The Four Foundational Pillars of Wellbeing

Tim Leeming

5 min read

The team at Being Chiropractic are experienced with treating all ages

Here at Being Chiropractic Studio we teach and live by certain principles. 

Firstly, we refer to “health” as “wellbeing”.  The word “health” has been deeply conditioned, filtered, refined, chewed up and spat out.  Health has so many different viewpoints from an individual perspective, across different cultures, different industries and professions and then of course, in a political or worldly sense. 

Wellbeing, on the other hand, speaks to the state of being well.  What does being well look like, sound like, feel like?

A simple and structured way to explain wellbeing can be to speak about what behaviours, practices and habits are most necessary for cultivating an optimal state of wellbeing.  There are four foundational pillars that are required for us to achieve and uphold the resilience, robustness and longevity that is apparent in a state of optimal wellbeing.

Those four pillars are movement, nourishment, recuperation and stillness.  Let’s briefly unpack them here as a way to open the fascinating conversation about wellbeing.

Movement

Movement is not exercise.  Not necessarily.  Movement can be exercise, but it does not have to be.  In our day and age, we are blessed to have access to many options that fall under the umbrella of organised, scheduled exercise.  Gym classes, spin sessions, yoga, pilates, app-based training, school sports, etc, etc.  These are all examples of organised and scheduled exercise.  While these are all fantastic methods of movement, there are many other ways in which we can move our bodies sufficiently every day. 

You have probably heard that 10,000 steps per day is a solid milestone to aim for – and this is a nice example of sufficient movement that does not necessarily need to be called “exercise”.  A caveat to this example that is important to mention, however, is that if you have a dysfunctional walk (i.e. restricted range of movement and/or pain with stepping) then taking 10,000 not-so-good steps per day might actually be a misguided milestone!

Nourishment

We refer to nourishment instead of “nutrition” because just like the word “health”, nutrition has been made ever so complex and confusing.  Nourishment encompasses more than just counting calories or calling foods “good” and “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy”.

Nourishment speaks to you as a whole, that means your physical body but also your mental and emotional state, as well.  We can all agree that there is joy and bliss in certain foods (such as chocolate or chips) and in food-related rituals (such as morning coffee or family dinner).

Understanding the concept of nourishment can revolutionise the way you see and understand foods and fluids that you consume.  Your relationship with food is not just physical, in fact in our day and age the relationship humans in the Western world have with food cannot be untangled  from psychology, economics and media influences.

Recuperation

While recuperation is centred around the basic and essential human need for quality sleep, recuperation also includes down time, slow days and generally allowing space in your calendar or to-do list for simply relaxing. 

If sleep were not essential, then it is the biggest mistake that evolution has ever made.  Think about it, most of us will spend one third of entire lives asleep.  That’s 25+ years of your life, lying down and unconscious.  In a sentence it sounds ridiculous!  The point is, the healing and regeneration that our human bodies are capable of only during deep rest (aka sleep) makes sleep an immovable factor in your overall wellbeing.

Like many elements of health that are often spoken about – such as hydration, for example – we are firm advocates for sleep quality, not just quantity.  We would argue that 6.5 hours of deep, restful sleep is better than 8.5 hours of light, distracted or stressful sleep.  Just like 1.5 litres of pure, filtered water is superior to 3 litres of municipal tap water.

Stillness

You’ve heard it before; “we live in a fast-paced society”.  Or at least you’ve heard some iteration of that.  It is true that for most of us living in the modern Western world, we feel trapped on the hamster-wheel of life.  Spinning away, with an endless list of tasks, to-dos and responsibilities. 

The idea that we should sit down for 10, 20 or even 45 minutes a day to meditate, contemplate, journal, read or be still in some other way sounds laughable for many of us.  “Where the hell would I find time for that?” we think.  The paradox that we find difficult to grasp until we actually experience it is this:

When time is made for meditation or other forms of stillness, we become more present and productive in almost all of our other daily tasks.  In other words, pausing for 10-20 minutes a day to meditate – even though it takes 10-20 minutes from your schedule where you might otherwise be doing something else – is scientifically proven to help humans get more done in the same 24 hours they’ve always had.  And to be more content, peaceful and poised while doing it.

So, why wouldn’t you take time to be still?  It is, after all, a foundational pillar to wellbeing.

This article serves as an introduction the four pillars.  At Being Chiropractic Studio, we teach on each of these pillars in great detail, lead by our quarterly advanced workshops but also in the conversations we have every single day at the tables with our patients and practice members.

Let us know here, on socials or via email if you’ve got any comments or questions.

Amanda in the new patient room at Being Chiropractic

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OUR INTRO OFFER INCLUDES:

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and…

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New Patient Initial Consultations are open to all ages. X-rays are available onsite and included in this offer if clinically indicated and recommended by your chiropractor.