The etymology of the word Wellness dates back to the 1650‘s, when the word was coined as the opposite of Illness. In the 1950’s the term was used to describe mostly alternative medicine practices and as a movement towards “self-care”- like a shunning of medical interventions. This trend continued throught he 1970’s but Wellness still did not have the popularity it enjoys today. Dan Rather, in 1979, in 60 minutes, proclaimed to his audience that Wellness was a little known word. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Wellness if often considered a synonym of Health. In fact, Wellness encompasses more than health. Wellness is an attitude- a lifestyle- that promotes a wholesome approach to all aspects of our existence. Wellness can be defined as a balance between the following 8 dimensions:
The ability to maintain a healthy body allows you to get through your daily activities without feeling unduly tired. You have to recognize that your choices have a huge effect on your wellness. So, routine check ups, healthy eating, exercise and rest promote well being while destructive habits like substance abuse will lead physical illness.
It is important to be mindful of the whole gamut of emotions we experience. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings- anger, fear, sadness or hope, contentment, joy in a productive way contributes to our Emotional Wellness. It’s all about enjoying each emotion and creating satisfying relationships.
We have a symbiotic relationship with our environment. When we take responsibility of all the elements that surround us- air, water, earth, fire- the positive impact circles back to us. The quality of the environment we inhabit, whether at home, at work or in our community affects our Environmental Wellness
The awareness of our spending patterns, the ability to invest and save, to feel secure about providing for our children and to have satisfaction with our current financial situation will give us a sense of Financial Wellness. It’s true that “More Money=More Happiness” is not entirely true, yet the role of financial security cannot be ignored.
The human mind is naturally curious. To explore new ideas and concepts that can be applied to our life, our conversations and to make our world a better place- that is the cornerstone of our Evolution. The desire to learn and improve, to accept challenges and to pursue knowledge contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
We strive to have a balance between work and family and build positive relationships with co-workers. We all want our job to be result of our effort to realize our passion. It may sound cliched, but “to do what we love and love what we do” is important for our well being. Occupational wellness deepens our sense of purpose
Humans are gregarious by nature. Being engaged in our community, having the support of family and friends and having relationships that are based in trust and love are critical to our Wellness. In this day and age, technology is a huge part of our social contentedness it is important to learn how to use it to our benefit
This is perhaps the least understood of all the dimensions. It’s not just about what religion you follow- it’s about finding your inner peace. Some find it with family, some with nature, some with God, some with art. Whichever path you pick, they all lead to a sense of fulfillment and an uplifted spirit
Essentially, Wellness is the beautiful journey to realizing our full potential. And, in the words of Carl Rogers
The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.
Let us take this journey together, use the knowledge that Scientific research gives us and take common sense steps to get to a place of well being.