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What is wellness?

How do you define wellness? We continually hear this word during the news, in conversations, at work or read it in newspapers, magazines and the like. Surprisingly, there’s no definition of wellness that seems to be universally accepted. Nonetheless there is a set of general characteristics found in most good attempts at define wellness. We routinely see a references made to wellness being a “state of well-being,” which is very vague. We also routinely see wellness defined as a “state of acceptance or satisfaction with our present condition.”

shutterstock_160699214Truth be told, wellness is a very tough difficult word to define. Personally I like what
Charles B. Corbin from Arizona State University has to say. He defines wellness as a “multidimensional state of being, describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.”

Wellness is considered to be an active process of becoming aware of and learning to make choices (healthy choices) that lead toward a longer and more successful existence.

  • We use the word “process” to note that further improvement is always possible
  • We use the word “aware” to note that we are continuously seeking more knowledge about how we can improve.
  • We use the word “choices” to note that we consider many options and choose those in our best interest.


The lifestyle choices you make will and do have a huge influence on your health and your wellness. The secret isn’t in healthcare, but healthy and consistent self-care. While traditional (Western) medicine is focused on alleviating disease, the wellness approach to things encourages you to take responsibility for your own personal well-being.

  • Wellness is much more than simply an absence of illness and/or disease. Wellness is a proactive and preventative approach that’s designed to provide optimum levels of health, emotional and social functioning.
  • Wellness involves our recognition that we have psychological, physical, spiritual and social needs that are necessary for us to have higher levels of functioning.
  • Wellness emphasizes the whole individual and the understanding that everything we do, feel, think and believe has a direct impact on your state of health.


Ultimately It’s an on-going process of making deliberate choices to enhance the quality of your life, is a journey not a destination, success is achieved with each small manageable step you take to enhance your sense of well-being.
It’s a deliberate, holistic and proactive approach to achieving optimum health and not just the absence of disease.
Living well involves adopting behaviours to care for yourself physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually and vocationally.