An Overview of Health and Wellness
Written by Dr Arien van der Merwe (refer separate bio)
Wellness is more than the absence of disease, it’s the optimal health of body, mind and soul. Wellness comes with joy, vitality and balance. It gives us a sense of fully embodying our potential, the ability to face our life and its challenges, with grace, dignity and enthusiasm; ultimately understanding that by becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can choose for optimal health, wellbeing and abundance, to become all we’re meant to be: joyful co-creators in this world!
Wellness is a pro-active, dynamic and integrative process whereby the individual and the group become aware of the life choices and ‘response-ability’ they have and then taking the decision to make the right choices toward a life of health, happiness and optimal wellbeing. Deciding on a wellness lifestyle, would require everyone to become actively involved in his/her own health and wellbeing. By gaining more knowledge and insight into your own being, you become empowered to make the right choices to lead a healthier and more fulfilling life. It shifts the responsibility to you, to consciously become involved in your own health and happiness. Wellness is a lifelong discipline that will, in the long-term, restore individual, family and community health, leading towards the enhancement of individual, organisational and community health and wellbeing.
Life will constantly present us with opportunities to learn and grow, and each one of us has the responsibility to notice these opportunities and use them to our own, our family’s and our community’s (including our work community) benefit – this is the fountainhead of wellness. The truly well human being is a life involved being.
Integrate means to combine and assimilate into complete functional wholeness. Integrative health and wellness include all dimensions of wellness and strive toward a wholeness where on the one hand, the individual becomes integrated into all he / she can be, and on the other hand, reaching out to others at work, in community, with friends and family, all working together in an integrative, all-inclusive manner, to promote health and wellbeing.
Well-designed wellness courses will be focused on maintaining the balance and harmony of all 6 levels of human existence: physical body, mind, emotions, soul / spirit, social and occupational (including environmental) aspects. It is no longer acceptable to have diseases treated only symptomatically as a physical problem. The origin of the disease process has to be found by also looking at the soul and emotions – the areas where most diseases originate. Problems then need an holistic, integrative approach to reverse the disease process, to prevent disease and to learn to use disease as a teacher for working through the deeper levels of healing. There are various tools and techniques available to assist the body and mind in returning to peak metabolic performance level with a return to vitality and health.
Health: The absence of measurable evidence for disease, abnormality or infirmity. Refer to vertically ‘sick’, in the neutral zone in the Wellness Spectrum below. Optimal health and wellness is more than simply the absence of the symptoms and signs of disease, however.
Wellness: The fullest realisation of physical, mental-emotional and spiritual potential through attitude clarification, positive thinking, fitness to meet the needs of your lifestyle with ease, healthy eating habits and the daily practice of accessing inner peace.
Health and wellness versus disease management – the wellness spectrum
The wellness paradigm follows a systems approach where the individual person is part of smaller systems (body, organ systems, cells, molecules), as well as bigger systems (self, relationships, family, workplace, community).
The wellness process is a conscious awareness and continuous integration through learning and understanding about the health options available in order to make healthy choices.
It is the opposite of the old disease management model that waits for risks or disease to develop and then try to ‘fix’ things on a physical level only. Wellness is about health promotion, rather than disease management and health risk crisis control
The Wellness Spectrum (alsocalled the Wellness Continuum)
With a wellness approach, it doesn’t matter where you are on the wellness spectrum, you canalways adapt wellness principles and habits, changing health harming to health enhancing behaviour, to move along to optimal, or high level wellness – slowly but surely, taking small steps, doing some things right every day, until one day, you’re feeling more energetic and optimistic, then better physically, mentally and emotionally. You might experience some setbacks, but you simply get up, dust yourself off, and return to your wellness journey, the journey of a lifetime.