By Samuel W. Ascioti, DC
In healthcare, certain topics or buzzwords become popular for one reason or another. Some are nothing more than fads or bold pseudoscientific claims, while others have legitimate merit. One such topic that has come to the forefront in recent years is the topic of wellness, which you may have already heard of. So, what exactly is wellness? In this month’s Article of the Month, wellness will be explored.
So, what exactly IS wellness?
According to Dictionary.com, the term “wellness” is defined as,
- the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
- an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
Many mental health providers are very familiar with the concept of wellness, and many chiropractors and other holistic providers also stress the importance of wellness. This is particularly so in the case of chiropractic, which promotes the use of natural and conservative remedies when it comes to healthcare. Many chiropractors hammer home the idea that wellness is essential for preventing illness and maintaining a high quality of life and being proactive in preventing disease rather than reacting to illness when it occurs.
The concept of wellness promotes the mixture of physical, mental, and (for some) spiritual states of well-being. However, those are just three of the core foundations for total wellness; the University of California-Riverside identifies seven different areas of wellness that require balancing.
The Seven Dimensions of Wellness (and brief explanations)
(1) Social Wellness – establishing and maintaining positive relationships with others, as well as having the ability to relate to and connect with others
(2) Emotional Wellness – understanding your emotions and dealing with stress in a positive way
(3) Spiritual Wellness – developing a set of values that guide your life and finding a balance of peace and harmony against our busy world; can include religion or relaxation techniques
(4) Environmental Wellness – having the ability to recognize your individual responsibility to maintaining clean air, water, and soil, and acting to improve and maintain your surroundings
(5) Occupational Wellness – enjoying and appreciating the positives aspects of your job; finding personal satisfaction in the organization you work with
(6) Intellectual Wellness – satisfying the desire to learn and grow, as well as satiating the desire to have new experiences while keeping an open mind
(7) Physical Wellness – maintaining a healthy quality of life by keeping the body physically active and strong while avoiding destructive habits, such as alcohol/tobacco/recreational drugs and poor nutritional choices
If all these dimensions of wellness were included in a pie chart, we would want to pie chart to be exactly equal for all seven categories.
Some of you may be very comfortable with a couple of the dimensions of wellness while lacking in others, so your personal wellness graph may not be equal across the board.
Try This: Sit in a room with the lights dimmed and breathe quietly for 5 minutes. Think about your strengths and weakness in relation to overall wellness, and identify areas you feel you need to work on to achieve balance. Afterwards, make a list of positive activities or ideas for each category, as well as the areas you feel you need to improve on.
Achieving wellness requires hard work and a generally positive outlook on life, even when life gets tough. Accepting self-responsibility for your wellness is also critical – you are the one in control of your life, and nobody else can achieve it for you.
If you have any questions about how to achieve wellness, talk to your chiropractor!
University of California, Riverside. (2014, July 7). Retrieved January 31, 2018, from https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html
Wellness. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2018, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/wellness
What is Wellness? (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2018, from https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/wellness/what-is-wellness
What is Wellness? (2017, February 11). Retrieved January 31, 2018, from https://www.globalwellnessday.org/about/what-is-wellness/