What is Wellness?

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According to the website DefinitionofWellness.com: ‘Wellness is not the mere absence of disease. It is a proactive, preventive approach designed to achieve optimum levels of health, social and emotional functioning. Wellness can also be defined as an active process through which you become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence.’

Since our early years, we’ve been conditioned to put responsibility for our health into the hands of our doctors. Usually, it goes a little something like this: you get sick, make an appointment with your GP, have a quick 10-minute consultation with your doctor and are prescribed a course of medication to treat the symptoms. Rarely, along the course of this interaction do we sit down and ask ourselves, ‘How did I get sick and what can I do to change it?’.

It’s this question that lies at the heart of the Wellness movement. As Isaac Newton famous stated in his 3rd law of motion ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. We can, loosely, apply this law to our own health. Eat a lot of fatty junk food, sugar-laden soda and don’t do any exercise then you will be more likely to overweight, sick and have a shorter life expectancy. If you smoke, you are increasing your chances of getting lung cancer. Eat well and participate in a little exercise and you’ll live a healthier, happier, longer life with less disease and more time to enjoy the things you love. Sure, there will always be outliers like your Auntie Edith, who ate nothing but fried chicken, smoked 80 cigarettes and drank a bottle of whiskey a day and lived to be 127 years old, or your marathon running, salad eating, tee-total friend who had a heart attack at 29, but there will always be extreme exceptions to the general rule.

Research into the field of Wellness shows some significant results for those who actively pursue the lifestyle. People who take care of their health and manage their lifestyles are healthier, more productive, take fewer days off work and are less of a burden to the medical services. The same people are also less like to suffer from serious disease and more likely to live longer, healthier lives.

Dr. Bill Hettler, of the National Wellness Institute, has developed a model titled ‘The Six Dimensions of Wellness’:

  • Occupational–  recognizes personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work.
  • Physical–  recognizes the need for regular physical activity.
  • Social–  encourages contributing to one’s environment and community. It emphasizes the interdependence between others and nature.
  • Intellectual – recognizes one’s creative, stimulating mental activities. A well person expands his or her knowledge and skills while discovering the potential for
    sharing his or her gifts with others.
  • Spiritual– recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
  • Emotional– recognizes awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. Emotional wellness includes the degree to which one feels positive and enthusiastic
    about one’s self and life.

The idea behind Dr. Hettler’s model is that the 6 aspects of wellness are interconnected and we can apply the model to almost every aspect of our daily lives from regular exercise and healthy eating to fostering relationships and stimulating our minds. The key aspect is taking ownership of one’s own life in a holistic approach rather than focusing solely on individual areas.

Wellness, when applied holistically at a personal and workplace level, can help you not only live a healthier, more fulfilling life, it can also help you achieve at a higher level at your job, delivering better customer service, a higher quality product, and happier, more satisfied customers.


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