When you hear the term “Health Wellness” what do you picture? Images of professional athletes, Olympians, yogi’s and gym enthusiasts are often visual references of what it means to be physically healthy.
As a society, we may evaluate our health against statistical numbers which are determined from scientific and medical research. These images and numbers, however, are small representations of what it means to be healthy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (1) During the late 1950’s Dr. Halbert Dunn, a leader in developing the national vital statistics in the United States and health wellness movement, began writing about the pursuit of optimal well-being which he called wellness. Dr. Dunn defined wellness as a continuous process of growth in reaching our highest state of well-being. (2)
Wellness today can be described as continuously striving to integrate your thoughts (mind), physical being (body) and beliefs (soul) to maximize your best life. While this process is uniquely personal, supportive environments and encouragement from others can be great influences in living a balanced life. Surrounding yourself with individuals who have similar wellness goals fosters a health-promoting environment. In addition, positive support helps not only yourself but others in reaching their maximal potential.
What does health wellness mean to you?