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What is Wellness

The word itself can be confusing as it's used in a variety of forums and applied toward a great many concepts, some of which only very loosely relate to individual health or well-being.

In concise terms, wellness is 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. There are two important aspects to this definition: quality of life and sense of well-being.

We all can see qualities of life that have a direct effect on our health: physical activity, nutrition, access to healthcare, etc. Those qualities that affect our sense of well-being can be harder to identify but have just as great an impact on our health: pressures at work, financial troubles, relationship difficulties, and so on. These factors produce stress and diminish our positive outlook, which in turn affect how well our bodies function.

This is critical to note, as the mental or emotional component is often overlooked while a focus on one's physical fitness or disease risk factors is more heavily emphasized. In order to achieve a state of wellness in our own lives or try to guide others to it, we must tend to the whole person while meeting them where they are. We may not all be physically fit or have healthy eating habits; we can, however, work toward advancing our own wellness state by setting achievable goals and celebrating our own accomplishments.