Understanding health and wellness is not an easy task. Many if not most people read reports and hear suggestions or lectures about eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and being mindful so stress and anxiety do not build up inside.
The suggestions and lectures sometimes prompt one to seek out diets, exercise, or sleep programs, however, many people fall victim to these programs and continue making the same unhealthy choices and following self-defeating habits. With all the literature, social media access, and programs available to improve one’s lifestyle – why is it so difficult to live a healthy life?
Defining Health and Wellness
Healthy people will tell you they feel pretty good, haven’t had a cold, and don’t have any aches and pains. They say they are doing well. However, those suffering from the flu, allergies, or an injury complain about every body part, need rest, and state they want to be healthy. Health and Wellness are bigger than getting over the common cold, flu, or a few body aches now and then. They are two keywords representing lifestyle choices happening everyday. Working definitions of health and wellness illustrate how lifestyle choices affect our lives.
According to the World Health Organization (1946)’s definition:
Health is – “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO, 1946)
“The definition changed in 1984 to: Health is the extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”
Regardless of the “HEALTH” definition, the reality is in order to have a Quality of Life – actions supporting physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning are the keys to health and wellness.
Wellness – “is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” (NWI, 2004)
The National Wellness Institute and many experts in the field of wellness have developed various models to explain the dimensions of wellness. Some models describe up to 12 dimensions while all models highlight: physical, spiritual, nutrition, occupational, emotional, intellectual, and environmental as either leading dimensions or assumed under another dimension.
Living Health – Wellness
In order to live both healthy and well, the many dimensions of a person’s life must be assessed, understood, and then met with a meaningful action plan for Lifestyle Change.
Wellness affects everyone and every organization. There is no one-size fits all plan to become healthy and well, a lifestyle change requires intentional behavior change from the individual and a personal commitment to follow through on an action plan.
Wellness coaches assist each coachee in creating an action plan by assessing each person on his or her dimensions of wellness as well as the readiness, willingness, and ableness levels of the coachee and prioritize first steps to create positive change.
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