1. Based on the qualities listed on page 3, who is the healthiest person you know and what are some of the qualities you immediately notice about them? 2. Further, what is one area of wellness you thrive in and one area you would like to personally improve on to achieve a better quality of life? WHAT IS WELLNESS, ANYWAY? INTRODUCTION: Wellness is a term with many applications and definitions. Like any other concept, it can be employed by anyone to mean whatever he/she wants it to represent. The term started out (in the mid-1950’s) as one thing and evolved, was adapted and reshaped to serve varied agendas and co-opted by multiple, disparate interests. As a result, wellness today is an amorphous word that means a little of everything and a lot of nothing at all. Fortunately, all uses of the term are still positive, though many are deceptive, erroneous, exploitative and ridiculous. This is particularly so those of us who tried to promote wellness as a specific, unique set of ideas different from anything that existed decades ago. On the bright side, it could be said that the term is still positive, despite the mangled forms to which it has been employed. That is, I have yet to encounter the term used perjoratively to put someone down (e.g., “You sniveling piece of wellness”). The research suggests that the “wellest of the well” possessed the following qualities, to an uncommon degree: high self-esteem and a positive outlook a foundation philosophy and a sense of purpose a strong sense of personal responsibility a good sense of humor and plenty of fun in life a concern for others and a respect for the environment a conscious commitment to personal excellence a sense of balance and an integrated lifestyle freedom from addictive behaviors of a negative or health-inhibiting nature a capacity to cope with whatever life presents and to continue to learn grounded in reality highly conditioned and physically fit a capacity to love and an ability to nurture a capacity to manage life demands and communicate effectively. How are you doing in these areas, and what will it take to do more in some of them that might invite further attention? TEN SUGGESTIONS: To conclude this summary of wellness, consider ten suggestions. I wrote them to summarize the nature of wellness and increase the chances that you will embrace it. Advice can come from many sources but ultimately you must make the unique decisions for designing and maintaining quality for your health, leisure and wellness choices. It is very difficult to be well and focused on excellence in lifestyle if you can’t express your talents and passions in some manner. Coming to terms with the fact that change is inevitable and happening at a faster pace than ever before will enable you to deal more effectively with its manifestations. Your lifestyle choices, including your attitudes/beliefs/emotional responses and actions, will have a far greater impact on your health, work and wellness performance than any and all doctors who do or could serve you, the economy, the environment, your income level, your age, your retirement plan or your luck. Wellness is too important to be pursued grimly. Whatever your choices, make sure you’re having fun. Modern medicine’s a wonderful thing but there are two problems: people expect too much of it and too little of themselves.
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