Towards a New Definition of “Wellness”

“Wellbeing” is a term we hear banded around in the media all the time.   It always seems to be related to being on a diet, losing weight and exercise.   Is this all wellness is really about?

I believe wellness is actually a complex, dynamic, multidimensional, and multifaceted experience that involves not only physical but mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.   More often than not, dieting and intensive exercising actually subtract rather than add to wellness, by creating cycles of food restrictions, guilt, shame, and then bingeing, and then back to restrictions, resulting in weight-cycling … this and excessive exercise can wear down the body and prevent time for growth and repair of our cells and ourselves.

Modern media seems to have such a shaming effect on us, leading us to believe that we are not ‘well’, and should try harder to push ourselves to ‘get there’ (some perfect image designed to make us buy something).

I believe a more balanced, wholesome, and sustainable (without needing to be ‘perfect’) definition of wellbeing encompasses these four components:

1.) Nurturing and Caring for our Physical Selves

2.) Emotional Health: being able to cope with life’s demands and receive support in our lives when needed

3.) Healthful Sleep: waking up feeling energised, rested and refreshed most mornings

4.) Mindfulness: the ability to live in the present moment

It is much easier to sell products that target diet and exercise than it is to sell products that relate to promoting health in these four key components.   I notice that the media drives a narrow image of aesthetic beauty that doesn’t recognise the incredible depth of beauty to be found in living a life centred around cultivating health in the above four areas.

It is much less saleable, and probably much less sexy … but it is a much more deeply satisfying way of life to move in the direction of this cultivating this new definition of wellness.