8 Elements of Wellness -- Protect Your Environment

We all try to be healthy as we possibly can, whether it be physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally. For the past three years, I've been learning about the eight elements of wellness. The eight elements include: Emotional/mental, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. 

In some elements, I thrive, while other areas I am still working on. In our meetings, we touch upon all of these topics, and which ones we are currently working on, if one is lesser than the other. For myself, the first area I cling onto the most is the spiritual one. For me, once I seek God, everything else seems to fall into place---but I also have to put in the effort. My occupational part is very important to me, because it involves helping others go through the struggles I have also been through. When we go through a painful season in our lives, I truly believe that is God's way of strengthening our spiritual and emotional muscles to help those who are weak with grief, anxiety, depression and trauma. Whatever we have been through, someone else is currently experiencing. 

If you look at the eight elements on the grid, the emotional states that it's about coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships....which happens to float right into the social element. They all relate in some shape or form. The social is developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well developed support system. So if you are not emotionally stable enough, you may find yourself struggling with the relationships in your life. I remember when my mom died, my emotional state was declining. I thought that all of my friends had disappeared from my life. But it wasn't so. I was the one that disappeared. If I am not emotionally stable enough to be a good friend, that'll inevitably push away those who want to be there for me. I had to work on myself spiritually first. When that aspect of my life strengthened, my emotional state got much stronger and confident. I then I started to let people in---I found a new world with support. I became vulnerable enough to be okay if someone wanted to leave my life. It wasn't about me, it's about the season---or even just the reason for being there at that particular time. I trust in that.  I even met new friends who I work with, which have been a huge support system for myself. I realized my social wellness was important.

Nonetheless, I still had to be careful of who I let into my world (my environment)---my "environmental wellness"---which is very important. If someone you are close to becomes toxic for whatever reason, and you notice this is taking away your peace in your own environment, there has to be not only forgiveness, but sadly, strong boundaries to protect your environmental wellness. I also want to state that if you are friends or in a relationship with someone who doesn't put in the effort to work on any of these elements---this relationship will most likely fail. When one is trying to better themselves, and the other doesn't care, statistics have shown that the relationship of whatever kind will surely fall apart, and if they do remain, it won't be very pleasant relationship, because you'll find yourself butting heads all the time. 

For instance, I find it difficult to talk to someone who is chemically altering their minds with drugs or alcohol. I'm not talking about the every once in a while cocktail, but people who use drugs where they can't even remember their own names at the end of the day. I'm not judging, but I can't relate. I also have a difficult time with people who don't hold any interests or hobbies other than watching TV. Again, it's not a judgment, more than a compatibility issue. I look for people I can do things with---whether it be walking around the park, cooking together, having the same faith/being spiritual-minded, maybe even musically inclined or just have some sort of interest that they have a passion for. 

For me, if I find someone who isn't working on their intellectual, emotional, environmental and spiritual wellness---it can be a very surfaced (and/or) non-existent friendship. I don't care about your financial, physical, occupational or even your social aspects. I need someone who is forthright, honest, caring, and also someone who believes in something higher than themselves and, definitely someone who has integrity. The one thing I will not tolerate is lying. Once you lie to me, everything out of your mouth are nothing more than lies---even if you do start telling the truth---my brain will process it as a lie. Liars usually don't change if they've been doing for a long enough time. They actually start believing their own lies. Lying is also a product of some sort of trauma---whether to hide what they're scared of, or hiding the truth of their own vulnerabilities. Pathological lying is a symptom of various personality disorders, including antisocial, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders. Other conditions, such as borderline personality disorder, may also lead to frequent lies, but the lies themselves are not considered pathological. 

The one problem with those who are pathological liars, is that they can do what's called a "smear campaign" on someone, telling them fabricated stories of something that never even happened. If it's to a mutual friend, and that friend believes the liar, then they were never friends to begin with. Sometimes, they'll even try to attack your character by lying to your own family. Most families will already know you and sniff out the lies. Usually it doesn't even come down to that. Most intelligent people can spot out the liar in a second. Once someone is gossiping (and lying) about another person to you---be sure they are also gossiping and lying about you as well. I have experienced this on both sides. I was told stories about a mutual friend that I was shocked about, until I realized whose mouth it was coming out of. And then, right there, I knew the truth. Be selective of who you let enter your environmental wellness. Also know, if this is their usual behavior and track history, then common sense will always tell you the truth. The truth always comes out eventually. A lie never stays under a rock forever. 

My significant other and I both gave our lives to Christ. We constantly work on our spiritual, so that we can emotionally be there for those who need us. God comes first, and after that, our friends and family who need us will always have us. I had to give up a lot of things to come to this point---which means I had to work on my physical element. I gave up drinking. It led me down paths that trickled into ALL elements of my life. It wreaked havoc on my spiritual, emotional, financial, occupational, intellectual and environmental. Oddly enough, it didn't affect my social element, but they weren't healthy friendships. They were friendships that relied on one thing: which bar we would meet at. It never went beyond the bar. Once I put the booze down, and died to my flesh---gave myself to God---my entire world changed. With that being said, my elements changed as well, and for the better.

After traumatic events we had experienced, we moved to a place to find our peace again. We refuse to let anyone destroy that, as much as they try to. Hurt people hurt people, and those who are miserable in their own skin will try every method to make you feel the same exact way. Those aren't nice people. And truth be told---those are also people who are suffering from some sort of trauma, or maybe a lack of attention they had as a child growing up. Know the people who surround you, some will be loyal while others turn out to be a Judas. 

When your eight elements of wellness is being fervently worked on, (because it won't all be perfect)---you'll find that the petty things don't ever bother you. You also start to care less about what people think of you, or even what they say about you, and...even if they flat-out lie about you. It doesn't matter, because you know the truth, and so does God. 

Proverbs 12:22:  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Ephesians 4:25: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com for some of her famous recipes!