By Mandy Kester
What Does it Mean to be Well or Healthy?
It would seem that well-being or wellness are the latest buzzwords when it comes to talking about our health and lifestyle. Such terms refer to a general reference for the positive condition of an individual or group.
However, well-being and wellness are not the same thing. Well-being refers to a more holistic whole-of-life experience, whereas wellness refers just to physical health. This can also be applied to different areas of life, such as general health, psychological and emotional aspects. According to Naci and Ioannidis, wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental, and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It primarily includes lifestyle choices and activities aimed at achieving our physical pinnacle, mental alertness, social integration and a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction tied to personal fulfillment. A large part of achieving and reaching a positive sense of well-being is the pursuit of happiness and being happy. How do you obtain such a lofty goal? Easier said than done we know but, it is possible.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Everyone wants to be happy and yet very few people are truly happy. Why is that? What does happiness entail? According to psychologist Martin Seligman, the proponent of Positive Psychology, happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Rather, real, lasting and meaningful happiness results from focusing on your own strengths and not on your weaknesses. By doing so, you will improve all aspects of your own life. Again, easier said than done.
Achieving happiness can also be as easy as trying or learning a new thing. For example, a new hobby, learning a foreign language, trying an exotic food, traveling, etc. You get the picture.
Happiness is always tied to health. It is interchangeable. If you are unhealthy, you will likely be unhappy. So, it makes sense that working on your health is key to achieving real, lasting and meaningful happiness.
Health and Well-being
We all have a different understanding and notion of what health is. Health means a lot of things. It could mean being able to walk a mile, not to feel aches and pains, to feel energized. In short, the list is endless. The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. Our health is affected by many factors such as the environment, the existence or absence of a support network (like family or friends), where we live (city vs. countryside), our finances or lack of them, as well as, our lifestyle. Some of our lifestyle choices can lead to good or bad physical health.
Some of these may include but are not limited to:
* Level of activity/exercise we choose (ranging from light walking to hardcore aerobics or bodybuilding)
* Diet (whether it is balanced full of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and carbs or full of junk food)
* Sleep (not only the amount but the quality is important)
* Alcohol consumption (this pertains to the quantity and frequency and whether or not it is abused)
* Smoking (this should be avoided as much as possible)
* Knowledge (being informed is crucial in today’s health conscious world. Sites like Reviewy are full of comprehensive health articles and reviews)
So, how do you achieve well-being? Is it via achieving happiness? Through being healthy? Or all of the above? The combination and method is up to you. The important thing to remember is that you need to work from within to better yourself and your outlook on life. Everything else will fall into place.