We’ve been exploring the mutually interdependent dimensions of wellness for the past few weeks. As you read about them, you may have seen how they contribute to aging well.
We’ve focused on five dimensions: emotional, spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual. I think strengthening them leads to a sixth - functional wellness, and others.
Functional wellness is concerned with the ability to function “well” in every aspect of life. At its core, it honors holistic health, which means it respects physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual wellness.
The WebMD website agrees.
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person—body, mind, spirit, and emotions—in the quest for optimal health and wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health—the primary goal of holistic medicine practice—by gaining proper balance.
Overall, functional wellness embraces today’s holistic health principles. And similarly, these concepts are changing the way fitness is perceived.
Holistic health principles don’t solely look at the physical body. They combine five aspects of health. Those aspects are, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. They enable a person to live life to its happiest and fullest.
Holistic health and functional wellness seem synonymous.
Building physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health creates functional wellness. With functional wellness, a person can manage the financial, organizational, occupational, and environmental components of health.
Would it hold true that if we improve each aspect of health, we may have a better chance of aging well? Maybe!
Or is there another factor? What about mindset - the established set of attitudes a person holds?
Mindset is the beliefs that shape how people make sense of the world and themselves. It influences how they think, feel, and behave in situations.
According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, beliefs play a pivotal role in what people want and whether they accomplish it. She found that mindset plays a significant role in determining achievement and success.
According to Dweck, there are two primary mindsets: fixed and growth. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are fixed and can't be changed. You may also think that your talent and intelligence alone lead to success, and effort is not required.
If you have a growth mindset, you believe you can develop your talents through effort and persistence. People with this mindset don't necessarily think they can become Einstein or Mozart just because they try. However, they do believe they can be more intelligent or talented with effort.
With a fixed mindset, I avoid challenges, choose to read a mystery book rather than learn a new language, and have hurt feelings when someone gives me negative feedback. With a growth mindset, I have room to improve, embrace challenges, and view failure as part of the learning process.
But, let Carol explain in her own words.
Every person has a finite number of years in life - applying the dimensions of wellness, and a growth mindset may make the journey a bit easier. At least, that’s my theory and my plan.
If I assess myself regarding the dimensions, my grade card would look like this.
Emotional - C-. My emotions play a prominent role in my choices.
Spiritual - B. Working on it with some improvement.
Social - B-. I get out often and talk with friends online.
Physical - B-. I walk daily including four flights of stairs and do stretches.
Intellectual - A-. I read constantly, am learning Spanish, and write the newsletter.
Growth Mindset - C. Adopting more of the principles will be helpful.
So. I’m headed in the right direction, but have work to do.
What would your grade card look like?
I love the scorecard. I am thinking about mine. I am not sure I would go as well as you!
This has been an excellent series of articles. BUT -- yikes! My grade card doesn't look so good. I better get hopping.