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What is Wellness?

The term “wellness” has gained in popularity in the last few years as a catch-all term referring to anything health or happiness related but can mean a variety of things to different people, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that wellness is “trending” is a great thing; to me, that means that the act of seeking a better state of being and enjoying a better quality life is becoming more of a collective movement across the world.

Global Wellness day defines wellness as: “An active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare.”

“Wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (The World Health Organization).

This is a great place to start. I would even boil it down further to say:  Wellness is and can be defined by any act or thought that brings you greater joy, health, or happiness.

Wellness is a completely custom experience that you have the ability to curate on your own terms and determine what works for you. Some strategies for wellness include yoga and meditation, creating clear boundaries, eating clean, and taking time alone or with friends. A wellness strategy consists of creating a road map and practice of where you want to be and implementing the elements that you believe will get you there.

It is important to see that all of the various concepts of wellness should include at least the following precepts:

7 Elements of Personal Wellness

    • Social Wellness
        • The ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world. Our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends, and co-workers contributes to our social wellness.
      • Social wellness involves having a strong social network that can give you support and guidance when you are overwhelmed or need stress relief. Additionally, these relationships can aid in the development of future healthy relationships.
    • Emotional Wellness
        • The ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness, stress, hope, love, joy, and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our emotional wellness.
      • Maintaining a healthy emotional life is important to overall health. Some ways to stay emotionally healthy are to manage your stress level, stay on top of school work, get eight hours of sleep each night, and ask for help or see a therapist at a counseling center.
    • Spiritual Wellness
        • The ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to develop congruency between values and actions and to realize a common purpose that binds creation together contributes to our spiritual wellness.
      • Spiritual wellness is a process of understanding beliefs, values, and ethics that help guide your life. Whatever your preferred approach, spending time asking and exploring your spiritual life can be an important part of your overall well-being.
    • Environmental Wellness
        • The ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, water, and land that surrounds us. The ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment—be it our homes, our communities, or our planet—contributes to our environmental wellness.
      • Taking care of your global environment and your personal surroundings. Decluttering your room, recycling your trash, or volunteering to clean up your environment can improve health for all.
    • Occupational & Financial Wellness
      • The ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society as a whole leads to occupational wellness.It is also taking steps to live within our financial means and planning for future financial health.
    • Intellectual Wellness
        • The ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction, and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills, and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our intellectual wellness.
      • Staying curious and engaged in learning new things. Engage in creative activities. Read for pleasure, be aware of social and political issues, or join a club that focuses on enhancing intellectual interests.
  • Physical Wellness
      • The ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal physical wellness.
    • Involves moving your bodies (exercise), eating well-balanced meals (nutrition), sleeping, managing stress, receiving preventative medical and dental care, and getting sexual health screenings when you become sexually active.

In conclusion, the definition of wellness has greatly expanded and is unique to each person. Also, it is important to see wellness as a continuous journey and not an ultimate destination. Just like physical health, wellness is a lifestyle that must be maintained in order to have optimal benefits.

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