Over the years, generations of people have continued to view health as simply the absence of ailment or disease. Even though this view still prevails, a new concept has been introduced; wellness. Even though the wellness concept is relatively new, it does expand the idea of health beyond the simple absence or presence of disease. Wellness refers to vitality and optimal health – to living life to its very fullest.
It is important to mention that even though people tend to use the terms wellness and health interchangeably; there are two major differences between them. Whereas health can be influenced or determined by factors beyond your control such as family history, age and genes, wellness is determined largely by personal decisions that one makes regarding how to live.
In this regard, wellness does therefore involve making a conscious decision to control risk factors that contribute towards injury or disease. This does include activities such as eating a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking amongst a whole list of risk factors. Experts have over this period defined 6 (six) dimensions of wellness, these are;
• Spiritual and
It is important to mention that each of these dimensions affects the other. In addition, the process of achieving wellness in your life is a constant and dynamic undertaking that involves both growth and change in equal measure. Experts have noted that ignoring any of the above dimensions may negate or have harmful effects on one’s life.
For physical wellness, it is important to note that it not only includes your body’s overall condition as well as the absence of disease but also your ability to care for yourself and fitness level. Typically, it is an accepted fact that the higher your fitness level, the higher your level of physical wellness. To achieve the optimum physical wellness levels, it is important then to make choices that assist you avoid injuries and illnesses.
Emotional wellness does reflect your ability to deal with and understand your feelings. It does involve attending to your feelings and thoughts, closely monitoring your personal reactions as well as identifying any obstacles to your emotional stability. To achieve this type of wellness, you must be able to find solutions to your emotional problems, seeking professional help if and when necessary. Intellectual or mental wellness is known to constantly challenge the mind. A mind that’s active is important since it helps detect problems, finds solutions to these problems and also directs behavior. To achieve intellectual wellness, you should never stop learning.
Social or interpersonal wellness on the other hand is defined by the ability to not only develop but also maintain supportive and satisfying relationships. This does require one to participate in and contribute towards the well being of the community, country and the entire world. To enjoy spiritual wellness, one should posses a set of guiding values, principles and beliefs that give some meaning and purpose to life; this is especially so during difficult times. Someone who is spiritually well should constantly focus on the positive aspects of life. He or she is bound to find spirituality as an antidote for negative feelings such as pessimism, anger and cynicism.
Finally environmental wellness is defines by the overall livability of one’s surrounding. This is very important since personal health is dependent on the good health of the planet earth- from the degree of violence in the society to the safety of food supply. To attain environmental wellness, one should strive to make the world a cleaner and safer spot as well as learn how to protect oneself against hazards in the surrounding.