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Wellness: What Is It, And Why Is It Important?

11 min read
Published on 01 January, 2023

Most of you have heard the importance of wellness in an ever-changing world. Despite this, many confuse wellness with health. The word is among the most used and greatest in the English language, yet it is also among the most misunderstood.

Health and wellness go beyond physical and mental health but are multidimensional active processes that result in a happier, more fulfilling life. It is not merely a matter of genetics or diet and exercise but rather more about being aware of your considerable potential and taking responsibility for it.

The concept of wellness today is not a square one but rather a holistic one.
This article will help you get a better understanding of what wellness is and the different dimensions of wellness.

What Is Wellness?

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According to the World Health Organization, "wellness is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity." Again, if you go by definition, the National Wellness Institute considers wellness to be an active process through which people become aware of and make choices towards a more successful existence".

According to the WHO, wellness has two cardinal aspects: achieving a true individual's full potential physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, and financially. It is also about carrying out your personal, family, and professional expectations without experiencing any burnout.

Dr. Halbert L. Dunn coined the phrase high-level wellness in the 1950s, but the concept of wellness only gained popularity in the 1970s.

Despite the many definitions of wellness, many people may mistake it for health or just physical and mental well-being. It is more holistic, especially post-pandemic, when everyone witnessed how the disease affected almost all aspects of life, not just health.

Wellness is primarily associated with good physical and mental health. Because both are interlinked, the other will be affected when neither is taken care of. Thus, improving your mental health will directly impact your life's other dimensions. So put in layman's words, wellness is -

  • An active process

  • A lifestyle and not just a state of being

  • A choice more than a duty

  • A dynamic process

  • More than just the absence of illness

Wellness: Why Is It Important? Why Is It Gaining Popularity At Work?

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Over time, wellness has gained a lot of popularity when it comes to employees' health and corporate benefactor programs. Employee wellness programs are more like investments, as employees' health is the most valuable asset.

According to the CDC, chronic disease and mental health issues cost organizations almost 75% of healthcare costs. Thus, wellness in employee programs has become more of a prevention than a necessity.

It is gaining popularity in the workplace due to the increasing health issues that employees and employers face due to unhealthy work environments, poor health facilities, or lack of healthcare programs.

Since employees spend most of their time at work, an unhappy and unhealthy environment will only contribute to more absenteeism and a lack of productivity.

Prioritizing a work culture that encourages wellness among your employees will promote -

  • A decrease in job turnover.

  • An increase in job satisfaction.

  • Better stress management.

  • Helps to reduce absenteeism.

  • Helps in cost-saving extra expenses on preventive employee illness.

What Is The Difference Between Health And Wellness?

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Although health and wellness are interlinked, it is not the same. Very often, wellness is misunderstood as health when both concepts are different from the other.

Health is generally limited to the physical and mental health of an individual. However, the concept of wellness goes beyond just the two dimensions and covers more areas of your life. It is a state of optimal well-being, thriving to succeed and lead a happier life.

Whereas health, when you talk of it, is more narrowed down. For example, if you are in a good state of health but financially say you are not happy, then it will not be considered as you being well or living life to the fullest. As it will affect your mental state at some time or the other.

Regarding wellness, it is more dynamic than the concept of heath. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of any disease." In contrast, wellness means enhanced well-being.

Health is a state of being, whereas wellness is a state of living. The stability and enhancement of health go beyond just healthcare and environmental factors. It requires a practice of healthy choices and lifestyle.

Usually, when people refer to health, they generally mean physical health, and well-being is considered more about your mental health. And this is where wellness overlaps health. It is much broader as it covers all the dimensions of your well-being.

The Nine Dimensions of Wellness - What Are They?

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The concept of wellness is not a closed one but rather a holistic one. Although there are different beliefs and multiple dimensions, some common factors contribute to wellness. The understanding of wellness has shifted from the concept of programs and practices that help alleviate illness and diseases to the dimensions of quality of life and satisfaction.

So, most of the dimensions of wellness now go beyond just your physical, emotional, and mental health. They cover other areas of life, spiritual, financial, occupational, and even social wellness. One component of wellness is believed to affect the other dimension of wellness in your life positively. So here are the nine dimensions of wellness -

1. Physical Wellness

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When you think about physical wellness, it is not just limited to having a body without any infirmity or exercising daily. But it is more than just having a fit body. It also encompasses other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including following a healthy diet, proper sleep hygiene, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important role in your physical wellness, as most of your health is determined by the food you eat. It is important to learn and be aware of what you are eating and what is causing you problems. Again maintaining an exercise regimen is also important as it helps to regulate your mood and contributes a lot to maintaining your emotional wellness.

Again, do activities that will help you improve your physical health and observe the stressors that might contribute to your health problems. Restricting yourself from involving in unhealthy habits and practices like drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating junk food is also an important factor when you talk about physical wellness.

Suggested Read: Employees and Fitness: 5 Workplace Fitness Culture Benefits

2. Mental Wellness

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Post-pandemic, mental wellness has become one of the most important dimensions of wellness. In the wake of the lockdown and COVID, rebuilding your life and making the drastic transition has taken a toll on almost everyone's mental health. In light of this, it became apparent that the disease affects not only your physical health but also your mental health.

So, what is mental wellness? Mental wellness is a positive state of mental health. It is more than the absence of mental illness; it means that your mind is in order and functioning in your best interest.

It is a state of being where you can think, feel and act in a way that positively impacts your social and physical well-being. Mental wellness means being more in control of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors so that you can handle challenges more positively and enjoy life to the fullest.

Mental wellness consists of the following:

  • Being able to cope with adversity with a positive approach

  • Engaging in productive work

  • Being able to pay attention to your own needs

  • Learning to be at peace with oneself

  • Maintaining a work-life balance

  • Setting SMART goals and working towards achieving those without burnout

  • Spending quality time with your close ones and maintaining healthy relationships

  • Engaging yourself in work that provides a sense of satisfaction

Suggested Read : 8 Tips To Improve Your Mental Well-being During Mental Wellness Month

3. Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness, or the lack of it, affects many areas of your life. Emotional health or wellness is associated with attitudes about self and life. Your ability to manage, handle and understand your emotions impacts your life.

The national center for emotional wellness defines emotional wellness as" the state of awareness, understanding, and acceptance of your feelings and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and changes.

Emotional wellness means having the necessary emotional skills like positive thinking, resiliency, and better coping with stress and managing emotions to live a happier life. Because when you are not feeling good, your other aspects or dimensions of wellness will be affected in a negative way.

It can get pretty challenging to have a fulfilling life if you've not grown emotionally along with other dimensions of your life. October is dedicated to emotional wellness around the globe and is known as the emotional wellness month.

4. Occupational Wellness

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One of the most underlooked yet important dimensions of wellness is occupational wellness. You can achieve a balance between work and leisure without overlapping.

When you talk about wellness, especially occupational wellness, it is concerned with achieving personal satisfaction from paid and non-paid jobs. It also encompasses your ability to handle multiple jobs or tasks and attend community or personal meetings.

When you feel purposeful about your work or are appreciated and recognized, you will find more meaning and satisfaction with what you do. Occupational wellness aims to reduce, if not prevent, burnout and job turnover. If you are not in a comfortable and healthy workspace, then your occupational wellness will be compromised.

Here's how you can improve or achieve occupational wellness -

  • Do not overwork yourself. It can often lead to burnout and frustration towards your job.

  • Balance your work and personal lives so that you have a positive outlook on your job and life.

  • Avoid settling down for the bare minimum. Try to push yourself towards striving for a goal at work or completing a project.

  • Staying engaged and excited about your work plays a big role in achieving occupational wellness.

5. Spiritual Wellness

Many of the behaviors associated with overall wellness are the key components of spiritual wellness. Spiritual wellness is about finding the sense and purpose in your life, including your morals, outlook, and ethics. It is a major component of your overall wellness since it involves the synchronization of your mind, body, and soul altogether.

Since finding your purpose and meaning in life is a never-ending quest, being able to find the right way to achieve those is what spiritual wellness is. It is about finding harmony with your surroundings and balancing your personal needs with the needs of others as well.

Here are a few benefits of achieving spiritual wellness -

  • Achieve a greater sense of calmness and peace of mind

  • Being able to think positively and engage in more positive emotions

  • Finding purpose and meaning in life

  • Being more accountable for your actions and decisions

  • Prioritizing mindfulness

According to a recent study, there was a significant upsurge in feeling disconnected from reality and among co-workers leading to excessive smoking and alcohol consumption. And by practicing spiritual wellness, one can reconnect with oneself and gain more power to be resilient.

6. Financial Wellness

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Although it is a common misconception that money doesn't buy happiness, in reality, your finance plays a major factor in contributing to your overall wellness and happiness index. Financial wellness is one of the most crucial yet overlooked dimensions of wellness. It is thus important to be more aware of your finance and expenses and learn how to use money strategically to enhance your wellness.

Therefore, financial wellness is the state of financial well-being in which you can manage your bills, and still be able to plan for long-term goals. It is an important aspect of life as it helps you learn the necessary knowledge and skills to manage your finances effectively.

Here are a few reasons why you should prioritize financial wellness in your wellness programs -

  • It helps to reduce financial stress and become more financially stable.

  • Enhances productivity and employee satisfaction.

  • It minimizes turnover and maximizes employee retention.

  • As a major part of the stress comes from financial expenses, it will improve your mental and physical health.

7. Intellectual Wellness

"Intellectual wellness is the wellness of the mind," Michael Ebinger's

Intellectual wellness refers to your cognitive, knowledge acquisition, and thinking ability. It is all about learning and growing. It is about you being eager or making an effort to learn, be creative, and be curious to get more experience about things that can further fuel your overall wellness.

Intellectual wellness goes beyond academia and has nothing to do with your IQ score. It is more about learning things for the sake of learning. It is an important part of your wellness as it helps you to learn and share your knowledge to achieve a more balanced life. It further helps you to become more aware of your surroundings and become a well-rounded person.

Keeping your intellectual health is just as important as keeping your physical health. A healthy mind can stimulate new ideas and lead a much more fulfilling life.

Here are a few ways you can achieve or improve your intellectual wellness -

  • Play brain games or practice brain exercises

  • Make reading part of your daily routine

  • Attend different classes of various courses

  • Try to talk with other people or engage more in social interactions

  • Try to keep a journal

Suggested Read: Keys to attain Intellectual Wellness at the Workplace

8. Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness refers to your sense of safety, comfort, and connection with your physical surroundings. It is about living in a caring and healthy environment, as well as being aware and respectful about it at the same time. Your surroundings have a significant influence on you and how you feel too. It affects both your physical and mental health, which is one of the reasons environmental wellness is so important. Your everyday behavior affects your environment once you become more environmentally aware and conscious.

Improving this wellness aspect will lead you to a more balanced life. And here are a few more reasons why it is important -

  • When your surroundings are taken care of, you feel a greater sense of calmness and less anxiety

  • Engage yourself more with nature and harmony with nature

  • Improves your mood and overall mental health

  • It enhances the quality and length of your life

  • Reduces the risk of diseases and healthcare costs

9. Social Wellness

Social wellness refers to nurturing yourself, others, and your relationships. It is about your dynamic with your friends, family, colleagues, and community. It consists of balancing your mental and physical health and actively participating as an interdependent member of the entire humankind.

Communicating your needs, feelings, and thoughts, and actively listening with empathy, are part of this process. In other words, it's a two-way street. It also involves maintaining meaningful friendships and relationships on and off the job and engaging in positive thinking and interactions in both work and leisure.

Take these steps to cultivate social wellness habits in your life -

  • Practice basic self-care like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising.

  • Avoid negative coping mechanisms like smoking or drinking alcohol

  • Try to create healthy boundaries in all of your relationships

  • Rekindle with your friends, family, and colleagues and try to nurture a more positive and healthy relationship with them

  • Try to be an empath and listen to others with a more open mindset and patience

Summing It Up

Now that you know wellness, you can learn how to enhance or improve it. As it's an active lifestyle that incorporates your emotional, physical, mental, financial, and occupational aspects, you can set goals to take more control over them by engaging in wellness activities.

Try something new every day to improve your overall wellness. It doesn't necessarily have to be anything big. As you practice every day, you'll find that it becomes easier and part of your routine.

I hope this article helped you better understand what wellness is and why it is important.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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