a mature women taking in a big breath

The Five Most Important Areas of Well-being

I do not recommend that you aim for perfection, but I do suggest that you commit to making small incremental improvements throughout your life. With that in mind…

In which of the Five Pillars of Well-being do you have the most room for improvement? And in which of these Areas are you already doing pretty good?

An illustrative image of lungs and a heart, with faded out illustrations of a brain, people talking, a compass and happy/sad masks

There are five pillars of well-being that impact your ability to live life to the fullest. Whether your goal is to be fully present with your children or grandchildren, to be a great leader at work or to really make a difference in your community, the #1 way to elevate your effectiveness is to maximize your own well-being first.

I’m going to introduce you to each of the five pillars of well-being that make all the difference to how much you get to enjoy life. I’ve carefully selected these five areas based on a compilation of research on health, longevity, disease prevention, psychology and behavioral sciences, as well as inspired by the lifestyles of people living in the Blue Zones (where people routinely live to be over 100 years old without any disease which enables them to actively contribute to their communities the longest of any human beings in the world).

Pillar #1: Physical Well-being

Your physical well-being is determined in part by the other areas of well-being. For example, your social well-being (pillar #4) has a direct impact on your physical health. Research has shown that people who have strong social relationships with their neighbours, their friends and family, have better physical health outcomes. So please don’t make the mistake of thinking of these Five Areas of Well-being as separate from each other. They are all part of one large web. A tremor on one end of the web will have a ripple effect on the rest of the web. This also means that by strengthening only one of the Areas of Well-being, you will be strengthening the entire web.

So what if you wanted to strengthen your Physical Well-being? The ways that you have the most direct impact on your Physical Well-being is by improving your nutrition, your exercising habits, your desk ergonomics, the environment you live and breathe in, and your sleep hygiene.

Here are some tips for each component of your Physical Well-being:

Nutrition: Aim to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (include lots of greens and colourful vegetables)

Exercise: Go on a daily walk for at least 30min every day and choose some form of exercise that you actually enjoy so that you can look forward to doing it at least twice a week.

Desk Ergonomics: If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, remind yourself to maintain good posture so that your lungs are wide open and you are able to take in full breaths.

Your Environment: Be sure to air out your living spaces every day or get an air purifier. If you have the luxury of moving out of the city to a coastal area with fresh ocean air – even better! But let’s not worry too much about the things that are outside of our control and focus on the ones we can actually influence on a daily basis.

Sleep Hygiene: Try not to eat 3 hours before bed, turn off electronics 1 to 2 hours before bed, and try to make your sleeping space as cool and dark as possible.

Coming up next: Pillar #2 – Cognitive Well-being

Have a centered day, a centered week and a centered life,
Ginny Santos, a wellbeing advocate.

PS: If you know someone who could also benefit from these coaching emails, please forward this email or invite them to sign up.

A love note from your future self:

When you make your own well-being a priority, you are doing a giant favour for all of humanity. Why? Because you are a good person, and the more good people who maintain their strength and vitality, the better off everyone will be.

Love, from your future self

Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this blog.

Dr. Anke Verlinden is an award-winning clinical haematologist at the University Hospital of Antwerp in Belgium. As a senior staff member, she specializes in treating patients with acute leukemia, guiding them through the process of stem cell transplantation. She initiated a project on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the immune system function and quality of life of cancer patients in 2019 while also deepening her understanding of the role that food plays in our health and wellbeing.

Anke is the mother of three kids, one of whom was born with severe heart disease. This, combined with the increasing number of questions from patients on the possible effects of nutrition and lifestyle on their healing process, gave rise to several years of study and experimentation in areas that are not covered in medical school, plus a nutrition science degree from Stanford Medical School and a certification in Functional Medicine. She is now also a WILDFIT certified coach as part of her effort to help patients recover better and more quickly from cancer treatment.