helps you maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today can actually reap amazing benefits in the future.

 

‘Fifty is the new thirty’
Vandana Luthra, founder, VLCC

Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process, where one is aware of making sound choices towards achieving a healthy and fulfilling life. Both looking good and feeling good are essential for wellness as it gives you a sense of confidence and empowerment. India has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 25 years — in economic and social freedoms, in aspirations and opportunities. And wellness is an important aspect of this. Fifty is the new thirty. To my mind, that is wellness.

While the mental, social and spiritual aspects of wellness can only be defined in qualitative terms, the physical aspects can certainly can be quantified and Body Mass Index (BMI), Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and obesity are just some of these parameters. Leading a healthy lifestyle, with a good balance of healthy eating and exercise while also managing stress levels holds the key; it is also critical to manage one’s weight.

Although India has one of the largest obese populations in the world, obesity has not recognised as a major public health problem in the country. Obesity has been linked with several chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer. Managing obesity will help increase one’s wellness quotient.

Earlier, wellness was more about a state of mind rather than a state of body. This has come to change over the years and today holistic wellness encompasses both the aspects, physical and mental. Stand up for your health. According to studies, if you’re sitting for six-seven hours a day, the risk of heart attacks, cancer and a shorter life span are higher, even if you exercise.

On the other hand, reducing sitting time and standing for an hour can help burn approximately 50 extra kilocalories. So, by standing for two hours a day for a year one can lose more than 25,000 calories, or nearly three kg in terms of weight loss.

 

‘Start and end your day with prayer’
Mickey Mehta, holistic health guru

Wellness encompasses all aspects of being healthy by harmonising your body from within. It is a process of transformation that works on the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological levels. Achieving this state would include a combination of yoga, Pilates, exercises, swimming, meditation, and intelligent diet plan to empower you with energy, better immunity, confidence and creativity to attain overall metamorphosis.

Wellness or wellbeing does not require extreme measures. Simple steps and awareness, which includes a proper balance and planning of time and execution, can play a big role. Tracking your health is a powerful way to become more mindful about your lifestyle pattern. This also gives you an impetus to bring in discipline and commitment and helps to stay motivated. Physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, lack of rest and sleep, stress, smoking and excess drinking are the leading causes of all ailments, deterioration and even premature deaths.

The golden rule is to eat sensibly — wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, salads, sprouts, whole grains, millets, nuts, low-fat milk; exercise and rest well. Exercise for the love of it and choose a regime that’s apt for you. Include yoga and breathing exercises as they are powerful, effective and offer tremendous healing effects. Start and end your day with prayer and meditation. Good thoughts, good deeds, kind words and philanthropy can make you content and happy. Stay disciplined and committed
to wellness.

 

‘To live life to the fullest’
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, MD, MedLinks

Wellness implies being happy and healthy, both physically and mentally. It requires a deliberate effort by an individual to live life to the fullest. Eating a nutritionally adequate diet with daily exercise can help to avoid obesity and delay the signs of ageing.

Both physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing are influenced by each other. If a person feels that he doesn’t look good, he will feel depressed and this will affect his mental wellbeing. Likewise, if a person is tensed, he might not feel like eating his regular meals and hence it affects his physical wellbeing. So, basically, we have to maintain this delicate balance between the body and mind.

We need to take care of our skin and hair as these go a long way in improving our physical wellbeing. We are lucky to be born in this era  where scientific solutions are easily available — say, to add some volume to our locks or to make our skin look firmer and radiant. If you want to look young, there are cosmetic surgeons; if you want to cut down your tummy, you can get an abdominoplasty!

About 50 years ago, people weren’t very knowledgeable about wellness, nevertheless their eating habits and working style were such that very few people were obese and fewer men and women had sagging skin in their thirties. Baldness and hair loss were also not very common. But as our lifestyles changed, we started eating lot of refined flour; adulteration also affected our nutrition standards.

Remember that the human body is very important and if you take care of it in its youth, it will take care of you in your old age. Do not miss a meal. Avoid junk food. Eat lots of green veggies and include some physical activity in your daily routine. Live well!

 

‘Focus on feeding your mind, body and soul’
Dr Partap Chauhan,
director, Jiva Ayurveda


Most people misunderstand wellness. They either ignore the concept completely or limit its scope to an extremely narrow perspective. It’s important to give people a holistic overview of wellness so that they can incorporate it effortlessly into their lives. According to Ayurveda, the human body is more than the sum total of a few organs. It includes the mind, the soul, and the senses.

Therefore, wellness, too, isn’t just about physical health but encompasses mental, emotional and spiritual welfare as well. So, don’t just go by what your test reports, blood pressure or sugar levels say. Being healthy is important; but true wellness comes when you are happy, blissful and free from stress and tension. We have a way of measuring the levels of blood sugar in our body or how high our cholesterol levels are. Unfortunately, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing is not quantifiable. But, there are always tiny indications that keep nagging at us, telling us that all is not well.

Look around. People are well-settled in life and have all the money they want, but they are not happy. They feel like they’re missing something. That feeling of disquiet, the stress, tension, persistent tiredness, aggression, and lack of tolerance are all indicators that they are yet to reach the state of wellness.

To attain that state, you don’t have to drastically turn around your lifestyle. Small changes, like little drops in the ocean, add up to cumulative benefits. The first thing to do is to have a disciplined life. Fix the time you wake up in the morning and the times at which you have your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if you can’t dedicate 30-45 minutes to exercise everyday, just do some light stretches, warm-up and practise deep breathing. Always eat according to the season, making your meals from fresh fruits and vegetables that are available around that time of the year. Avoid preserved or frozen food items and always eat in a peaceful environment, away from distractions and electronic gadgets, like TV and mobile phones. Finally, try and live a sattvik life. Do not be motivated by greed. Instead work hard to fulfill your needs and focus on feeding your mind, body and soul with happy and positive thoughts.

Earlier, people had fewer desires and simpler lifestyles. Today, the obsession is to have six-pack abs and size-zero figures. We run behind money, flashy cars and high fashion, all of which come at a cost. Remember, whatever you earn in life by following your dharma can never be bad, but if you push your duty aside and get blinded by your desires, it won’t do you any good. Never compromise on your health in the pursuit of your dreams. If your immunity is weak, your life will immediately fall out of balance and if that happens, you will not be able to achieve your goals. So, work hard, but take the time out to recharge yourself.

 

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