Welcome to Wellness Way for Women with Karen Best Wright, BS, MA.

Social Wellness, what does it mean?

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds


Social Wellness is a critical aspect of holistic wellness. What does it mean? It does not mean a person must be an extrovert and have a ton of friends and be the life of the party. It does not mean a person needs to like everyone or be liked by everyone else. However, it does mean that a person is capable of engaging socially in an appropriate manner. It does mean a person can develop meaningful relationships.

These past couple of years have been challenging for most people. Social Wellness typically includes being involved in healthy relationships, whether family, friendships, through a social network, or even in public. Human beings have an innate need to make connections with others. Social wellness determines the ease or difficulty in making these connections, which affects the quality of one's life.

It is easy to understand the importance of physical and emotional wellness. It may be harder to comprehend how one's social interactions influence all areas of one's life. It's important when developing relationships that one defines which ones should become an intimate part of one’s life and which ones are best to be "friendly" encounters.

Some signs of social wellness are the ability to treat others with dignity, being able to respectfully communicate with others, and understanding your boundaries as well as the boundaries of others. There is confusion between respecting someone and being respectful. "Respect" and "respectful" may come from the same root word, but they do not have the same meaning. Respect is how we regard a person. Respectful is how we treat them.

Another sign of social wellness is developing assertiveness, which is neither passive nor aggressive. Learning conflict management and maintaining relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling are integral for social wellness.

As mentioned, the past couple of years have been challenging regarding social interactions. Individuals need to decide for themselves how best to meet these difficulties. Social wellness is all about relationships. How one interacts with family members, neighbors, community members, and even those outside of one's personal space creates social wellness.

Thoughts to Emotions: Emotional Wellness

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds


Emotional wellness consists of creating positive emotions and not allowing negative emotions to control our actions and our ability to live a meaningful life. It is interdependent with physical, social, environmental, mental/intellectual (how we think), and even spiritual wellness.

What causes emotions? Before there is an emotion or feeling, there is a thought. That thought might be a memory, or it might be a thought triggered by current external stimuli, or perhaps both. The brain reacts instantly (thinking) to something it notices, be it pleasant or frustrating. If the thought is powerful enough, it will trigger an emotional reaction.

If a stranger or friend gives an unexpected compliment, it likely conjures a positive, pleasant thought. That positive thought evokes a positive emotion, causing one to feel “good.” If the memory or external situation is perceived as a threat, a host of negative emotions can follow. Those negative emotions can affect all areas of life. An obsession over an unpleasant situation and negative emotion is like being a fly stuck to flypaper. Mentally observing the thought can help one choose a better response or way of reacting.

Imagine a woman knocks over her cup of coffee or tea, gets upset, shouts profanities, and throws her favorite mug into the garbage. Instead, maybe this woman cleans up the mess, refills her cup, and perhaps still mutters a few not-so-nice words? Which woman would you rather be around? Emotional Wellness does not mean everything goes well. It does not mean a person is always happy or handles everything perfectly. It means that one can choose how to respond to thoughts and events that happen in life. Emotional wellness lifts our spirits amid chaos.

Changing one’s perspective (changing thoughts) can help manage and create healthy emotions. Changing one's perspective may be difficult, or it may simply be one of those ah-ha moments that brings sudden enlightenment.

Years ago, I had an ah-ha moment that instantly changed my emotions, resulting in my changed behavior. After raising my own eight children, I found myself in my 50’s raising three little grandchildren. While I wanted my grandchildren, I was exhausted and sometimes irritable from the constant spills and messes. I remember the day clearly when I walked into the kitchen and saw the dishwasher open and dishes everywhere. I almost yelled out of frustration when a thought/voice came out of nowhere. "You could be raising disabled children who are in wheelchairs. They would be incapable of making messes." How did that thought come to me? I don’t know, but it changed me. Suddenly, I was grateful for raising healthy children who could choose to make a mess. I admit; changing one’s perspective is often not that easy, but it is worth the effort.

In Summary, thoughts evoke emotions. Positive thinking produces positive emotions that promote Emotional Wellness which, contributes to a quality, healthy, holistic lifestyle.

Holistic Health & Wellness: Why am I so tired?

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds


The first article in this series explained the word "holistic" originated from the Greek word "holos," meaning whole, complete, or entire. This article is about the physical aspect of wellness.

Our physical bodies are very complex. Consequently, many things can influence the amount of energy one either does or does not have. Feeling overly tired takes away from the experience of feeling well. However, that may not mean we are sick, or it might.

Extreme fatigue may warrant a visit to the doctor in case something is going on beyond your control. With lab work and an exam, a doctor may discover problems you might not have been aware of yet. However, a person may come home with a clean bill of health, just as exhausted and frustrated.

Many things, including stress, can cause one to be overly tired. A lack of sleep is a cause of fatigue, but stress, worry, and too much caffeine can also cause poor sleep. Eating whole, healthy food, supplementing with necessary supplements, and avoiding sugary or processed foods can help with fatigue. Not enough physical activity causes fatigue. Negative thoughts and feeling overwhelmed or lonely may cause fatigue.

A healthy type of fatigue may happen after a day of hard work. There's a feeling of accomplishment. The fatigue one experiences when simply doing mundane chores may cause depression, which worsens fatigue.

If a medical physical gives no answers to what may be causing extreme tiredness, examining your daily life is needed. What are your daily thoughts, activities, interactions with friends and family, your goals or lack of goals, or your general outlook on life? Doing this may help you decide what needs to improve.

Never underestimate the power that stress has on the human body. Unresolved stress not only causes fatigued but may cause serious illnesses.

In summary, if you feel you are overly tired, honestly examining your life and improving your daily choices may solve your problems. If it does not help, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Holistic Health & Wellness: What does it mean?

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds


Assessment Graphic
What do you think of when you hear the term "holistic health & wellness?" Do you have a clue? Do you think of alternative medical care or alternative healing techniques? That may or may not be part of a holistic health & wellness program or holistic lifestyle.

The word "holistic" originates from the Greek word "holos," meaning whole, complete, or entire. Using this definition, holistic health refers to a person's “complete” health that includes six areas: physical, emotional, social, mental/intellectual, spiritual, and environmental health. Holistic health is an all-encompassing approach to health.

What do you think of when you hear the word "wellness?" Wellness focuses on the positive aspects of health, not illnesses. It focuses on prevention and creating positive outcomes in all six areas of life.

The first thing that often comes to mind regarding health or wellness is “physical” wellness or illness. However, that is only one component of one’s well-being. All six areas of wellness (physical, emotional, social, mental/intellectual, spiritual, and environmental) interact together. They create either a balanced, productive, and satisfying life or an unbalanced life resulting in stress, unhappiness, and even illness.

The key to creating a healthy holistic lifestyle is first to remember the six areas of wellness. Write them down through journaling or put the list on your refrigerator or mirror. These six areas are best committed to memory to ensure personal progress.

Second, examine any habits, problems, and even desires or goals you may have. Decide which wellness category matches these actions and thoughts. And finally, stay positive. Focus on your strengths to help overcome any weaknesses.

This approach to wellness can benefit children, teens, individual adults, couples, and families. Watch for future articles covering in-depth information on each area of wellness.