Difference Between Wellness and Well-Being initiatives

Since I get asked this a lot, I thought I’d suit up and show up and share a few thoughts. Especially since I’m home with a cold, taking care of myself, and doing my best to keep up my own Wellness and Well-Being practices.

Wellness and Well-being are not the same thing. Well, sort of.  Where Wellness programs primarily focus on physical health, Well-Being initiatives refer to a larger, whole-life, holistic, and more complete human experience.

The origins of the concept of “Wellness” (meaning the opposite of illness) dates back to ancient traditions of healing but became part of a modern movement in the 1950’s and a familiar word, and industry, in the 1970’s.  A work, called High Level Wellness, published in 1961, by Doctor Halbert Dunn was embraced by a well connected and respected medically based community and began to gather momentum. The Wellness Industry, today, is over a $3.7 trillion market (https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/press-room/statistics-and-facts/) that includes beauty, anti-aging, wellness tourism, healthy eating, nutrition, weight loss, fitness, preventive medicine, alternative medicine, real estate, and workplace wellness and more. It is primarily driven by a medical model and focuses on disease and its management or prevention.

Well-Being, does not limit itself to the physical (health, fitness, nutrition, disease prevention) aspect of self-care. For example, Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, an Ivy League school, suggests Well-being can include intellectual, emotional, physical, social, spiritual, environmental, and financial attributes. (https://students.dartmouth.edu/wellness-center/wellness-mindfulness/roots-wellness) Well-being is also starting to become a booming industry as it expands its scope.

Gallup, the well-respected organization that delivers “analytics and advice to help leaders and organization solve their most pressing problems with a global reach” promotes Five essential elements for Well-being: Career Well-being, Social Well-being, Financial Well-being, Physical Well-being and Community Well-being. (https://www.gallup.com/press/176624/wellbeing-five-essential-elements.aspx)

Self Care is an essential part of Resiliency and putting on your own oxygen mask first!  Whether your health care provider, or company, or someone else provides wellness, or well-being information, it is to your benefit to make use of as much info as you can gather and then actually apply to your life on a regular basis. Be a good consumer, and find the best practices for you! The ones you’ll actually use! Do what you can, but do something. Every little bit of self-care helps evolve your resiliency.

Aloha for now and in terms of self-care, time for a cuppa tea and maybe a nap or an old movie on TV.

Dr. Vali

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