The term “wellness” is popping up all over in today’s society. Found everywhere from popular blogs to medical center websites, the word carries a hazy definition for many. The exact meaning of wellness and its difference from other terms, like “health” and “medicine” does not seem to be well-understood by the general public.
Wellness has a variety of definitions depending on how narrowly or broadly the concept is viewed. To be quite specific, wellness is the state of being healthy, as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary. However, the word can also be used more nebulously – as a qualifier indicating not only health but also success, happiness, contentment, and even spiritual peace.
Whatever exact definition is used, wellness always has a connotation of activity. In other words, wellness is pursued. It is not a passive state. One can be healthy by simply being free of disease or injury, but wellness requires active effort.
The concept of wellness is much broader than health, which means only mental and physical soundness. Wellness is also more encompassing than medicine, which is “the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Implications of Wellness on Modern Life
Wellness has huge implications for modern life. When boiled down, this is due to one simple reason – happiness. When people are living in a state of wellness, they are happy. Their needs – physical, emotional, and spiritual – are being met, and they are enjoying a good quality of life. More and more, individuals are taking the means to achieve wellness into their own hands in order to lead fulfilling, happy lives.
One method of pursuing wellness is improving one’s surroundings. This means caring for the environment, striving to reduce crime, and even pursuing social justice. In fact, the authors of a 2008 article in Governing go so far as to consider improving these factors, along with socioeconomic status, as part of healthcare.
Another implication of the newfound focus on wellness on modern life is self-improvement. Beyond the obvious and important considerations of diet and exercise are interests like spirituality, mindfulness, gratitude, and alternative preventative health measures, especially vitamins and supplements.
Many of these mental and spiritual self-improvement measures are aimed at reducing stress, a problem that is a growing concern in a number of nations. For instance, the American Psychological Association recently reported a statistically significant increase in stress levels of Americans. The amount of stress is worse for those who live in urban areas or are members of minority racial and ethnic groups.
Furthermore, research out of Tel Aviv University indicates that some individuals may have more trouble recovering from stressful occurrences than others. In a study of 49 young males, approximately 40% had difficulty recovering 20 minutes after a stressful event. Researchers believe this was due to differences in brain physiology. One of Osheya’s main goals is to push for women’s representation in such studies so they represent at least 50% of the test population.
Emerging Wellness Opportunities
Due to the increased interest in wellness, a host of new wellness opportunities have emerged. Among these are many legitimate offerings like guided meditation, dietary supplements, and better exercise methods from medical practitioners, allied health professionals, and other experts. In this stress-filled modern world with more than its share of problems, ranging from environmental disasters to war, the movement towards wellness seems to hold promise for a better future and more happiness among individuals.