Wellness is an active choice that people make to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. As a way of life, it includes physical health, but reaches further to encompass meaning, purpose and social responsibility. We look at wellness as a fluid state of being that includes:
care of your body;
constructive use of your mind;
effective expression of your emotions;
creative involvement with others; and
concern about your physical, psychological and spiritual environments.
There are many different models of wellness, and to date, there is no one commonly accepted definition. At a basic level, wellness has been equated with health, and in Western society, health has generally been determined by the absence of disease.
Much of Western medicine concentrates on how to treat symptoms of a disease, and is quite reductionist in nature; breaking the body down into individual systems rather than treating the body as a whole. Think of a range with negative-ten being disease, zero being the absence of disease, and positive-ten being optimal wellness. In Western medicine, the best that you can expect to achieve is zero.
However, a shift away from the disease-model towards optimal wellness is happening. In 1992, the World Health Organisation stepped away from the disease model by defining health as:
‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’
Wellness is the way to get beyond zero. It focuses on how to live optimally, and uses holistic rather than reductionist ways to achieve optimal living. As we grow increasingly stressed and timepoor, taking the time to focus on being ‘well’ is more important now than ever.
More coming soon!