Over 50 years ago, the World Health Organization defined health as being more than freedom from illness, disease, and debilitating conditions. In recent years, public health experts have identified wellness as “a sense of well-being” and “quality of life.”
Many illnesses are curable and may have only a temporary effect on health. Others, such as diabetes, are not curable but can be managed with proper eating, physical activity, and sound medical supervision. It should be noted that those possessing manageable conditions may be more at risk for other health problems, so proper management is essential. For example, unmanaged diabetes is associated with high risk for heart disease and other health problems.
Wellness is the positive component of optimal health
Death, disease, illness, and debilitating conditions are negative components that detract from optimal health. Death is the ultimate opposite of optimal health. Disease, illness, and debilitating conditions obviously detract from optimal health. Wellness has been recognized as the positive component of optimal health as evidenced by a sense of well-being reflected in optimal functioning, a good quality of life, meaningful work, and a contribution to society. Wellness allows the expansion of one’s potential to live and work effectively and to make a significant contribution to society.
Wellness reflects how one feels about life as well as one’s ability to function effectively
A positive total outlook on life is essential to wellness and each of the wellness dimensions. A “well” person is satisfied in his/her work, is spiritually fulfilled, enjoys leisure time, is physically fit, is socially involved, and has a positive emotional-mental outlook. This person is happy and fulfilled.The way one perceives each of the dimensions of wellness affects total outlook. Researchers use the term selfperceptions to describe these feelings.
Many researchers believe that self-perceptions about wellness are more important than actual ability. For example, a person who has an important job may find less meaning and job satisfaction than another person with a much less important job. Apparently, one of the important factors for a person who has achieved high-level wellness and a positive life’s outlook is the ability to reward himself/herself.