What Is Wellness?
There is a major movement in America towards the concept of ‘wellness’. Other countries have accepted this as their baseline doctrine for thousands of years. Now we in the U.S. are moving towards a better understanding of it…and how to integrate it into our lives.
But the question remains: “What is wellness”?
I don’t think ‘wellness’ is just the opposite of ‘sickness’. It is not about warding off bad things…but more about keeping in the good things. It suggests an ‘active’ process. I’ll explain…
When I was a kid, I did not go to the doctors when I was sick. My grandma and father ‘took care’ of things and quickly got me back to a good state of health, many times overnight.
And they maintained my good state of health; I was rarely ill during my upbringing.
I only went to see a doctor for shots (oh the pain) or if I broke or busted something up (like my chin) or needed something taken out (like my brother’s tonsils). This was what doctors were for…they were for the out of the ordinary ‘surprises’ that life gives you.
But somehow things have changed. People don’t seem to know how to keep themselved well anymore. And even worse, many people don’t seem to care.
They go to see doctors for ailments they could ‘fix’ themselves. Others put off seeing doctors for serious maladies that are potentially life threatening ,usually out of fear more than of concerns of expense. And yet another group continues to use the ER’s as a ‘clinic’ because they just don’t want to inconvenience themselves with waiting at the doctors office to be seen…a cost which you and I pay for because many of these folks don’t work.
I wonder whatever happened to that ‘old’ knowledge? Did it die with my grandmother ‘s and my father’s generation? How come we stayed so healthy during our upbringing and most of our lives?
It has to do with a proper foundation.
One word I never heard as a child was “wellness”. Today, it is a hot topic of discussion. Again, but what is wellness?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines wellness as,
‘the condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise and habits’.
However I tend like what was ADDED by the Webster version which indicates wellness is a choice and something which is actively pursued. Webster defines wellness as,
‘the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal’.
An actively sought goal. Novel idea.
In China, wellness is an actively sought goal. I’m told that each person has their own herbalist. If a person gets sick, they fire their herbalist and get a new one.
At the turn of the century in America, the frontline to good health resided in the home. There was no mass healthcare or hospital systems. No insurance providers. People took care of themselves, ate more vital foods, worked the land, read books for entertainment and relied on ‘folk’ medicine. In many respects they were ‘healthier’ than we are today.
Today, there is so much confusion. Everywhere you turn, someone is touting the lastest new fad, ‘one size fits all’ diet, miracle ‘natural’ cures, or ‘mine is better’ nonsense. It is harder than ever to discern what is real and what is marketing hyperbole.
Here’s one place to start: design your own wellness plan.
Where do you want to be, how do you want to feel, what goals would you want to achieve (ie. less stress, lose weight, improve fitness, balance life, relax). Then investigate the various avenues out there that are available to help you reach your goal. It’s all about balance in not one or two spheres, but in all 3 spheres. The 3 spheres influence each other.
So, here’s my working definition of wellness and one you may feel free to adopt or adjust:
“The state of being in peak physical, spiritual and mental health which is actively maintained by proper diet, positive habits and regular exercise.”
That about wraps it up.
aka Dr. J