What is Wellness?

Wellness is not merely the absence of disease or sickness, but is an active and dynamic process by which we pursue healthy behaviors for a more holistic or total health.

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

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

The National Wellness Institute states wellness is “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.”

Wellness matters because everything we experience, everything we feel and every reaction we have is based around our total wellbeing.  If we aren’t healthy and balanced, we aren’t going to respond well.  Sure, we may adapt for a period of time because as humans, we do that very well, but the imbalance takes a toll on our health and eventually begins to reveal itself over time.

Many professional models gauge one’s wellness around six to eight different dimensions. As your coach, I will work around six of those; emotional, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

  • Emotional Wellness – Your ability to recognize your feelings and gauge whether those are filled with enthusiasm and positivity. It is accepting and expressing your feelings rather than denying them.  The ability to work through how you feel is a step toward total wellness. A healthy emotional state breeds positivity, better accepts others and one’s self, maintains satisfying relationships and works through challenging circumstances with a more hopeful drive.
  • Intellectual Wellness – Your ability to tap into your passions, talents and stimulating activities.  Discover what you enjoy most and pursue those things.  Maybe you have a creative side or maybe you have always wanted to become more knowledgeable in a field of study… make time to do those things that challenge you and encourage you to grow. When we stretch our minds with intellectual and creative pursuits, we in turn are more satisfied with ourselves, as well as our level of competency and productivity. A healthy intellect (and mental state) allows us to set our sites on how we are growing rather than feeling like a hamster in a wheel; constantly moving, but going nowhere.
  • Occupational Wellness – Your ability to be satisfied and fulfilled through your line of work.  Let’s face it, as adults, much of our week is spent working and let’s hope this environment supports our pursuit of wellness.  I used to tell my students ALL THE TIME… “pursue your passions over a puffed up paycheck or lofty title.”  If you love what you do, if you feel that your gifts, talents and skills are being put to good use, and you find meaning and gratification in your line of work, it will seldom feel like work.  When you choose a career that aligns with your personal interests and values, you will do that thing with great energy and zeal.  You will wake up each day knowing that what you do matters and makes a difference not only in your own life, but also in someone else’s. 
  • Physical Wellness – Your ability to recognize the value in making healthy choices for your body and longevity as well as for the lives over which you have influence.  You accept the importance of exercise and regular physical activity and do your best to engage in such activities.  You understand that food is for fuel and good foods nourish, heal and protect our bodies against pathogens.  Bad foods impair your health and do not promote longevity.  Physical wellness is dynamic in nature and you strive to combine good exercise with healthful eating habits.  It is also the application of your understanding that drugs, alcohol and tobacco do not promote good health and should be avoided/ limited in consumption.  One can also add adequate sleep to physical wellness because proper rest allows the body to restore and replenish itself on many levels. A healthy body, promotes a healthy mind and a healthy mind, fosters a healthy relationship with one’s self and others.
  • Social Wellness – Your ability to see the value of life around you.  You contribute to the greater good of society and engage in healthy relationships with others. You recognize and value good communication and seek to build meaningful friendships and personal relationships.  You desire to encourage others and leave a positive impression on those with whom you come in contact. You actively seek to build community with others and live in harmony rather than in turmoil or conflict.
  • Spiritual Wellness – Your ability to find purpose and meaning in life and recognize there is something greater than yourself or the things on which you place the greatest value. It is in this deep rooted meaning and value that we find joy, happiness and the smallest morsel of strength when life is rugged and full of despair and disappointment.  Spiritual wellness is often consistent with our values and beliefs and is the compass by which everything else is guided.  It is our ability to live a life of integrity and be true to ourselves.

If you choose to further explore the dimensions of wellness, there are many resources available to you.  Some models will include environmental wellness, mental wellness and even financial wellness.

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