What is wellness?

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What is wellness?

In very simple words, wellness is the method by which we can attain complete or holistic health which encompasses physical, mental, and social health. 

Let us consider two definitions by the Global wellness institute and WHO to understand what wellness by definition is. 

According to the Global Wellness Institute  well is,

“…the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”

According to this particular definition, wellness is not a passive pursuit nor is it a static state of being. It is more of a process where we work and put effort towards an optimal state of health and well-being. 

Rather than it being a milestone of achievement, wellness is an ongoing pursuit that a person must invest themselves in.

Wellness is also seen as the pursuit of not only physical health but also overall health of an individual meaning- cognitive, emotional or mental health, and the health of their relationships also known as social health. 

We have to also understand that wellness is an individual pursuit and mostly depends on self-responsibility for our own choices, behaviours and lifestyles.

According to the The World Health Organisation, wellness is,

“…the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”

According to this definition, wellness involves the progress where optimal health- of all dimensions such as mental, social and physical health- are achieved. 

It also highlights that this is not only concerned with the wellness of one individual but also the entire population as a whole. While it is an individual pursuit, wellness is also concerned with community and society. 

According to WHO, wellness is concerned with two aspects:

  • the achievement of human being’s fullest potential in terms of  physical, psychological, social, spiritual and economical areas. 
  • It is also concerned with ensuring that individual expectations and responsibilities are carried out in the larger world-such as in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other settings.

Why are the dimensions of wellness?

Wellness is concerned with eight dimensions that make the process of attaining wellness a holistic process. 

The following are the eight dimensions of well being:

Physical Wellness

This dimension is concerned with fitness, strength, flexibility, and other physiological conditions of the body. 

It is concerning the biological and physiological processing and state of the human body and also possible conditions that render a person unhealthy. 

Physically wellness involves the processes that ensure or improve quality physical health such as exercise regimens, diet, close observation of health indices including stressors. 

Wellness also includes promoting healthy behaviour and avoiding behaviours that are detrimental to health.

Emotional/psychological Wellness

This particular dimension of wellness is concerned with attitudes and beliefs about self and life. 

Ths dimension also focuses on being aware of, accepting and expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others- that is basically attaining a healthy level of Emotional awareness. 

This particular dimension is also involved in promoting positive self view, actions, and relationships that allow for healthy regulation of emotions and a balance between healthy cognition, feelings, and behaviours. 

Social Wellness

In terms of social wellness, the relationship that an individual shares with others is considered and involves their interaction with other people, the community that they are part of, and also the world around them.

THis particular wellness process involves psychosocial development, political empowerment of individuals and communities, and a healthy sense of civic duty as individuals. 

This dimension promotes healthy relationships and awareness about the social and political milieu of an individual’s world.

Intellectual/Cognitive Wellness

This component of wellness refers to knowledge acquisition and intellectual activity. When knowledge is acquired, it can be shared and used in developing one’s potential to improve personal growth and make the society better. A sound intellectual functioning helps to improve an individual’s wellbeing on the overall, influencing behaviour especially for transforming negative health habits into positive ones.

Spiritual Wellness

This dimension of wellness involves the process of finding meaning and purpose in life which contributes to life satisfaction. It can involve the process of spirituality and religion as well as secular prospects and can be attained individually as well as in a group.

Occupational Wellness

This dimension is concerned with personal fulfilment and satisfaction from paid or non-paid jobs, roles, and careers. 

It encompasses one’s ability to handle their occupational roles and apply their skills to meet the their occupational responsibilities while also being satisfied and maintaining a good work-life balance,

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is concerned with the life of an individual or community and the environment around them on local and global levels.

It promotes the protection of individuals and communities against various environmental conditions- natural and man-made- such as pollution, as well as involves the protection and reservations of the environment around them.

It involves the process by which positive interrelationships between planetary health and human actions is fostered. 

Economic Wellness

Economic wellness refers to the ability to make economic choices as well as experience financial security and satisfaction with one’s personal finances. 

It is concerned with the process by which one attains present and future financial security. 

Cultural Wellness

Cultural wellness refers to the way individuals interact with others of different  ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and customs.

This dimension of wellness is concerned with the extent to which you maintain and value cultural identities of your own as well as of others. 

What is the Wellness paradigm?

To understand the wellness paradigm we must understand health in terms of a spectrum where on one end is the state of illness or poor health while on the other end is the state of optimal health- of all dimensions. 

The process by which people focus on the prevention of illness or poor health and also engage in activities that maximise vitality is understood as the process of wellness. 

This particular pursuit is attained by adopting attitudes and lifestyles that prevent disease, improve health, and enhance their quality of life and sense of wellbeing. I

Thus, wellness can be understood as a proactive model that is  focused on prevention, and the pursuit of optimal wellbeing. 

Is wellness the same as well-being?

The terms “wellness,” “wellbeing” and “happiness” have often been used interchangeably; however , they are not the same thing. 

Well-being is a state of being and has mental and emotional dimensions. It is often associated with a feeling of satisfaction and contentment with one’s self and their lives. 

However, wellness is not a state of being but a process that involves actions and activities to attain the state of well-being.

It involves a physical dimension as well as 7 other dimensions discussed above and involves lifestyle habits, choices, and consumerism.

Why is wellness important?

The reason why wellness is so important is because it impacts all areas of your life and also involves the general idea of the physical, psychological and social self and one’s satisfaction in life. 

It is important because people who are healthier tend to live longer, have higher drive and motivation, and also are less susceptible to mental and physical disorders and illnesses. 

Wellness can bring a sense of acceptance over the many life stressors as well as increase the ability of people to solve problems as well as improve resilience. 

What are the things you can do to attain wellness?

Here are a few things that you can do to attain well-being through the process of pursuing wellness:

  • In terms of emotional wellness, the first thing you can do is to build a healthy relationship with yourself by developing insight and awareness of the way you are and the way you behave, think, and feel. 
  • In terms of social wellness, taking the time to improve your relationships with others by learning how to build healthy boundaries, develop emotional awareness, communication styles, and assertiveness. 
  • Another aspect of wellness is to improve and engage with a healthier social environment as well as physical environments such as your neighbourhood, school or work settings, and peer settings. This means seeking out environments that encourage growth and vitality. 
  • Taking care of financial responsibilities by becoming financially independent at a younger age and learning the value of money. This also involves learning how to earn, how to make financial decisions such as saving and investments. Also developing an awareness about pensions and learning how to plan for retirement is also part of pursuing wellness. 
  • Engaging in brain exercises, eating well to feel your brain, and engaging in activities that allow growth of intellectual abilities is also part of pursuing wellness. This also involves being aware and challenging negative and irrational cognitive beliefs. 
  • Career planning and career path awareness is also part of developing wellness. You can pursue occupational awareness by seeking to strike a balance between the demands of your role and your own individual self. 
  • Take care of your body, but don’t obsess over it. Make sure that you eat well, exercise, and develop a healthy and mutual respect for your body. This means not engaging in activities that would cause harm such as smoking and other forms of addictions that cause health problems.  
  • Finally another way to pursue wellness is to pursue spirituality, meaning and purpose in your own life. This can be done by engaging in religious teaching and practises as well as philosophy from more secular origins. 


In this article we have explored what wellness is and what its dimensions are. 

We have also briefly explored what makes wellness so important and what are the things that one can do to attain wellness.

FAQ related to wellness

What is wellness and examples?

 Wellness is the method by which we can attain complete or holistic health which encompasses physical, mental, and social health. 

. An example of wellness is eating correctly and exercising every day.

What are some wellness goals?

Some wellness goals that can help you attain a state of well-being includes:

  • Healthy daily routines. …
  • Practice good sleep hygiene 
  • Devote your time to loving friendships. 
  • Prioritise self-care. 
  • Regular exercise. …
  • Enrich your diet.

What is a wellness plan?

A wellness plan is a plan of action that has been set individually or through guidance of a health professional to attain personal wellness. 

What is a wellness vision?

A wellness vision is a description of your best self and it defines what you truly want and how you live when you’re at your best. 

The vision consists of healthy behaviours, actions, strengths, emotional regulation, values and relationships that ensure life and self satisfaction and contentment. 


Achieving the Eight Dimensions of Wellness During National Wellness Week. Goodtherapy. Retrieved on 8th Dec 2021. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/wellness-week-healthy-lifestyle-0912125

What is wellness? Global Wellness Institute. Retrieved on 8th Dec 2021. https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/

Wellness: What it is, why it matters, and how to achieve it! Medcenter Blog. 28th February, 2012. Retrieved on 8the Dec 2021. https://medcenterblog.uvmhealth.org/wellness/wellness-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-how-to-achieve-it/

Wellness: What It Is and How to Achieve It. Cummingsbhs. Retrieved on 8th Dec 2021. https://www.cumminsbhs.org/wellness-what-it-is-and-how-to-achieve-it/

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