Doesn’t it happen to you that sometimes you’re wrong? It is not very clear why; if for something, or for everything. The concept of “wellness” offers you a comprehensive look at physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Although the dictionary allows us to translate it as “well-being”, in recent years the term wellness has been used to indicate the active process of making conscious decisions to achieve a healthy and fulfilling life. This well-being does not simply consist of avoiding illness, but of initiating a dynamic process of change and physical, mental and affective growth, both at an individual and collective level.
Unlike some movements exclusively focused on the body (such as fitness) or the mind (such as meditation), wellness proposes a combination of these aspects from an integrative, holistic perspective.
Dr. Bill Hettler of the National Wellness Institute offers a model of six dimensions of wellness that interconnect and modify each other:
- Occupational well-being
This dimension considers work as a place of fulfillment and personal enrichment, fundamentally depending on our own attitude towards our work. In general terms, occupational well-being will depend on: a) choosing a career, profession or trade that is consistent with our personal tastes and values and b) developing transversal and transferable skills in the commitment to our work instead of taking a distance and doing the minimum indispensable.
- Physical well-being
This includes the need for regular physical activity, as well as healthy eating and nutritional habits. It is important, in this regard, to develop a sensitivity to listen to one’s own body and respond gradually and comprehensively. Physical well-being is based on the pillars of a healthy and balanced diet and physical activity appropriate for each person’s age and body.
- Social well-being
Instead of considering the individual as a passive being in the face of the circumstances in which they live, the wellness school encourages the action and contribution of each one to the environment and to the community itself.
From this perspective, solidarity and commitment to others are an integral part of one’s own well-being; conversely, selfishness produces the opposite effect to that intended, making the person feel worse because of their own alienation from others.
- Intellectual well-being
Mental activity of a certain level of complexity and difficulty allows people to explore our abilities and expand our limits. Problem solving, creativity and learning are part of that comprehensive well-being process that is not satisfied with routine and unstimulating tasks, but rather sees intellectual activity as a complement to physical activity, almost gymnastics for the brain.
- Spiritual well-being
Without identifying itself with a certain religion, the wellness movement believes in the need to identify meaning and purpose in human existence. In short, it proposes to integrate all aspects of human existence in a global view of the world, our experience and beliefs that does not seek to impose itself on others, but to live with others in respect for diversity without giving up our own convictions.
- Emotional well-being
The last dimension of wellness refers to recognizing and accepting one’s own emotions and feelings, including managing frustration and stress, but also their expression. In short, commitment, trust and respect for others are based on having the same attitude towards oneself, without denying or hiding one’s own emotions, adopting an optimistic attitude towards life.
The wellness movement
Its critics brand the wellness movement as a new age substitute for religion or some vulgar psychology. For them, it is a conservative and individualist movement that seeks to make sense of a life of superfluous consumption and excessive limitations on individual freedoms, especially in the middle and upper sectors of developed countries.
In any case, human beings have always had a need to be well that cannot be satisfied in a purely physical or purely mental way, exclusively collectively or only individually. Thinking of our well-being as something more than the mere absence of discomfort is a good first step in that direction.