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What Is Wellness?

Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving your full potential and optimal health.

Wellness is a modern word with ancient roots. The key tenets of wellness as both preventive and holistic can be traced back to ancient civilizations from the East (India, China) to the West (Greece, Rome). In 19th-century Europe and the United States, a variety of intellectual, religious and medical movements developed in parallel with conventional medicine. With their focus on holistic and natural approaches, self-healing and preventive care, these movements have provided a firm foundation for wellness today.

Defining Wellness

Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence - Wylde Space

There are two important aspects to this definition. First, wellness is not a passive or static state but rather an “active pursuit” that is associated with intentions, choices and actions as we work toward an optimal state of health and wellbeing. Second, wellness is linked to holistic health - that is, it extends beyond physical health and incorporates many different dimensions that should work in harmony.

Wellness is an individual pursuit - we have self-responsibility for our own choices, behaviours and lifestyles - but it is also significantly influenced by the physical, social and cultural environments in which we live.

Wellness is often confused with terms such as health, wellbeing and happiness. While there are common elements among them, wellness is distinguished by not referring to a static state of being (i.e., being happy, in good health, or a state of wellbeing). Rather, wellness is associated with an active process of being aware and making choices that lead toward an outcome of optimal holistic health and wellbeing.

Wellness Is Multidimensional

Wellness Is multidimensional and is about more than just physical health. It Includes six (but often more) dimensions including:

  • Physical: Nourishing a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.

  • Mental: Engaging the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc.

  • Emotional: Being aware of, accepting and expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others.

  • Spiritual: Seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself, which can result in positive emotions, such as peace, awe, contentment, gratitude, and acceptance.

  • Social: Connecting and engaging with others and our communities in meaningful ways.

  • Environmental: Fostering positive interrelationships between planetary health and human actions, choices and wellbeing.

The Wellness Continuum

One way to understand wellness is to consider health as a continuum that extends from illness to a state of optimal wellbeing. On one end, patients with poor health engage the medical paradigm to treat illnesses; they interact reactively and episodically with doctors and clinicians who provide care. On the opposite end, people focus proactively on prevention and maximizing their vitality. They adopt attitudes and lifestyles that prevent disease, improve health, and enhance their quality of life and sense of wellbeing. In other words, wellness is proactive, preventive and driven by self-responsibility. The growth of wellness is the extension of this consumer value and worldview. Wellness is different from healthcare. Our healthcare systems use a pathogenic and reactive approach, focused on causes, consequences, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries. In contrast, wellness is a salutogenic and proactive approach, focused on prevention, healthy lifestyles and the pursuit of optimal wellbeing. Ultimately, a solid foundation for wellness helps us prevent and overcome disease, both at present and in the future.

Wellness Self Assessment

Sit down somewhere quite and take the time to answer the following questions. It will give you a good starting block to work from. Remember to write down your answers and keep a note of them so you can refer back or change them when you need to.

  • How does this resonate with you?

  • What areas are you strong in?

  • What areas are you neglecting or weak in?

  • What are the most important areas you need to focus on now?

Now you can start making positive steps towards a healthy lifestyle and optimal wellbeing.

Reference What is Wellness? - Global Wellness Institute

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