“When we understand the connection between how we live and how long we live, it’s easier to make different choices. Instead of viewing the time we spend with friends and family as luxuries, we can see that these relationships are among the most powerful determinants of our well-being and survival.”
– Dean Ornish
At the conclusion of one of our screenings of our documentary The Great Disconnect, I was asked an important question during a Q & A session. The question from the audience member went something like this: “If you had to choose between eating really well or having a strong community, which one would you deem most important?”
On the spot, it was difficult to formulate an answer that encompassed all that I believe about healthy living. As a holistic nutritionist I steer away from reductionist thinking when it comes to giving advice but I could tell that the person asking the question really wanted an answer. Needless to say, I wasn’t as articulate as I wanted to be. But now that I’ve had time to reflect, I have some thoughts on the topic that I’d like to share with you.
In the book The 5 Essentials of Wellbeing, the authors argue that optimal wellbeing requires the following 5 elements:
- career wellbeing (enjoying your job)
- social wellbeing (having friends and socializing often)
- physical wellbeing (exercise and diet)
- financial wellbeing (feeling financially secure)
- community wellbeing (getting involved and giving back to your community)
Most people, as you can imagine, give most of their attention to two of the five – physical wellbeing and financial wellbeing – and disregard the others, which weakens the chain and leads to an unfulfilled life. This makes sense, but what I found most interesting was the overall conclusion the authors made. They believe that if you have social, career, financial and physical wellbeing, you’ll have a good life. But in order to have a great life, we need to get involved and give back to our communities. This fifth element of wellbeing – community wellbeing – is the one that will make all the difference.
And that’s my final answer!
P.S. To learn more about the 5 essentials of wellbeing click here.