Wellness Defined: Integrating Holistic Health into Daily Life

Do you know what wellness is? This concept, also related to well-being, is gaining more followers worldwide, interested in having a better, calm, and balanced life.

The wellness idea has existed since the mid-twentieth century. Still, the origins of physical exercise date back to ancient times when people sought well-being for the body and mind.

This article explains the definition of wellness, how to apply it to your life, and its benefits.

What is wellness?

It is the act of practicing healthy habits daily and constantly to improve your physical and mental health. Thus, it will be possible to have a much more prosperous, happy, and balanced life in all its spheres.

The global wellness market was valued at US$3.72 trillion in 2015, with an expenditure of over US$10 billion per day.

Workplace wellness initiatives have become increasingly common in recent years. Over 90% of surveyed companies offer at least one wellness initiative, according to the 2017 Workplace Wellness Trends report by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. This shows that wellness is not just a personal choice but also an organizational priority.

Its modern concept began in the 1950s when health leaders defined well-being more precisely.

The modern concept of wellness has been influenced by ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Asians, dating back more than 5,000 years.

One of the origins was Ayurveda, a medicinal system dating back more than 7,000 years ago, aimed to provide physical and emotional well-being.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is also related to the modern concept of wellness. It mainly encompasses alternative medicine techniques and practices, with the vital energy (chi or qi) circulating in the body as its fundamental principle.

Ancient Greek medicine was another precursor and other more recent developments such as homeopathy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, and organic plantations.

To better understand the real meaning of wellness, it is essential to understand its relationship with health. Defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of disease or infirmity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Healthy living tips focus on physical and mental well-being, but wellness is a complex application across various domains.

A fundamental point for understanding and applying wellness concepts is knowing their dimensions, perceptions, and impact areas.

What are the areas of wellness?

The definition of wellness is already well established, but its dimensions can vary according to the analysis and evaluation of each of the specialists in the subject.

Eight fundamental dimensions on which the application of the concepts of well-being impacts are the following:

Physical well-being: there are several benefits of physical activity covered by wellness. Exercising is vital to maintain good physical health. Identifying and seeking medical assistance for any bodily concerns is crucial for effective treatment.

Intellectual well-being: is related to maintaining an open mind when finding new ideas and knowledge. It also highlights the importance of participating in cultural, school, and community activities, which contributes to the development of the intellect.

Spiritual well-being: institution of a set of values ​​that help you search for meaning and purpose in life. Its representation can come in many ways, such as religion or relaxation, and being well spiritually is synonymous with understanding resources available to deal with everyday situations.

Emotional well-being: is directly linked to understanding your feelings and having to deal with stress. For its best development, understand self-care, relaxation, and daily stress reduction, in addition to seeking to learn and grow with each experience.

Financial well-being: is related to the process of learning how to manage your expenses. Money is essential in everyday life, and knowing how to handle it well is even more important than having a large sum. Be aware not to let the material possession cause fatigue, anxiety, and nervousness.

Environmental well-being: refers to the institution of a lifestyle that respects what is around us, especially nature, as well as actions aimed at protecting it. Becoming more concerned about the environment and its preservation is already a way to develop this dimension.

Social well-being: referring to the quality that must exist in interpersonal relationships. This dimension is not just about friends, family, and colleagues but also about loving relationships.

Occupational well-being: is linked to taking advantage of your occupational efforts and appreciating the contributions offered at work. Intended to encourage personal satisfaction, and the enrichment that works brings this dimension of well-being to life.

Wellness and fitness: what’s the difference?

“Fitness” and “Wellness” are two English words used when there is the intention to talk about physical activity and health. It is common to find gyms and companies that sell these two concepts as if they have the same meaning.

That’s when doubts and misuse by the population arise. Fitness and wellness are not the same things, and we will finally show you what this difference is.

As discussed in the previous topic, one of the areas of wellness is physical well-being, which is related to physical activities, also known as “fitness.”

A few Fitness enthusiasts engage in physical exercise, such as weight training and CrossFit, and follow specific diets to achieve body-related goals.

Where these two concepts differ: wellness goes beyond physical activity and nutrition. Exercising and having a good diet is part of and is one of the dimensions of health, but we can include several other pillars and activities there, as we discussed earlier.

Fitness falls under the umbrella of wellness, which involves physical activity and healthy eating. However, achieving overall well-being also entails establishing positive patterns and routines that extend beyond physical health, such as emotional, financial, and environmental aspects.

Now, let’s analyze the difference between the concept of wellness and health. WHO defines health as holistic well-being, and wellness refers to living a healthy lifestyle in various domains. 

So, we can note that health is a state of being, while wellness is living a healthy way of life. Health relates to physical and social well-being. Wellness strives to enhance and improve well-being.

Practice wellness daily and see the benefits in your life!

Understanding what fitness is more complex than knowing the definitions of each dimension: it is necessary to have healthy attitudes in all of them to extract the best in different areas of life.

Some wellness practices are easy to apply daily and can make a big difference in feeling, expressing yourself, and relating.

Some easy and hassle-free actions to put into practice from the beginning to the end of your day are:

1- When waking up, avoid the cell phone.

Nowadays, we wake up fast, reaching for our cell phones to check social networks and news. It may not be very suitable for those who want to wake up more presently and fully.

Upon waking, focus on your feelings, express gratitude, and set positive intentions for the day.

2- In addition to eating healthy, eat slowly

While a healthy diet promotes physical well-being, poor chewing of vegetables can hinder nutrient absorption and digestion in the body.

So try to separate times to eat and focus on chewing, flavors, and food texture. Take advantage of meals to have a moment of pause, appreciation, and even gratitude for what nourishes your body.

3- Practice sleep hygiene

Sleeping well is essential for achieving well-being in its different dimensions.

When resting, we are in a comfortable mood. Thus, physical activity, mental stimulation, and positive relationships can enhance wellness.

There are some accessible practices to incorporate that improve sleep and make the night refreshing. Here are some of them:

1) try to set a fixed time to go to bed;

2) avoid cell phone screens and light a few minutes beforehand;

3) do not eat heavy meals after 8 pm;

4) try to make your room as cozy as possible, with low light and relaxing aromas, such as lavender, for example.

In addition, it is essential to emphasize that physical exercise is ideal for the development of wellness. Openness to learning and self-awareness promote intellectual and emotional wellness, respectively, as well as other wellness dimensions.

Wellness needs to be exercised, along with all its aspects. Individuals may excel in specific wellness dimensions, but ongoing and progressive development in all areas is crucial.

Knowing wellness can aid balance in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, intellectual, and occupational aspects. Visit an outdoor gym, meditate, exercise your emotions and do whatever you can to grow in all dimensions!