Understanding the Concept of Wellness
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an overall state of total health that affects a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being”. Different definitions have been applied over time. An emotional state of health has its own inherent complexities because we tend to think that happiness means well-being. However, happiness and well-being depend on how we perceive and respond to events in our lives. Health is not necessarily only a physical state but it is also a mental and emotional state.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines good health as “the state of being well adjusted to ones environment”. It is contrasted with unhealthy environments which are characterized by poor health. A healthy environment may not always be perfect. For instance, a person who works in an office where his or her health is at risk because of the working hours, poor diets, and other work related stress can be said to be in poor health. However, he or she would not be categorized as suffering from a disease as such because he or she maintains a good health and has a reasonable level of work related stress.
Wellness is an essential component of public health. The philosophy of wellness that pervades modern civilization suggests that people should strive to become their best possible selves through both physical and mental activities. In other words, they should strive for excellence in their lives. Excellence in this case does not refer to becoming a superman, rather it refers to their optimum performance in their life endeavors including their personal, professional, family and social lives.
The concept of well-being has many interrelated concepts. There is also the idea of achieving well-being which is achieved by the promotion of physical health as well as mental health. This idea was first described in the framework of psychology by the eminent philosopher Kurt Goldstein.
The definition of this concept has since then been extended to include the concepts of impairment, marginalization and disability. It has also been defined as the ability to cope with challenges in everyday life that may arise irrespective of the person’s physical capabilities. Wellness is also defined as the ability to achieve or maintain an appropriate balance between the two domains of health namely physical and mental health. This is necessary for healthy functioning of the mind and body that are required for optimum productivity and progress in everyday life.
The promotion of a healthy lifestyle is also a very important component of the definition of well being. It is necessary for the elimination of all health-related risks and to create a sense of responsibility towards the community that supports them. The public health services and the organizations that are part of them have a vital role in creating awareness on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and hence the need for a healthy diet and an active exercise regime. A healthy diet and an active exercise is the basis of a sound and healthy physical environment that has a sound and healthy population.