The Relationship Between Health and Wellness
When people think of health and wellness, they often combine and use them interchangeably. However, the two concepts are quite variable, though you cannot really have one without the other. Here are some reasons why, but first, we will outline what each they stand for.
What Is Health and Wellness?
Defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), health is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Furthermore, the primary determinants of health include social, economic, and physical environments, along with the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors.
The WHO further defines wellness as "the optimal state of health individuals and groups" and is also expressed as "a positive approach to living." And according to Merriam-Webster, wellness is "the quality of state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal."
Cohesively, wellness is an active, unique, and dynamic process of change and growth to reach one’s fullest potential and is comprised of eight different components, including emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual wellness.
According to these definitions, wellness has a direct influence on your overall health, which is essential if you are trying to live a better life.
Health Versus Wellness
When it comes down to health versus wellness, and while they certainly are distinctive concepts, you cannot truly have one without the other if both healthiness and happiness are top priorities. The primary difference between health and wellness is that health is the goal and wellness is the active process of achieving it.
Most people think that achieving a set number on the scale means they are healthy, you cannot have health without first achieving wellness. And above all else, make sure you are choosing health for the right reasons and seriously think about how the experience will change your life.
So before setting your own goals for health, ask what you really want out of your new transformation. Why are you losing weight? Are you doing it for yourself or are you trying to please others? Is this a short-term or long-term goal?
Knowing what you truly want from health and wellness can help drive a personal plan that works best for you.
Tips to Improve Both Health and Wellness
While you can make a target weight loss and health goal, sustainability relies on actively improving within the different components of wellness. These tips can help achieve just that on an ongoing basis:
1. Eat Whole Foods
While diet tends to be primarily viewed to impact physical condition, food has a renowned impact on mental health, including boosting memory and improving mood.
A natural way to ensure adequate nutrients is by consuming whole foods rather than boxed and processed products. Comprise the diet of whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources.
But equally as important, allow yourself to indulge on that birthday cake and cheers with champagne on special occasions.
Exercise stimulates a healthy mind and body and the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.
But you can also break away from the monotony of a structured workout regimen, as the highest importance is dismissing a sedentary lifestyle. Increase activity in your day by walking the dog, hiking with friends, and taking the steps over an elevator.
Walking and biking whenever possible not only emboldens both physical and mental health, but supports environmental wellness by reducing fuel emission. (And not to mention, saving on gas money!)
3. Embrace Mental Exercises, Too
Most people do not consider mental exercises when they are trying to get fit physically, but these types of activities can actually help you achieve your goals more sufficiently and boost brain power!
Tackling daily brain exercises helps support intellectual wellness, while practicing yoga or other combinations of mental and physical activities can help promote a better attitude towards weight loss.
Sleep is important for your mood and body, along with strengthening memory and the ability to concentrate day-in and day-out.
Take short naps throughout the day as a needed and get a full night’s rest on a regular basis. If struggling to achieve the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, create a bedtime routine by staying consistent with bedtimes, powering down from electronics, evaluating your room environment, and practicing relaxation techniques.
5. Take a Day of Rest
Along with achieving adequate sleep on a nightly basis, allow yourself days of rest and recovery.
Make sure to take one day out of the week to do something spontaneous or plan out a weekend trip you can look forward to, as doing so makes make the whole "dieting" process more enjoyable. (And life should be enjoyed!)
Even if you cannot get away every weekend, make sure you do small things that you love on your day off. This could be something as simple as going for a leisurely stroll, going for a walk in the park, or spending an evening on the couch will not sabotage your plans.
6. Enjoy the Journey
While you can make a target weight loss and health goal, sustainability relies on actively going through the different components on wellness. And rather than feeling overwhelmed, embrace the journey and enjoy the process of achieving personal fulfillment and wellness!