What is Wellness? Merriam Webster defines wellness as “the quality or state of being healthy”. The definition of “wellness” in Mosby’s Medical Dictionary is “the dynamic state of health in which an individual progresses towards a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimum balance between internal and external environments”. In general, wellness means overall well-being and from a holistic perspective, wellness incorporates the dimensions of mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Each of these dimensions acts and interacts in ways that contribute to our quality of life.
Physical Wellness: A healthy body maintained by good nutrition, regular exercise and avoiding harmful habits.
Intellectual Wellness: A state in which our mind is open to new ideas and experiences and is engaged in the interaction with the world around us. This dimension includes the desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.
Emotional Wellness: The ability to understand our own feelings and cope with the challenges which life brings. Emotional wellness implies the ability to express emotions appropriately, adjust to change and cope with stress in a healthy way.
Social Wellness: The ability to relate and connect with others. Social wellness is our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Spiritual Wellness: This dimension is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. It implies that life is meaningful and has a purpose and the ethics, values and morals that guide us given meaning and direction to life.
Occupational Wellness: The ability to get personal fulfillment from our professions or chosen career fields while maintaining balance in our lives. Occupational wellness means having commitment to our occupations that is satisfying and rewarding.
Environmental Wellness: The ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us.
In our own self-assessment and self-evaluation of the above dimensions we often discover certain dimensions that are balanced and others that we can improve on. Wellness is an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions towards a more balanced and fulfilling life.