- We hear the word wellness more and more nowadays, in the news, on billboards, in conversation and even at work. But what does is really mean? Strange as it may seem, given its frequent appearance, there is no universally-accepted definition of wellness. However, there is a set of common characteristics seen in most thoughtful attempts at its definition. Quite commonly, we see a reference to a “state of well-being,” which is pretty vague, to say the least. We also frequently see “a state of acceptance or satisfaction with our present condition.”
The truth of the matter is that wellness really is a tough word to define. Here’s how an expert in the field, Charles B. Corbin Professor Emeritus in the Department of Exercise and Wellness at Arizona State University-East in Mesa, AZ. defines it: “Wellness is a multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.”
A state of being is better seen as a process. And others in the field agree that wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.
Breaking that down even further, if wellness is a process, then there is always the possibility to improve on our current state of being. Becoming aware implies action, the action of seeking out more information about how we can improve. Making choices then means that we weigh that new-found information and choose what we determine is in our best interest. And finally, success is defined by each individual and results in a set of life’s accomplishments.
So that’s the process, the how, to achieving personal wellness. So now what are these multi-dimensions? The website thedefinitonofwellness.com proposes these 10 categories:
- Social Wellness
- Occupational Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Emotional Wellness
- Environmental Wellness
- Financial Wellness
- Mental Wellness
- Medical Wellness
All of these dimensions vary in how personal they may be, occupational and environmental for example, but there is no doubt that all do affect our personal well-being. While physical exercise and disease factors get a lot of press, the mental and emotional factors cannot be overlooked. While we may not all be physically fit or free from disease, we can strive for increased wellness by working with what we’ve been dealt.
For more details on each of the dimensions of wellness, check out the links found on the webpage at www.thedefinitonofwellness.com.
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