Other Dimensions of Well Being

Although good nutrition and physical activity are two key components of a healthy lifestyle, there are definitely other factors that contribute to well being. While it’s important to stay physically healthy, it’s also vital to balance your emotional and psychological well being in your daily life.

Below are a variety of activities that many people find fun, interesting and rewarding.

Give back

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill, former British prime minister

Giving back, whether it’s to the environment or people in need, can be a very enriching and gratifying experience. Every community needs volunteers who will invest their time and energy to help in any way. Whether it’s building homes with organizations like Habitat for Humanity or mentoring local youth as a Big Brother or Big Sister, your efforts will make a difference in somebody’s life. Find volunteering opportunities in your local community using the zipcode search on Volunteer Match. For those with tighter schedules, associations such as One Brick offer one-day volunteer activities such as sorting food at food banks, stuffing gift bags for charity events, and cleaning up parks and beaches.

Express yourself

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

– Pablo Picasso, artist

For centuries, art (both the process and product) has invigorated the human mind, spirit and senses. Finding a channel to express your creativity can be exciting and relaxing and ultimately, help enhance your well being.

Enroll in sculpture, painting or photography classes at your local city college or art museum. Many companies such as Better Photo also offer courses online.

Learn how to dance salsa, hip hop, country/western, swing, tap and more. Use the zipcode search on the Learn to Dance website to find a dance studio near you. Or just turn on the music and dance freestyle in the privacy of your own home.

Pick up your needles and thread (or yarn) and be creative with your knitting, crocheting, quilting or sewing. Organize a craft day with your friends and family members and enjoy your own creations (such as knit hats, gloves, quilts) or donate them to your local hospital or shelter.

Keep intellectually stimulated

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

– Albert Einstein, scientist

Start or join a book club at work or in your dorm. Meet new people and learn new skills by taking classes at your local community college or other continuing education institutions. Course topics range from foreign languages, real estate, business and technology to art, history and food and wine pairings.

Indulge yourself

“Indulge in pleasure whenever you can. Eat dessert first, take a bath in the middle of the day, or watch a squirrel fall off a bird feeder.”

– Loretta Laroche, humorist

Treat yourself to a soothing massage or a relaxing day at the spa with your friends. Unwind from a long day with a hot bubble bath. Bring home flowers to brighten your home or a small dessert as an after-dinner treat.

Explore the world

“The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only a page.”

– Saint Aurelius Augustine (Augustine of Hippo), theologian

Experience different cultures and cuisines in other countries and learn about their history and traditions. Smarter Travel is a great resource for travel destination ideas and special deals. You can even choose to go on a “working vacation” and volunteer while traveling abroad.

Enjoy the outdoors

“The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place him[self] under the influence of the earth, sea and sky and their amazing life.”

– Rachel Carson, environmental scientist

Plant and tend a garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Connect with nature while hiking a trail nearby or camping at a national or state park. Take a walk along the beach or lakefront or even go canoeing down the river. Explore the ocean floors hands-on by learning how to scuba dive or snorkel. During the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing or snowboarding.

Slow down and relax

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

– Sydney Harris, journalist

Take a break from your hectic lifestyle and relax by meditating in a quiet space or taking a yoga class. Schedule time during the day for yourself and do something completely unrelated to work or school. Take a personal retreat, whether it’s several hours or a couple of days, at the park, beach or resort.

Challenge yourself

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”

– William James, psychologist and philosopher

Enhance your own health while contributing to health research by participating in events like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, the AIDS Walk or Swim for a Cure. Take it a step further and train for a marathon or a triathlon with organizations such as Team in Training. And don’t worry if you’re not already a serious athlete because many of the groups will teach you about endurance sports and help you train in preparation for these races.

Whether it’s relaxing at home or traveling abroad, be sure to take the time to do what you enjoy the most. Combining these activities with good nutrition and exercise will help enhance your physical and emotional well being.

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