Caring for your Hauora – the 4 dimensions of wellbeing
What type of person comes to mind when you think of a healthy human? Do you picture a muscular, athletic physique, someone whose constantly active with little body fat? Or, do you picture someone with a serene and calm presence, sitting with their eyes closed, simply breathing?
Being healthy can mean many things to different people, but in today’s world, it can be confusing to know what exactly to do, to be a healthy person. We now realise that even physically perfect humans can be hiding mental challenges or have difficulty finding their purpose in life. Although on the outside health seems black and white, many cultures have known health is more than just our physical appearance.
Te Whare Tapa Whā is a Māori philosophy of health and well-being. The Hauora framework is a holistic approach to wellbeing, grounded in the concept that health is all about balance.
The four dimensions of your holistic wellbeing include:
- 1. Your physical wellbeing - How you eat, sleep, drink, exercise, stretch and breathe.
- 2. Your mental/emotional wellbeing - How you think, act, react, communicate and feel.
- 3. Your spiritual wellbeing - How you see yourself in this world, your purpose, your reason for being and who you are.
- 4. Your social wellbeing - How you interact with those around you, your connection to your friends, your family, and your community.
When one or more of these walls are out of balance, our Hauora (wellbeing) is impacted. We need these different dimensions to be in balance for strength and stability. By nurturing and strengthening each of these areas, we can support our holistic health and wellbeing.
We created this visual below so you can see how these four dimensions overlap and influence each other. Often we can focus on one aspect and others can be left out of balance, affecting our wellbeing.
Finding a balance between the four dimensions of our holistic wellbeing is crucial to how we feel about ourselves, the life we lead, and how we interact with others.
When we come to understand that our health should not simply be measured on the hours in the gym, but also our time with loved ones, finding moments of stillness each day and exploring our passions and purpose in life - we will see a new perspective on health, one in which we truly see what our society and community is capable of.
How to understand your Hauora more clearly?
When you look at the diagram, do you see yourself heavily focused on one state, but neglecting another? Identify the aspects that you may not put much time into, and try to incorporate some actions from that area to improve your Hauora in that space.
Here are some ways that you can support your Holistic Wellbeing (We recommend choosing one to focus on first):
Your Physical Wellbeing:
- Nutrition - The food and nutrients you consume are crucial to giving your body the fuel it needs to run. Treat your body like you would the world’s most expensive car, with everything it needs to stay in top condition. Every time you eat is a chance to nourish your physical self, which impacts your whole holistic wellbeing. While fresh fruit and vegetables are the best sources of nourishment, products such as Nutrient Rescue’s Double Shot are just as powerful when you need some fast & easy nutrition.
- Stretching - Stretching allows blood and energy to flow through different parts of your body, when we open up our body in different ranges of movement we allow energy to flow to places often ignored in our day-to-day activities. Release tightness and tension, or improve flexibility by stretching three times per week (use a YouTube guided session) for at least 10 minutes.
Your Mental/Emotional Wellbeing:
- Journalling - Writing down our thoughts and feelings regularly is one of the fastest ways to clear a busy mind and process the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being human. Try to write in a journal each night for one week – noting down what makes you feel good, what you would like to work on, and what you are grateful for are great places to start.
- Deep breathing - It is the fastest way to calm our nervous system, to destress, be present, focused and relax. Find a 5-15 minute period of your day to listen to a guided breathing/meditation video, or just sit silently in nature, to experience an incredible state of presence.
Your Spiritual Wellbeing:
- Vision board - Visualise a future you want for yourself and the goals you want to achieve, to bring an ideal life into the physical world. There is scientific evidence that demonstrates visualisation can also relax the body, improve your immune system and have neurological benefits. Google different vision boards for inspiration of who you want to be or what you want to do in one year - look at this daily, imagine it as though it’s already happening and take small weekly actions towards them.
- Time in nature - Spending time to connect with nature will help you to slow down, enjoy the present moment, be grateful, breathe and get some fresh air. Take two mindful nature walks each week without a phone or music.
Your Social Wellbeing:
- Phone a friend – Humans are social creatures who crave connection. Spend the time to link up with a loved one that you are grateful for. Who’s that person that often springs to mind even though you don’t see them often? Give them a call randomly this week, just for a chat.
- Volunteer - Time is our most precious gift. When you choose to donate this gift, it means far more than we realise at the time and the rewards benefit us just as much as the recipient. Try volunteering, even for just 30 mins, join in on a tree planting day or donate to a local food bank. This truly is the most rewarding way we can help our communities.
When seeking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, it is vital to recognise that your mental, spiritual, and social wellbeing hold equal importance to your physical health. Embracing Te Whare Tapa Whā brings balance into our lives, and by nourishing our physical selves, tending to our mental and emotional state, nurturing our spiritual wellbeing, and fostering social connections, you can truly become a well-rounded well-being.
Written by Ella Sidey – mindfulness and wellbeing coach. For helpful links & meditation guides, check out Ella’s website:
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