Lifestyle... 53%!!!

Just what does determine our health?  Is it our genetic makeup?  Our behavior? Our environment?  The truth of the matter is all of them and more.  There are many determining factors that influence our health. The four primary categories are Medical Care, Genetics, Environment, and Lifestyle.  The questions is, to what extent do they contribute to our health?  The answer is quite interesting.

  • Medical Care: 10%
  • Genetics: 16%
  • Environment:  21%
  • Lifestyle: 53%

That's right.  Lifestyle has a much higher influence on our health than even our genetics.  Our lifestyle includes the choices we make about the food we eat, exercise, choice of recreation, occupation, how we manage stress, basically all of the choices we make for our entire life.  

Wellness is a dynamic process, a journey, not a destination.  Every moment we have the opportunity to become more or less well.  To live the life of our dreams or waste it away.

Stop for a moment and think about your overall health.  Where are you at right now?  Pick a number from 0 to 10.  Zero is low and ten is high. For example, 

  • 0 is being very ill-your have terminal cancer or have another near terminal illness;
  • 3 means that you are having symptoms of physical or mental illness either acutely or chronically;
  • 5 is being neutral with no discernible illness and also no active wellness practice;
  • 7 means that you have a good knowledge of wellness activities and actually have a lifestyle that incorporates wellness; 
  • 9  means that you regularly engage in wellness activities in most aspects of your life; and
  • 10 means that you operate at a high level of wellness in all areas of your life.

If you are less than a five you are probably receiving treatment of some sort or might want to consider it.  Treatment can bring you up to a five.  Wellness activities, which can  be used at any point whether at a 0 or a 10, can bring you from a 5 to a 10.

Being at a ten involves giving good care to your physical self, using your mind constructively, expressing your emotions effectively, being creatively involved with those around you, and being concerned about your physical, psychological, and spiritual environments. Just remember to be gentle on yourself and realize that it's not so much about what number you are at but what direction you are facing?  Are you at moving towards wellness?  Or facing down the zero?

Now for action!

Go to the wellness wheel on the website.  Fill out your wheel to determine how satisfied you are with different areas in your life.  Categories include body, mind, heart, spirit, environment, occupation, social life and relationships, etc.   Go ahead and put your answers in the online form so you can receive specific ideas for areas in your life where you are seeking improvement. 

 Wellness Wheel with Broad Categories.  

Wellness Wheel with Broad Categories.  

From there, pick your three lowest scores, and navigate to that section on the website.  Then, fill out a second and more detailed wheel for that specific area of wellness. This will help guide you in knowing exactly where you can best focus your efforts. 

A Physical Wellness Wheel as an example of a more specific wheel

Lastly, for those interested in working in your community, whether through work, school, or your village, become a Wellness Ambassador so that you can take this work out to your friends and family!

Ready, set, go!