Wellness is a term we have been hearing more and more about in recent years. It does not only have to do with good physical condition, general health or the psychological condition of the individual. According to the World Health Organization, “wellness is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of illness or disability.”
Let’s see a little more specifically what exactly this popular word we hear from the media, influencers / celebrities, and those around us means.
What is wellness
Simply put, wellness is a personal journey – different for each of us – to health and mental well-being, which equips us with the right tools to cope with every challenge in life.
Wellness is not just about physical health, proper nutrition or exercise. Nor is it a goal that when we achieve it, we rest and stop trying. Essentially, striving for wellness is a more holistic process that affects all aspects of a person’s life. It is a dynamic and constant effort to evolve ourselves, to adapt our habits and to claim a quality and satisfying life with health, happiness and prosperity.
Wellness has nothing to do with age, physique, or appearance, but it does affect how we feel and how we interact with those around us in all aspects of life, whether personal, family or professional.
Often the term ‘wellness’ appears next to the term ‘health’ (you will probably have seen ‘health & wellness’ somewhere), but they have important differences. The key difference between health and wellness is that health is the goal and wellness is the active process to achieve the goal. As wellness affects the general state of our health and all its dimensions are interrelated, we cannot have really good health if we do not conquer wellness first. Wellness inspires individual responsibility for a healthy lifestyle.
The scope of wellness
As already mentioned, wellness is not just about physical or mental health, but it affects and is affected by all aspects of our lives. So, wellness has eight dimensions that correspond to important parameters of a person’s life. Let’s look at some examples:
- Physical wellness: refers to maintaining a healthy body. We get it through exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep and health care.
- Mental wellness: understanding emotions and dealing effectively with stress. We get it by reducing stress, paying attention to ourselves, relaxing, and working towards emotional maturity.
- Social wellness: the creation of a support network and the effective performance of social roles. It concerns the creation of satisfactory interpersonal relationships on a personal / romantic as well as professional / academic level.
- Spiritual wellness: the creation of values that contribute to the search for a purpose in life. Spirituality is expressed in many ways, one of which is religion.
- Professional wellness: the positive treatment of professional life and the appreciation of contributions to work. This dimension focuses on how work can bring pleasure and enrich life.
- Financial wellness: the successful management of finances. The process of learning how to manage money effectively, as their lack affects health and many other aspects of life.
If you have read this far, you will surely understand that wellness is an important issue and requires a holistic approach to maintaining good health, fitness and psychology, both individually and collectively.
Among the modifiable risk factors for health are smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit substance use, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and obesity. These factors contribute significantly to the possibility of developing a chronic disease, which can lead to death if not treated in time.
It is therefore important to claim wellness. But how can you integrate it into your daily life, change your habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle?
How to achieve wellness
It may seem difficult in an already stressful daily life, to take time for yourself and get into the long process of changing your habits. But it is worth it and you can do it on your own terms. Here are some ways in which you can claim wellness, adjust your daily life and achieve good physical and mental health.
What foods you choose to eat is something that has a great impact on health in the long run. You don’t have to starve yourself, but it is important to be informed, follow a healthy diet, choose foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins, and avoid overeating.
Reducing the consumption of red meat and animal fats, increasing the consumption of whole grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as adequate hydration of the body with water, can be the basis for a healthier diet.
Reduction of smoking and alcohol consumption
Perhaps the most important decision you can make about your health is to quit smoking. Smoking leads to many diseases and is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year.
Similarly for alcohol, its excessive consumption can lead to liver disease, cancer, as well as car accidents, violence, and suicide. Figures from the United States are alarming, as alcohol-related deaths appear to have doubled in recent decades.
Frequent and systematic exercise
Combined with good nutrition, exercise is another very important factor that leads to good health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Depending on your age and physical condition, you can start with a mild form of exercise, such as walking or yoga and gradually increase your pace and endurance.
Regular exercise prevents cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes, helps with depression and anxiety, improves sleep, reduces fatigue, and more.
Adequate and quality sleep
Lack of sleep not only creates fatigue and bad mood, but in the long run can also affect our health. Most people need around 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep helps in healing and recovery. Exercise and diet are important factors for good sleep. We also suggest that you do not consume coffee late in the day and do not look at screens just before bedtime.
Taking care of the soul is just as important as taking care of the body. And while a pain in the body or the extra pounds is a sign of improper health and balance, the traumas of the soul also lead to a difficult daily life.
Our mental health is so important that on 13 June 2008, the Member States of the European Union signed the Mental Health and Wellness Pact, recognizing its importance in improving the quality of life of the citizens of the Union, estimating that 50 million of them suffer from some kind of mental disorder, with depression being the most prevalent mental illness.
Taking care of my soul and maintaining my personal balance means learning to deal with and manage situations that cause unpleasant emotions.
Annual checkup and prevention
Prevention plays a big role in good health. Many diseases start asymptomatic or can be treated in time simply by lifestyle changes or by much less invasive methods, depending on whether they are allowed to progress. That’s why it is important to visit your doctor regularly and do an annual checkup.
Gender and age determine the scope of the annual screening tests, but as an example we can mention:
- For men, blood and urine tests, heart tests, vision and hearing tests, colonoscopy (every few years), prostate test, etc. are recommended.
- For women, blood and urine tests, heart tests, vision and hearing tests, colonoscopy (every few years), Pap tests and mammograms are recommended.
Private health programs are especially useful in this case, as they include the possibility of annual checkups and provide care and access to health services without delays.
The above ways work in combination and interact to achieve wellness and a healthier lifestyle. So, starting with small systematic changes in lifestyle and gradually changing habits, the path to wellness becomes smoother. Wellness is something we all deserve to have in our lives. With the right moves, prevention, and the help of technology, we can surely achieve it.