EOV Wellness Project


Welcome back, you have been given the tools to take action towards your greater wellness – your physical, emotional, social and cognitive wellbeing – through a focus on sleep, exercise, community, money, relaxation, eating, toxic coping, and the environment.

We took these topics on in isolation, as discrete units. But we have also discussed how wellness is all-encompassing. That everything is interconnected. That the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Today, we want to talk about connections: both the importance of considering your wellness holistically – keeping all the interconnected parts of it in mind – and how pursuing your own personal wellness can connect you with the people and the world around you.

True wellness is when it all comes together.

–With a proper sleep, we unlock the benefits of exercise and better regulate our appetite and moods. And in turn, exercise and good nutrition can help us find sleep, without which, we may not have the energy to connect with others, or have the will to regulate our toxic coping habits, which can, in turn, impair our sleep.

Exercise and relaxation methods can also help us replace these same compulsive behaviours and handle the stress that leads to them as well as to emotional eating or thoughtless spending.

–Think of your wellness as a tapestry. To create a masterpiece, each thread must be strong and woven tightly together. If one thread is loose, it impacts the whole weave.

We don’t ask for or expect perfection. In fact, the idea of ‘perfect’ is anathema to the pursuit of wellness. We only ask that you keep this in mind on your journey.

Perhaps you came to this program with a focus on one or two elements – say, eating and exercise. And maybe you’ve already seen improvement in these areas. If so, congratulations! But if other areas struggle, so does our overall wellness.

We encourage you to regularly go back to all the previous chapters and let the words, imagery and music flow over you. Keep up to date on your wellness journal. Check in with yourself on what’s working and what you can work on next. There’s always more to learn and do.

Like many of us, you might have a tendency to rest on your laurels once you’ve achieved a goal. But we encourage you to not let your goals limit you. If you’ve achieved a goal, it’s time to set a new one or find a new area to work on.

And the best way to do that is together.

Together, we go farther.

From the chapter on community, we learned that our social connections are the single most important factor for our wellness. They’re what keep us healthy in mind, body and soul for our entire lives. We learned that social isolation has powerful negative physiological effects – as harmful as smoking – that can reduce both the years we live and the quality of those years.

It always seems to come down to who you know – even for your health. The people we grew up with and the people in our lives today have a significant impact on our wellbeing.

Being with each other is the heart of wellness. And by working together, we can both better achieve our personal wellness and deepen our social connections. It starts with meeting people with similar interests and goals (or who are inspired by them) and expands from there.

In the first eight chapters, we learned the foundations of wellness for individuals, but true wellness is found with community.

We are social animals. We evolved in small groups over millennia and together we celebrate each other’s achievements, support one another in hard times, hold each other to the standards we set for ourselves and learn and grow stronger through our successes and setbacks.

One lone tree will never be as strong and healthy as the trees in a healthy forest.

–When we exercise together, we hold each other accountable to our goals, motivate each other and make it fun rather than a chore –– strengthening our bodies, minds and social bonds.

While meditation and other relaxation techniques can seem like very private, internal processes, by practicing them together (perhaps even with a guide) we create a supportive environment that can help us go deeper, putting us into closer connection not just with ourselves, but with our world as we foster our empathy and compassion – as we saw with the Tibetan monks studied by Dr. Herbert Benson and Dr. Richard Davidson in the chapter on relaxation.

Through cooking, eating and growing food together, we share stories, knowledge and culture. Just think of all the memories and histories baked into each of our favourite recipes which nourish more than just our bodies.

By breaking bread together, we create a sense of belonging, overcome loneliness, and eat with mindfulness rather than following the cravings of our lizard brain for refined sugars, fats and salt.

Think of the community garden. It not only provides fresh food for its members, but it also sows the seeds of community as people work together to cultivate the land, sharing the harvest and the knowledge of how to do so.

We often fall to our compulsive behaviours when we feel alone and isolated. But one of the most powerful ways to deal with toxic coping is to reach out to people, to talk through our behaviours and share our struggles with a supportive, non-judgemental listener.

And if handling money is a problem, asking for help and working on your finances with someone you trust can teach you practical skills and build a support network that can help you confront your challenges head on.

–By welcoming other people to our pursuit of wellness, we become more resilient to change, challenge and stress. There are others to hold us up when we falter, giving us the confidence to stay true to our new habits and not revert to harmful behaviours.

And as your wellness improves as part of a community, you will in turn inspire others through your actions and words, creating a positive feedback loop of rewards. By achieving our goals, we feel good. Through connecting with others, we feel better. And as we grow and connect, we seek to strengthen these connections, welcoming others to this virtuous cycle of inspiration.

Because true wellness is about more than your personal wellbeing. It is about the greater wellness of our communities – even of our planet.

As we discussed in the environment chapter, it is through speaking up – adding our voice to a chorus – and supporting good work that we amplify our personal power to protect our planet. To quote Margaret Mead again: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Many people are experiencing anxiety and depression when they think about our changing climate and environment. But working with others towards a common goal, spending time in nature, getting a good sleep, eating a more plant-based diet, moving our bodies, reducing our consumption – everything we’ve already discussed – are powerful ways to both manage climate anxiety and act against climate change. In a very real sense, the treatment for our wellness can also be a treatment for our planet.

By taking on something greater than ourselves – from a lifelong friendship to a world-changing project – we find meaning, purpose, fulfilment and a greater sense of wellness and belonging. By contributing our skills and energies to something that will outlive us, we can connect at a deeper level to each other, those who came before us and our future generations.

Think. For our brief lives, we get the privilege of participating in this grand experience of existence. By attending to our personal wellness, we can better appreciate and act upon the wonders of this world. And together, we can do so much more.