Dr Susannah Ward
Did you know that like the term ‘health’, ‘wellness’ has an ambiguous medical definition without a universally accepted meaning?
However, most health professionals use the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definitions of both health and wellbeing (1). They say that ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ and that ‘Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’
Wellbeing and wellness seem to be used interchangeably and there is no WHO definition of wellness. So if wellness was to be seen as the same as wellbeing, then one could define wellness as a state where an individual realises their full potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
Notice how this definition omits anything to do with disease, age or impairment? Rather, it implies that a person’s self-awareness, resilience, self-care and behaviour is what determines a sense of wellness/wellbeing. I wholeheartedly agree with this concept and strongly believe that a sense of wellbeing can be achieved despite physical, mental or environmental adversity.
So then, how do we attain this illusive sense of wellness? The essential elements of this state are acceptance of the unchangeable (such as your humanness), development of self-mastery, self-compassion and awareness of one’s life meaning and purpose. There are powerful tools and practices you can incorporate into your everyday life that breed these skills and insights.
Sound interesting? Join us Sunday 9th July 2017, for A Soulful Sunday, a 1 day winter urban retreat where you will indulge in some of these special wellness tools. Not only will you leave feeling relaxed but you will also take home with you some wellness skills worth gold.
1) World Health Organisation, Mental health: a state of well-being, August 2014, http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/ (accessed 30/4/17).