No universal definition exists, because Vitality is very personal!
A few years ago, a business client asked me to give my opinion on Vitality and how to stimulate Vitality. An excellent question, and before answering this, I asked the following; "Can you explain why you are asking me this question? The answer was telling: "We see in the results of our employee satisfaction surveys that our people suffer from stress, do not sleep well, experience fatigue and are dissatisfied during work. But we also see that this is much more important for one person than for another person. We don't quite understand why. That is why we would like to have a specialist look at it!"
What's going on here now?
Vitality has been given many definitions in recent years. In particular, pretty general descriptions are used, such as "Vitality is energy to live" and "The life force of every human being". It is often also mentioned that physical and mental Vitality can be distinguished. Employers have also realised the value of good Vitality and are keen to invest in it to stimulate sustainable employability. In 2009 and 2019 we conducted a broad Vitality survey among our corporate clients, various providers of vitality programs and regular and alternative health professionals. The results were fascinating. Everyone thought that Vitality consists of different dimensions, and we arrived at four dimensions: Physical, Mental, Emotional/Social and Spiritual/Ideological. In particular, the business participants in the survey preferred to use a different word for the last dimension, such as Inspirational. A second agreement was that all dimensions influence each other and lead to a total experience of Vitality. Third, they agreed on a distinction between business/professional vitality and private Vitality. We see this distinction reflected in many other subjects, such as communicative behaviour or the degree to which one opens up as a person.
Vitality consists of 4 dimensions that influence each other: Physical, Mental, Emotional/Social and Inspirational/Spiritual.
There was another similarity: high Vitality directly links to an overall sense of well-being. So the emotional dimension was seen as the norm. However, there must be a positive feeling for an optimal Vitality feeling on all other three dimensions. Therefore, a positive sense of physical Vitality only slightly compensates for the lesser feeling of Vitality in the different dimensions. 'Working' on all dimensions simultaneously is judged by almost everyone as extremely difficult!
Identifying where you have a problem with your Vitality is, of course, only the first step; after that, we would like to do something about it. So how do you convert your observation into targeted action to start to feel more vital? So basically, how do you motivate yourself so that you will enjoy it for a more extended period?
And why is Vitality so very personal?
The discussion about the results took an exciting turn when we realised that Vitality is very personal. How Vitality is handled is strongly influenced by the basic psychological needs of each individual. We have read in previous blogs that Jung distinguishes different archetypes. In Vitality, each type has additional motivational drivers to work on their Vitality. For example, one person gets motivated to start Vitality from 'appearing vital to others'. The other gets encouragement because working on Vitality significantly reduces disease risks. Completely different motivations (the WHY) to step onto a treadmill or walk several miles a day (the WHAT and HOW). Knowing your own basic needs is extremely important to make your Vitality sustainable and effective efforts!
What can we learn from this analysis?
A few practical tips:
- Discover where your most important challenges lie concerning Vitality. Within which of the four dimensions do you experience the most pain?!
- Determine your motivations! Because if you don't give substance to this, your efforts will not last!
- Look back in the past and list why being busy with Vitality has not become a habit. These limiting beliefs will help you choose other motivations.
We are happy to help you on your way to more Vitality. First, try the online FutureFit learning route. It provides insight into your motivations and limiting beliefs. You can also download the Social Styles MentesMe app for free from the App Stores (Android and Apple). Enjoy!