What Does Wellness Really Mean?

Daily Health Solutions, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on August 19, 2014

In today’s health-centric world, wellness is a catch-all term that’s tossed around left and right. Everyone claims to hold the “secret” to the good and healthy life.  Your crazy runner friend might define “wellness” as running six miles every day and swearing off processed foods. Your hippie-vegan friend might say it’s eating plant-based foods and meditating every morning. But do we even know what wellness really means? And how can we achieve it in our everyday lives? Turns out, wellness is much simpler than you might think.

First, though, some basics. What is wellness, from a purely technical standpoint? According to University of California, Davis, wellness is  defined as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” The World Health Organization describes wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The National Wellness Institute defines wellness to be “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” So, to put this all in more easily digestible terms, we can think of wellness as a perspective on life that cultivates positivity and healthy habits. Basically, wellness constitutes a whole slew of thoughts, behaviors, emotions and physical states; it encompasses both mental and emotional health.

Wellness is important because it can change how you process your emotions and how you behave. The benefits of reaching a stronger sense of wellbeing include lowering stress, reducing risk of illness and growing positive relationships and interactions. The seven dimensions of wellness are occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, physical, social and intellectual. Each of these components is vital for optimum health.

Wellness is a great way to think about health because it is not a one-size-fits-all definition. Health looks different for everyone, and wellness is understanding what is going to work best for you and what will make you confident wherever you are.

Easy Tips to Practice Wellness: 

Meditation: Meditating does not require sitting cross-legged, holding your forefinger and thumb together. Meditation can be practiced on your porch, bedroom floor, or even in your car at the end of a long day. It is important to pause throughout the day to breathe deeply and let go of any unnecessary tension.

Go Outside: Breathe in the fresh air, observe your natural surroundings and take a walk.

Make Healthy Swaps: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stretch instead of checking your phone when you’re bored, add lemon to your water instead of grabbing juice, or pack your lunch instead of going out.

Find a Mantra: Whether it be “up and at ‘em” or “wherever you are, be all there,” find a phrase you can repeat to yourself throughout the day for a little inspiration.

Encourage Others: The more you uplift others, the more positive your thoughts will be.

Digital Detox: Turn off your phone for an hour…or for a weekend. Delete an addicting app. Don’t respond to every text you receive.

Set Goals: Write goals for your career, health, or anything else to have something to focus on and work toward.