The world is not well. It is going through unprecedented health and economic crises. The impact is severe. Nearly, 5% of global population is suffering from depression making it one of the leading causes of disability. An estimated 284 million people in the world experienced anxiety disorder in 2017. The WHO reports, nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents suffer from some mental disorder. Nearly 800,000 people commit suicides that are fatal. The lifespan of people suffering from severe mental disorders gets shortened by 10-20 years.
And what is the cost? The global economy takes a hit of nearly $1 trillion productivity loss every year owing to mounting depression and anxiety. In the next 20 years, the global medical expenses for chronic diseases would run into $47 trillion across the world. The planet earth will be housing a population of 800 million aging people vulnerable to diseases
Changing world, changing practices affecting global wellness
Delving deep we will find, the crises are the outcomes of the rapid demographic, social, cultural, economic and political changes across the globe. We are experiencing:
- A shrinking and overcrowded world
- Aging human civilization with fast depletion of natural resources
- Mounting tensions in all aspects of life.
Being pushed into a more complex and complicated lifestyle:
- We are trying to do way too much.
- We are trying to control more than we can manage.
- We have more baggage than we ever need.
- We are holding on to things without using them just to prove ours social status.
- We are facing a stiff competition not only in profession and education but in every simple aspect of life
- Tension and security concerns are growing across the borders touching the remote corners of the globe.
- Be it religion, country, company or personal brand, we try to pose ourselves superior than others, which is a major cause of disturbance.
All these have contributed to the widespread chronic illnesses affecting the productivity of a human being depriving him of wellness. In this situation, practicing high-level wellness in harmony with the surroundings is the need of the hour.
We are concerned of outward growth more than the inward growth
Honestly speaking, we are growing exponentially on the outer side. And that is affecting our wellbeing. Let me tell you a real life story of mine. When my elder son turned 8, I decided to gift him some plants, which he can nourish and watch them growing. In Mumbai, every inch counts. Hence, I asked the nursery rep to give me a plant with smaller pot which can grow tall.
My son said, “Dad, if you want the plant to grow big, you need to buy a bigger pot. I replied, “What’s the connection? I need the plant to grow taller”. He said, “If the roots of the plant can’t grow deep down, how can the plant grow up?” That was a life changing moment for me. I was speechless. I sat for a while and started thinking, “If we have to grow, first we have to grow inside then outside. How can growth support only outside?”
Time to reflect upon our ancestors’ practices
Now, if I recall our Rishi Muni’s source of “knowledge” and “growth”, it was always looking for deeper insight; first growing inward and then outward. Today, I am going to talk about why “wellness” which I refer to status of “wellbeing” is more important than ever.
Why it is important for us look more inwards than only outwards?
At the backdrop of reawakening of wellness all over the world, we often miss out the bigger picture of this concept. Exploring the domain of wellness is endless and cannot be confined within a few selected parameters. It is a vast term carrying a profound connotation of following a healthy philosophy of life taking into consideration various dimensions associated. We often apply the term wellness loosely without giving importance to other factors that remain unnoticed in the pursuit of few tangible gains. Our wellness should be in harmony with those factors.
It is an integrated method of functioning to the maximum potential maintaining a continuous balance with the environment and surroundings directed towards a purpose. So far, our approach to wellness has remained self-need based. We make healthy lifestyle choices by eating good and exercising enough. We take to mind-body practices to tune our body and mind in synergy. All these are essential for individual wellbeing, but for a greater purpose and sustenance we need to do something more. We should strive for collective and harmonious wellness.
Are we aware of the surroundings?
Destructive human practices have made our planet inhabitable but we do not acknowledge our responsibility for this. Self-wellness practices will only be sustainable if you can keep your surrounding clean and healthy. Your wellness should be in harmony with the community where you live, the people, plants, and animals everything counts. We need to nurture a higher level of wellness. This needs an entirely different mindset that comes through awareness and knowledge.
The need for high level wellness:
A high level of wellness awareness is required that would help us view life in a different perspective instead of getting trapped in the race for excellence and supremacy. Ancient people were peace-loving and lived harmoniously with their surrounding animate and inanimate creatures without disrupting anybody’s existence. With the aging of civilization, man started manipulating nature and surroundings for his own benefits, which has been gloriously termed as ‘Struggle for existence’. In this battle, the sense of wellness got lost.
How willing are you to change?
Your willingness matters for high level harmonious wellness. This can be promoted through the following activities:
- Willingness to face inconsistencies in our thinking.
- Willingness to hear and examine the other fellow’s viewpoints with an open mind.
- Willingness to encourage freedom of expression of those around us.
- Willingness to adjust our own views.
- Willingness to make time for unhurried contacts with others when such relationships are essential.
- Willingness and determination to give credit and recognition to others when it is due them.
- Eagerness and determination to serve others as opportunities arise.
- Willingness to give freedom to those we love.
Simple ways to harmonious wellness
I summarize that we can deal with major problem of world through simple Harmonious wellness thoughts.
Knowing yourself – The first step towards wellness:
How well do you know yourself? Just as charity begins at home, the perception of wellness initiates from one’s own self. It is therefore, important to know yourself first to realize the domain of wellness.
Harmonious co-existence – The ultimate goal of overall wellness
‘Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks.’
Spreading the wellness vibe through harmonious existence
Wellness needs to be comprehensively spread not restricted to a selected group or class. To realize this, we need to learn to live in harmony. It implies maintaining a harmonious relation with our planet, surroundings, people, animals and plants and other inanimate beings without any animosity.
Harmonious wellness can be nurtured on the following principles:
- Maintaining harmonious Wellness with the universe (Planet/Environment)
- Harmonious with your “being”, not only physical being, but your emotional/spiritual being
- Being harmonious with every other element/species/things – Social, Cultural Wellness.
Our forefathers never visited any fitness center yet they radiated sound mental and physical health. Simple nature-friendly activities and life-guiding thoughts kept them healthy and content. They have perhaps set the best example of harmonious co-existence in its most primitive form which we need to evoke. Animals too lead their life in perfect harmony with their surroundings.
We, the human beings, have built unhealthy practices since ages. In pursuit of materialistic achievements, we ignore vital signals of our body and mind and disrupt the harmony.
As a result, we fall prey to stress, tension and chronic ailments. Fighting for supremacy existed since ages but not at this colossal level
Therefore, maintaining a social and cultural harmony has become so important for our stable existence.
Harmonious wellness could be the only solution of the prevailing global crises which should be based on better interactions with the environment, surroundings and other human beings and creatures without any ethnic or religious demarcation. The time is high we grow our willingness to practice and cultivate harmonious wellness to make the world a better place.