How Practicing Wellness Builds Well-Being & Climate Resilience
Practicing wellness heals the body, cleanses the mind, and nourishes the soul. Being well holistically is connected with building a better, harmonious, and more sustainable world for ourselves and the natural environment.
From how we manage our emotions, the food we eat, the thoughts we think, and the lifestyles we lead, the practice of holistic wellness actively builds our ability to be more resilient in the wake of adversity and change.
By learning of and incorporating wellness practices that best suit our induvial lives, we not only build resilience but also individual and collective harmony and capacity.
We heal from the inside out, which heals the world around us — including mother nature.
It is now more than ever that we are being called to go within to alter our external environment. What better way than to care for ourselves while learning how to be more adaptable in the wake of climate change.
What is wellness and what does it mean to be well?
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as:
The active pursuit (conscious/deliberate effort) of activities, choices (that can be influenced by the conscious and subconscious mind; and guided by your intuition), and lifestyle (actions/behavours/the way in which a person/group/culture lives) that lead to a state of holistic health.
Wellness is holistic, thus multidimensional, encompassing the physical, social, cultural, and environmental aspects of life. This also includes the mind, body, emotion, and spirit of a person.
Wellness is both an individual and collective pursuit rooted in intentionality, choices, and activities that lead to a state of holistic health. Such intentions, choices, and actions can lead to a state of holistic well-being.
But, what is well-being exactly? It is defined as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.” It includes the sought-after feelings of life fulfillment, connection, good mental and physical health, a sense of purpose, and the ability to manage stress.
These states of being can be attained by adding wellness practices into our daily lives, including resilience and nature-based training. Whether or not you grew up in an environment that prioritized well-being, you can learn to be well through education, willingness, and practice.
(note: there is no final destination per se, other than the act of continually showing up for oneself through wellness practices that boost one’s well-being.)
Wellness is also rooted in:
- Ancient and indigenous philosophies and ways of life from the beginning of time
- Preventative, holistic, and natural practices
- Self-healing and preventative care (not treatment-oriented)
- Spiritual, community-oriented, and eco-centered
- A state of balance and harmony with one’s own mind, body, and soul, with the natural environment and with one’s community.
Check-in: What does wellness look like to you? Do you actively pursue wellness in your life? If so, what does that look like right now? If you are not, then how do you think you might want to?
What is resilience and how does it connect to well-being?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back when bent out of shape. Meaning, it is the enhanced ability to regain a state of harmony or equilibrium after an adverse or challenging experience.
How does it relate to well-being? If we return to the definition of well-being that emphasizes an ability to manage stress, we can immediately see the connection. Well-being is a state of being in harmony that thus supports the mind, body, and soul (being good mental and physical health, a sense of life purpose, etc.).
Even if your resilience meter could use some training or fine-tuning, it is possible to become more resilient, and thus more adaptable. Such skills help you master your emotions, attain better health, maintain and garner new connections (with people and nature), continually discover life fulfillment, and much more.
These are the very descriptors of living in a state of well-being.
And how they are achieved is through the learning and incorporation of holistic wellness practices (which can vary from resilience training slightly, yet quite naturally go hand-in-hand).
The relationship between wellness and eco-resilience
Eco-resilience is similarly defined as resilience, although being targeted to an ecosystem’s ability to bounce back (or regain equilibrium) from an ecological disturbance. In the process of regaining equilibrium, an ecosystem may undergo some form of adaptation, especially if an ecological (or set of) disturbance(s) continues to occur. This ensures the survival of that ecosystem even in an altered state.
Such disturbances can be caused by humans or some other naturally occurring event. This is part where I emphasize, “some other naturally occurring event” as we, humans, are a part of nature. Hence, our actions, lifestyles, and systems have a direct impact on the natural environment, its resilience, and the time it has to adapt to major changes.
In the same breath, we too must also be able to be resilient (and adaptable) to the changes of nature. And not one person, place, or thing is excluded from this vital skill of adaptation. The current effects of climate change on the world as we know it is an immediate indicator that we are just as subject to ecological disturbances as nature is.
And many of the lifestyles we lead neither prepare us for what may come nor emphasize the importance of reaching and sustaining a form of equilibrium with the natural world. Yet, in doing so, we would achieve a collective state of well-being that would include harmony with nature.
It is this form of wellness and well-being that we need.
Check-in: What is your current relationship with the natural world? Do you feel as if it could be deepened and/or transformed? How do you think your current lifestyle choices may be impacting or disturbing ecosystems? If you’re unsure, would you be willing to learn more?
How to build wellness and eco-equilibrium? Creating balance from the inside out
What does it take to build resilience for ourselves and the natural world? As the research and training on this continue to grow, here are a few ways to build resilience within yourself that will also help you to adapt to the mental and physical stressors of a changing climate. And with these practices, we can aid in enhancing nature’s own healing and resilience capabilities.
1. Managing your emotions
Nipsey Hustle said it best: “master your energy.” And what are emotions? Simply energy in motion (e-motion).
There are many ways in which we can practice getting a better grip on our emotions. Every day, and in some way, it seems that our emotions are trying to be the master of us, being tugged and mangled in this way and that. This leads to thoughts that can seemingly get out of control, which leads to actions and behaviors that can ultimately harm us in the short- and long-term.
This is where a wealth of wellness practices come in.
From therapy and meditation to diet and somatic healing practices (i.e EFT Tapping), we 100% can learn to master our emotions, especially in the wake of adversity. This builds resilience, invoking a greater sense of self-control and well-being. Such sentiments can lead to relaxed mental states, positive thought patterns, sustainable relationships, and a greater sense of life satisfaction.
2. Practice an optimism framework
An example of this is capacity-building which aims to strengthen your sense of self-efficacy and self-control. These are grouped under coping skills that encourage adaptive reactions (or strategies) to difficulty instead of disengagement.
This could look like learning survival skills based on your region, stocking up on home supplies that aren’t reliant on your area’s power or sewer grid, building a “safety house” within or outside of your home and community, starting a community mutual aid fund, and more.
This also includes shifting your self-narrative by incorporating positive self-talk and thought patterns (see neuroplasticity). If you currently do not feel optimistic or confident about climate change or your ability to adapt to it, now’s the time to build up your connections and mental fortitude.
By using positive self-talk in the form of affirmations coupled with an activity that reinforces your ability to adapt and learn, you will see a monumental shift in your self-narratives.
Prove to yourself that you can learn new things by starting small; whether that’s learning a new hobby (i.e. canning, making clothes, learning to code, etc.), learning camping skills, gardening, or something else. By building positive self-talk and adding a new skill into your habitual library, you’ll discover just how capable and masterful you really are.
3. Practice compassion
When building resilience and reconnecting with yourself and nature, self-compassion is necessary. Compassion for others who are also suffering the impacts of climate and societal change is necessary as well.
Climate change is a social justice issue; we are each impacted differently by it, which can be witnessed today. Socioeconomic factors including social status, education, poverty and income levels, environmental factors, access to resources (or lack of), privileges, employment and pay, and much more show the vast differences in vulnerability we each have as we fight for our lives in the wake of climate change. And still, the most vulnerable populations, typically Indigenous, Black, Brown and impoverished communities, are the ones who suffer the most.
Climate change, often seen as something that’ll solely impact nature, does and will impact the mental and physical health and well-being of all of us. Just as we enjoy the healing energy of nature during a walk or grounding session, we can also experience immense suffering from her destruction — destruction that human behavior and prolonged exploitative lifestyles have caused.
Thus, learning to be more resilient is a factor in attaining and maintaining well-being as the world around us changes. And as we learn to be more resilient, we will need compassion for ourselves and others as we work together to prepare for our futures.
Climate change is requiring us to learn to be more adaptable, compelling us to not only be physically resilient but also emotionally and mentally resilient. This, I believe, is needed for us to survive and thrive as a collective in the new world.
4. Get moving outdoors
Nature-based education [and] therapy are real sources of strength and resilience for people [of all ages]. — EcoWatch
Connecting with nature doesn’t always require going outdoors, but it certainly is helpful. With urbanization increasing drastically around the world, coupled with climate change, we’re seeing a monumental continual shift away from nature-based living in a time when we need it most.
Going outside to breathe in fresh air (and not the smog of a city) has become an activity that now many people — especially children — no longer or never had the luxury or privilege to do. Many lives only see the concrete jungle they’ve learned to survive in, lacking access to the vastness of nature.
Science shows us that nature is healing and that it has the power to invoke awe, confidence, imagination, physical regeneration, and mental wellness. It reminds us that there's more to living than what our minds may conjure up; that there’s more to life than the concrete jungles we may live in.
It is this healing and unifying power of nature that is needed to inspire resilience and well-being within us. It is also this power that proves just how important community and connection are in the wake of climate change.
5. Build and maintain connection with community
Community, for many of us, is everything. And the communities we foster mean even more.
We’ll need each other as we prepare for and adapt to the shifts that climate and societal change bring to us. We’ll need each other to lean on, survive with, service with, and rebuild with.
With community comes the need for compassion, planning, and understanding our role in this greater system. With climate change, we’ve seen countless communities impacted, drastically at that. Entire lives have been changed or whipped out in an instance — and this can happen to any of us.
Climate change and nature’s own process for building resilience require us to work together as we build our own. Yet in doing so, we are asked to build nature-based solutions that foster a more eco-centric and community-oriented world.
Implementing nature-based solutions in our local communities requires education and an openness to working together. It also requires knowing your landscape (another reason to get outdoors to connect with your local natural environment).
What natural event does your locale typically experience? These may increase, decrease, and/or shift. Many communities are also experiencing weather events that were once foreign to them. Yes, this news can be alarming, but there is much that we can still do to prepare for them as we adapt.
Nature-based solutions require governments, private entities, and communities to invest in green infrastructure and/or implement bioengineering to find the best solutions that ensure our collective survival.
This also means holding leaders VERY accountable for meeting the climate needs of communities. Of all the things your tax dollars pay for, retrofitting your community to be fit for climate change is necessary.
Plus, nature-based solutions have added social, political, educational, and health benefits that can’t be overlooked. Knowledge is power, and collective action (with constant pressure) can 100% change the trajectory of your community’s survival. Don’t wait till disaster strikes, begin rallying your neighbors today.
6. Get clear on what really matters
You’re busy. You have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and so many other things that need to be done to survive. I get it.
But what might you really be surviving for? This is where you need to get clear on your goals, your mission, what gets you out of bed each day. Whatever that may be, allow that to be what it is. And if you see that perhaps you could add a bit more wellness or resilience skills under your belt as you plan for whatever life may bring, then now’s the time.
Even if you aren’t clear on what matters to you, I can help you get there. As a wellness advocate and consultant, my goal is to help individuals, communities, and businesses get clear on what they want while injecting the right type of wellness into your life.
Prioritizing your well-being and building your capacity for resilience will shift your life in ways once imagined. Here are some highlights; it can:
- Strengthen your body; clarify your mind
- Heal you emotionally, financially, mentally, spiritually, and physically
- Boost self-confidence and help you feel more alive
- Help you better manage life’s stressors; can boost creativity
- Change and/or open your perspective, beliefs, and lifestyle options
- Connect (or reconnects) you with yourself, and any purpose you may feel
- Help you connect with others and build community; Fosters Less division and more connection
- Reconnect (or connects) you with the natural world and its cycles; Instills a sense of stewardship with the natural world that aims to harmoniously live with and support nature
- Increase empathy and compassion for yourself and others
- Heighten your intuition or gut guidance
All of these are rooted in people- and nature-first perspectives that heal trauma and boost connections.
Your external influences can greatly impact your lifestyle choices, perspectives, management styles, personality, behaviors, value systems, and connections. Yet, when you as an individual actively incorporate wellness in your daily life, you allow yourself to heal and improve —subsequently healing and improving your surrounding environments.
Check-in: What does it mean to be resilient to you? How does your perception of eco-resilience and climate change intersect with your personal wellness goals? How does or can community help you increase resilience? Are you ready to become more resilient? Are you ready to create or expand your wellness practice?
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