Defining Health and Wellness

\n\nWe’re a culture obsessed with fitness, or the lack thereof. We talk a lot about health and wellness–healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, healthy this and unhealthy that. But what does “defining health and wellness” mean, really?\n\nWe tend to see things in black and white: healthy/unhealthy, sick/well, fit/unfit. We also tend to equate physical fitness with wellness. And while being lean and fit is definitely a physically healthy place to be, you are more than your body and real wellness is more than just being physically fit.\n

Wellness and fitness aren’t necessarily the same thing

\nMany people have a rather limited concept of health. If you’re not sick or overweight, if you don’t have any chronic disease, then you’re considered healthy. If you are or you do, then you’re not. But there’s more to it than that. It’s entirely possible to be in tip-top physical shape and still not be truly well. By the same token, it’s also possible to be twenty pounds overweight and still be well on your way to good health. It’s all in the interplay between mind, body, and spirit.\n

Real wellness is multi-dimensional

\nHealth and wellness isn’t a straight line, with wellness at one end and sickness at the other; instead, real wellness is more like a yin-yang symbol, where mind and body interact and affect each other in a multitude of ways.\n\nConsider this: if you work out 3 to 5 days per week, eat right, and get enough sleep, your body is probably in peak condition. By society’s standards, you’re not just healthy, you’re incredibly fit. But what if you’re anxious or depressed? What if you’re lonely? Or isolated? Or you have low self-esteem? Then even though your body may be glowingly healthy, you’re not truly well.\n\nIf you eat by the book—low-carb, high protein, cut out the sweets and sugary drinks and eat lots of vegetables—your body will definitely benefit. But if you hate every minute of it, you may be undercutting your own wellness. For your mind and emotions to be truly well, you might need to give yourself a “cheat” day, even though this is technically “unhealthy.”\n\nWellness involves your whole being, and your state of mind is every bit as much a facet of your overall health as your heart rate or your blood pressure or your cholesterol.\n

Real health begins in your mind

\nOne of the most important aspects of real health and wellness is your mindset. If you feel well, if you intend to be well, then real health and wellness will follow. If you look at yourself in the mirror and think, “I will never lose this weight,” then you aren’t in a healthy place. If instead you look at yourself and think, “I’m beautiful just the way I am, but I can become even more beautiful,” then you’re already on the path to real health.\n\nReal wellness involves both body and mind, in harmonious balance. A healthy attitude leads to positive results, and positive results lead to a healthier attitude. It’s a positive circle that feeds on itself; your mind fuels your body, while your body fuels your mind and both benefit.