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Are You Healthy? How About Well?

What’s the difference? Health and wellness are terms that are often used interchangeably, but is that right?

Health is referred to as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease” For most people, good health probably includes:

  • Being pain free
  • Loosing extra weight
  • Not being sick

The primary obstacles we face with our health include social, environmental, and lifestyle choices.  Think of a physically or emotionally demanding job that puts your body at risk of being hurt. Maybe lifestyle choices like diet or recreational activities are negatively affecting your health. These different aspects of your life could limit your health. Conversely, a healthy diet and lifestyle can improve your health. Making sure your work doesn’t negatively impact your health and handling daily stressors can help improve health too. The maintenance and improvement of health depends on those external and internal factors. So now, hopefully you have a better understanding about what health is.

So what does wellness mean? Although variously defined, it has 3 major components.

  • A conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving highest potential.
  • Multidimensional to include your whole lifestyle.
  • Positive and affirming.

Think of it like this–health refers to physical, mental, and social well-being; wellness aims to enhance health. The difference between the two is that wellness is always a matter of choice. You can’t always choose your health, breaking your leg after an accident is out of your control. You can’t control a car accident that’s not your fault, causing physical and emotional stressors. What you can control is your choice to optimize what you do have. That’s what wellness is, it is the choice to maintain, improve, and optimize your health.

Go back to that first list above about health, and now think about it in terms of wellness:

  • Being pain free for a day is health, being pain free for a year is wellness.
  • Loosing extra weight during a diet is health, keeping it off is wellness
  • Not being sick when everyone else is sick is good health, decreasing your visits to the hospital by 40% over the course of the year is wellness.

Every day presents choices to which you do what’s best to sustain your physical, mental/emotional health, and preserve the balance among these aspects of your health. Optimal health comes from wellness, from making decisions and practicing behaviors that are based on sound health knowledge and healthful attitudes. What choice will you make?

 

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