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  • Writer's pictureMark Roberts

Wellness - The Art of Being Well

What is wellness? How is it defined? People often think about wellness in terms of physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, etc., but it is so much more. Wellness is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit, according to a study by the University of Maryland.

Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving. To understand the significance of wellness, it’s important to understand how it's linked to health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is defined as being “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Several key areas of your lifestyle are considered dimensions of overall Wellness. They include: social connectedness, exercise, nutrition, sleep and mindfulness. Each one has an impact on your physical and mental health. By making simple and healthy choices on a daily basis, you will be well on your way towards reducing stress, having positive social interactions and achieving optimal wellness.

Start with small changes within each dimension and take it one day at a time – you don’t have to run a marathon or go on a restrictive diet to implement wellness into your everyday life. Wellness is the conscious development of the whole self. Embarking on a wellness journey is a process of searching for the appropriate “tools” to make you a healthier and happier human being, plus discovering your own effective methods to use these “tools” for continued growth and development.

As there is a great variety on all aspects of life, there are also countless ways to cultivate yourself on an ever-changing path of Wellness. It's important to see that all of the various concepts of wellness should include at least the following precepts:

Holism – your health and well-being are the outcomes of the constant interaction between the several natural dimensions of life and wellness. Each dimension is interrelated with the others. The aim is to be conscious of your self as a whole and complete person, living life as fully as possible.

Balance – while acknowledging the constantly changing nature of your life, you look to balance it by giving significant attention to each of the dimensions. Lack of sufficient attention to any one dimension will result in less-than-optimal development as a person, and may possibly lead to chronic unhappiness.

Self-Responsibility – a well person owns up to his or her responsibility for health and happiness and does not allow others to take control over decisions he/she needs to make for him/herself. Self-responsibility presupposes self-awareness, including the process by which one becomes increasingly more aware of both the causes and consequences of his/her behavior.

Positive and Proactive – wellness requires primarily positive perspectives and values by which to live. It also requires a strong sense of purpose and conscious, deliberate action. These are our starting assumptions, and they have stood well through time. However, they provide merely a simple framework. What you put inside that framework is totally up to you.

But what about physical wellness? it's knowing your body and giving it what it needs for health, healing, and energy. Physical wellness consists of recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep, as well as preventing illness and injury or managing chronic health conditions, according to the University of Nebraska.

Goals for your Physical Wellness
  • Understand how and why your body works

  • Feel comfortable with your physical appearance

  • Make informed choices about your body and sexuality

  • Feel competent at physical activities

  • Develop well-balanced and healthy eating habits

  • Become a responsible drinker or a non-drinker

  • Become aware of how a lack of sleep, stress, and non-activity affect your body

  • Become aware of how food, beverages, drugs, chemicals, additives, and caffeine affect your body

  • Engage in regular movement to improve flexibility, strength, aerobic, and cardiovascular health.

  • Develop and cultivate leisure activities

  • Seek medical care when needed for illness, injury and preventative care.

The wellness market is booming. Consumers intend to keep spending more on products that improve their health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness. Executives predict that consumers are going to demand more control and personalization of wellness products in a $1.5 trillion industry. And, it’s growing at a clip of 5 to 10 percent each year. McKinsey & Company research shows that consumers are most interested in six wellness categories: health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness.

Wellness is a dynamic, ever-changing, fluctuating process. It is a lifestyle, a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate allows. The past is history; the present and future lie in the choices you make today. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; just get it going, and become the best kind of person you can be.

As someone who has been involved in the healthcare world for over two decades, I know the value of wellness. Visit this website for options to help you with your own personal wellness program. If you are an employer, contact me for a conversation about how to make wellness part of your employee benefits program.

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