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What Is Wellness? - Tips, Topics & Plans

Instructor: John Koshuta
While closely related to health, wellness is a term that refers more to an individual's all around well-being. Most definitions of wellness are holistic, involving various dimensions including physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and emotional. In order to effectively address their overall wellness, individuals should attempt to balance these various dimensions equally.

What is Wellness?
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According to the World Health Organization, wellness is defined as ''the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.'' The modern concept of wellness is relatively new, dating back to the mid-20th century when medical and social advances led to decreased infectious diseases and longer lifespans. Today, wellness is commonly addressed at individual, group and community levels.

While the dimensions of wellness vary based on the source, below are examples of six dimensions that are often included to describe this concept:

  • Physical Wellness: Includes fitness, recuperative ability and the absence of disease.
  • Social Wellness: Includes the ability to establish, develop and maintain relationships with family, friends and acquaintances.
  • Spiritual Wellness: May include a sense of purpose, the belief in a higher power or a high level of introspection.
  • Intellectual Wellness: Includes using the brain effectively, thinking clearly, reasoning objectively and analyzing critically.
  • Environmental Wellness: Includes an appreciation for natural surroundings, preserving and protecting the environment and preventing unsafe situations.
  • Emotional Wellness: Includes expressing and suppressing feelings appropriately while having adequate levels of self-confidence, trust and love.

Tips for Addressing Wellness

The following are tips for addressing wellness at various levels:

  • Individuals: Modern advances have made life easier in many respects, but longer hours and commutes, busier schedules and less time for rest and relaxation can decrease individual wellness. Individuals must recognize opportunities to positively impact wellness, through physical activity, proper nutrition, adequate sleep and time in natural settings.
  • Groups: Opportunities for groups to positively impact wellness are almost endless. Groups provide social interaction, emotional support and spiritual growth. Unfortunately, groups can also have a negative impact on wellness if not managed properly. Group leaders need to be identified and ground rules for interaction should be established.
  • Communities: Support for individual and group wellness can be offered by communities. Keeping the environment clean and beautiful while also providing social, spiritual and intellectual opportunities is an important role for every community. Emphasizing a healthy lifestyle and reinforcing this through policies and programs is critical to establish and maintain community wellness.

Wellness Topics

Below are examples of topics that, if addressed, have the opportunity to positively influence wellness:

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