Wellness & Lifestyle
Wellness is a process of support, training and encourage others in the pursuit of well-being in all dimensions of a person’s life, including Social, Physical, Emotional, Occupational, Intellectual, Environmental and Spiritual. Personal health behavior is significant, as individuals are encouraged to adopt and maintain positive lifestyles through a variety of awareness, educational and motivational strategies. The program incorporates the Dimensions of Wellness philosophy as endorsed by the National Wellness Institute.
Students prepare to facilitate wellness programs that address the overall well-being of individuals and groups. This program also emphasizes the management of health promotion and wellness interventions, preparing students with the administrative and business skills they need to successfully implement wellness programs.
The Rowan undergraduate Health Promotion and Wellness Management (HPWM) program is nationally-accredited by the National Wellness Institute. It was one of the first programs awarded the Distinguished Undergraduate Program Award by the National Wellness Institute. At this time, there is not an opportunity for graduate programs in wellness to become nationally-accredited. Should the opportunity become available, the M.A. in Wellness and Lifestyle Management program would seek accreditation.
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It is clearly a common concept that is often mentioned in the context of health. Although wellness is a multifaceted active process that culminates in a more successful and fulfilling life, health in itself is a state well-being that incorporates physical, mental and social factors. This topic discusses wellness as it relates to health.
What is Wellness?
The National Institute of Wellness considers wellness to be “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence”. This definition allows a better understanding of wellness, using the following tenets:
- wellbeing is an active process, it is a conscious, self-directed and continuous process of achieving full potentials as individuals.
- it is directed towards a positive and affirming life
- healthy lifestyle takes into account multiple components, which involves lifestyle, spiritual well-being, mental wellbeing, and the environment.
The World Health Organization defines wellness as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”. According to the WHO, wellness has two cardinal concerns, which are the achievement of individuals’ fullest potentials physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and carrying out individuals’ expectation in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other settings.
Health v/s Wellness
Wellbeing is often used interchangeably as wellness, yet, the two concepts have clearly different origins. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This definition of health proposes health as not only being the absence of disease, but encompassing a wider scope of the medical perspective of health. Going further, health has its determinants, which consist of social, physical and economical environments, as well as individual characteristics and behavior.
The achievement of stability and enhancement of health goes beyond a requirement of the environmental factors mentioned earlier or even the systems of care, it requires a combination of best lifestyle choices. It is at this point that we begin to see the overlap between wellness and health.
Dimensions of Wellness
As the understanding of wellness began to shift from programs and circumstances that help to alleviate illnesses or increase health risks, wellness dimensions have been brought to limelight and wellness is being related to quality of life and life satisfaction. It is believed that an improvement in one component of wellness may go on to positively affect the whole person. The following are the dimensions of wellness:
This dimension is concerned with cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, and so on are involved. Activities that may be carried out to improve physical health involve exercise regimens, diet, close observation of health indices including stressors. It also includes health promotion behaviors and avoiding harmful health behaviors.
This is associated with attitudes and believes about self and life. When a self-view is positive, actions, relationships and autonomy are well influenced. Alternatively, when an individual does not feel in control of their lives, stress results causing a negative impact on wellness.
In terms of social wellness, the interaction of the individual with other people, the community and nature is considered. A report of the World Health Organization stated that ‘being included in the society in which one lives is vital to the material, psychosocial, and political empowerment that underpins social wellbeing and equitable health’.
This component of wellness refers to the knowledge acquisition and intellectual activity. When knowledge is acquired, it can be shared and used in developing one’s potentials to improve personal growth and make the society better. A sound intellectual functioning helps to improve an individual’s wellbeing on the overall, influencing behavior especially for transforming negative health habits into positive ones.
There is a continual process of finding meaning and purpose in life which contributes to wellness. This component of wellness may be found alone or within a community.
This is concerned with being able to gain personal fulfilment and satisfaction from paid or non-paid jobs. It encompasses one’s ability to handle multiple roles and being able to supply skills to meet community’s needs.
The environment is made up of individuals’ homes, communities, work and nature. Environmental wellness is concerned with the interaction of an individual with the environment on local and global levels.
This helps with the assessment of institutional and public policies in order to make them more sensitive to inequalities in the population which can affect the wellness of individuals.
This dimension has a subjective impact on wellness. This is seen as individuals living in democratic and individualistic settings with freedoms of choice and individual needs have higher levels of subjective wellbeing than individuals who live in authoritarian and collectivistic cultures.
This is an emerging dimension of wellness. It assesses the connection between climatic changes and human well-being. It is a new area of research which tends to study the consequences of climate and ecosystem changes on the wellness of individuals.
Wellness is an active lifestyle that incorporates several components that affect health (physical, mental and social wellbeing) on a holistic level. These factors are continuously in play to contribute to an individual’s overall state of health and therefore should be understood and properly addressed.