“Wellness” is a term that has gained momentum in the last few years but why? And what does it mean?

Does it mean that you don’t get the flu often? Or a cold? Does it mean that when you say “I am well” it means you’re okay – surviving? Or does it encompass everything – “LIFE IS GOOD!”?

The term also has a lot of people laughing at it – cynically – because it seems that everybody has jumped onto the “wellness” bandwagon. Look on Instagram and it seems that anyone can meter out advice on exercise, diets (Paleo, Keto, Military, Gluten-free, Atkins etc’. Then there’s the quotes “live every day as though it’s your last” – you get the picture!!

So why are we all looking towards this “wellness” advice? Is it a fad? Or has it become a desire that we all need to feel “better” within ourselves? Why now? Could it be that with the cost of living soaring and our expectations increasing, we have squeezed out what’s really important -  the simplicity of happiness. Isn’t that what we all deserve? Have people opted out of building their own families because just working hard is sucking the life out of them? Keeping up with everybody else is exhausting? Working out at the gym is all consuming? But for what? Are we laughing along the way, feeling good just because (not because you just bought a new outfit or dined at a fancy restaurant)?

This blog will delve into a few ideas to hopefully help you uncover what makes you tick, how best to fuel yourself and discover who you are in relation to the rest of humankind. What is it that you are doing right now that you want to stop but can’t? Are you eating for the right reason? What kind of exercise do you do? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you actually have a purpose in life aside from getting up and going to work?

My Blog will bring you in touch with issues that are basic at heart yet so important and maybe what we’re all forgetting to focus on! So lets get started.

Why is life purpose important?

How you would you define the purpose of life? To serve your God? Your family? Or yourself? Is it to find out why you’re on this earth? Or isn’t it important to you?

Have you ever experienced a moment in life where you truly felt like you were making a purposeful contribution to life? Where you really mattered? It could have been helping a friend through a tough time, comforting your grandmother or aunty,  or even creating a piece of art or music. Something just CLICKED and made you smile so much that you thought “wow – I feel GREAT!”?

Living with purpose should feel clear and authentic. You might experience a consistent “flow” where you are in a state of complete absorption, time seems to disappear and you are contented. It’s extremely good for you emotionally and psychologically. Why?

In 2009 a study of over 73,000 Japanese men and women found that those who had a strong connection to their sense of purpose (“ikigai” in Japanese) tended to live longer than those who didn’t. This study uncovered areas where communities where people were more likely to live past 100 and one of the most prevalent factors was a strong sense of purpose.

Another study in 2008 found that a lower level of purpose in Japanese men was associated with earlier death and cardiovascular disease. More research in this area showed that “purpose is a possible protective factor against near-future myocardial infarction among those with coronary heart disease.”

In studies of thousands of elderly subjects by an eminent neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre in Chicago, found that people with a low sense of life purpose were 2.4 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than those with a strong purpose. Furthermore, people with purpose were less likely to develop impairments in daily living and mobility disabilities.

Purpose can also positively affect pain management- a study in The Journal of Pain found that women with a stronger sense of purpose were better able to withstand heat and cold stimuli applied to their skin.

Purpose leads to better relationships –  a study from the University of Minnesota in 2009, assed the purpose of over 1000 adults finding that those with a high sense of meaning in their lives spent more time and attention on their loved ones and communities. On the whole, people with purpose tend to be more engaged with their families, colleagues and neighbors, enjoying more satisfying relationships as a whole.

So how can you become more purposeful?  Find out what has you totally absorbed, passionate and engaged whether it be in sport, cooking, reading, writing, hiking – where you lose track of time. This concept of being completely present is called “flow” and scientists claim that it’s a key part of an emotionally healthy life.

Being “caught in the flow” is a fulfilling, pleasurable experience that means you are engaging in a task that challenges and excites you.