Let’s talk about health and wellness. Maybe you’ve heard these two terms used in the same context in the past, or even interchangeably. There is a lot to learn about both health and wellness, and that’s what we’re here to discuss today.
There are a variety of ways that you can take care of yourself. The most important thing to do is ensure that you are properly doing so. That being said, this can prove to be a difficult feat if you’re unsure what each term means.
Today, we’re going to shed some light on health and wellness, and why they are so important. We will begin by giving you some insight as to what health is. Afterwards, we’ll discuss what wellness is. We’ll even give you an answer to the question: are these terms interchangeable? From there, we’ll discuss why health and wellness are so crucial, and believe us, they really are. Finally, we will share how you can take steps towards health and wellness — beginning today.
We love talking about these topics because we know how having a robust understanding of them can really help you live your best life. We’re excited to share everything we know about these terms with you. Let’s get started!
What Is Health?
In the 1940s, the World Health Organization, commonly referred to as the WHO, created a definition for the word “health.”
The way that the WHO describes health is a bit abstract.
The World Health Organization refers to health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Over the years, this definition has garnered its fair share of criticism. For one, it can be a bit unattainable. There’s an ongoing discussion if it’s even possible to be in a state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being. Nevertheless, it provides a valuable framework and standards, even if it is a bit lofty.
One of the most important things about this definition is the fact that it broadens the definition of health. It achieves this by mentioning that health is more multifaceted and complex than simply the lack of disease. Instead, there are a variety of things that contribute to health — namely physical, social, and mental wellness.
The World Health Organization believes that the primary determinants of health are, again, multifaceted. These include economic, social, and physical environments, but they don’t stop there. The WHO also believes that a person’s individualistic behaviors and characteristics can contribute to their health.
So what exactly does that mean? It means that in order to maintain or improve your health, you do not only need to depend on external or environmental factors such as the systems of care in place, you also have to take into consideration the diligent effort and smart lifestyle choices that a person makes.
In other words, health is dependent on wellness. This seems like the perfect time to dive into the definition of that term. Trust us, it’s not as abstract as it might seem.
What Is Wellness?
Now that we’ve defined health, it’s time to work out a definition for wellness, too. It can be said that the term wellness doesn’t have a cut-and-dry definition the way that health does as established by the World Health Organization.
Wellness has a variety of definitions and, depending on who you ask, you’ll hear one of the iterations of it.
Nevertheless, we think that the definition as according to the National Wellness Institute is perhaps the most valuable. Wellness, as defined by this organization, refers to “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”
The definition, while it is good and could help provide some structure or framework, isn’t perfect. For one, the concept of a “successful existence” will depend on who you ask and what they value. Still, we consider this to be a valid definition for the term “wellness.”
The term wellness refers to something active rather than passive. In fact, the definition itself is based on not one, not two, but three different tenets. Investigating these could provide a better understanding of the definition of the term. Let’s talk about those now.
What Are the Three Tenets of Wellness?
There are three unique tenets to wellness. These tenets are what the definition is based on. We believe that sharing these will provide you with greater insight as to the differences between health and wellness, and also, help define the term more clearly.
The first tenet of wellness is that it is considered to be self-directed, evolving, and conscious process of achieving one’s full potential. Of course, there are still some abstractions in this tenet, but that’s part of what makes it so helpful.
The concept of reaching an individual’s full potential will vary from person to person. That means that wellness will look and feel different to everyone. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process. You can customize your wellness routine to make it work for you.
The next tenet is that wellness is both holistic and multidimensional. This means that true wellness encompasses spiritual and mental well-being, lifestyle, and environment, too. If you’ve only worked on one or two of those facets of wellness, you can’t say you’ve really completed this tenet.
The last tenet of wellness is that it is both affirming and positive. This one is perhaps the most direct. Still, when striving towards wellness, people can figure out what exactly that means to them, in their own life.
So… Are the Terms “Health” and “Wellness” Interchangeable?
You might be wondering if these terms are interchangeable. In popular culture, health and wellness are sometimes referred to as one and the same. In reality, they’re more like two peas in a pod — they go hand in hand, but they’re not exactly a duplicate of each other.
In order to totally understand the difference between wellness and health, you should know this. While the term “health” refers to a state of being, the same cannot be said for “wellness.” Instead, “wellness” is actually the state of living a healthy lifestyle.
Health is the goal, wellness is the process to achieve it. Wellness is more active than health. Health refers to mental, physical, and social well-being, while wellness tactics can help enhance your well-being.
Why Are Health and Wellness Important?
There are few things more important than health and wellness. Health is the cornerstone of our lives. If you don’t have your health, then, unfortunately, everything else becomes much more difficult.
The reality is that we only have one body: one, lifelong opportunity to take care of ourselves and show our appreciation for the body that we have. Still, each day we can make smaller, more digestible choices to do that.
This can mean nurturing your body by taking supplements for vitamins you don’t get enough of, or it can mean reaching out to a therapist if you’re struggling with your mental health, it can mean going for a ride on your bike every day, it can mean practicing mindfulness. These are all valid and excellent ways to show yourself some love and work towards health.
These two terms are so important because our lives are more full when we are doing things to make ourselves feel better. When we take care of ourselves, we just feel different — better, stronger. This is the only body we have; showing it the love it deserves can help ensure it’s going to work with us.
We also encourage you to find your own reasons why you think health and wellness are important. The truth is that these look different for everyone, and the realistic way to ensure you’re creating a wellness routine that you can stick to is to keep that in mind.
Find your own strategies and techniques; find your own reasons why you’re striving to reach a state of health.
How Can I Achieve Health and Wellness?
These terms are multifaceted which means, yes, you are going to have to take a multifaceted approach. Only if you are able to do that will you be able to actually achieve a state of health.
Of course, we understand that it can be difficult, or even intimidating. That’s why it’s important to be realistic, and not expect the process to be perfect all the time. Striving towards anything is difficult, and that includes attempting to reach a state of health or wellness.
Nevertheless, we encourage you to focus inwards on your spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being when you are attempting to reach a state of health. You also can’t neglect environmental factors or your lifestyle choices.
At Cosmos Vita, we know how important it is to take steps towards health and wellness. And that’s why we’re here for you, every step of the way. This is a life-long journey, and we’re excited for you to see how your relationship to health and wellness grows and evolves.