How Do You Define Wellness?

January 03, 2018


When most people think of the word “wellness,” they typically only think of one aspect of the word itself: physical health. While wellness does have to do with the health of your body, according to the National Wellness Institute (NWI), the concept is much broader. They define it as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”



According to the NWI, there are actually six main facets that make up your wellness as whole: Emotional. Occupational. Physical. Social. Intellectual. Spiritual.


These are the six factors that determine your overall functionality and welfare. They’re all interconnected and work in tandem with each other and the other pieces of your life.


So how do you go about maximizing your wellness? Start by positively affirming each of these six factors in your life, and avoid engaging in behavior that could be destructive. The ideal balance of wellness is different for every person, so it’s important to explore what each factor means for you.


There are some basics to each of these that everyone can follow. For your emotional health, make sure to be kind to yourself. This is often the hardest one to accomplish, since we tend to be harder on ourselves than we are to others. Learn that it’s okay to express your feelings in a healthy way and remember that you are constantly growing as a person, and that’s okay to make mistakes, too.

For occupational health, make sure there’s a healthy balance between your life on the job and away from it. Find what goals you want to reach in your career, and take the steps necessary to achieve them. Also be aware of that there really are such things as toxic workplaces – environments that are simply not conducive to good mental or physical health, and you owe it to yourself to avoid or escape such environments whenever possible. 


Physical health is the most self-explanatory. Make sure that you’re physically active, that you’re eating well, and that you limit or stop use of tobacco, alcohol, and other harmful substances in the body. This is all about keeping your body in the best shape it can be so you can be the best version of yourself.


Social health deals with relationships, and encourages you to interact in positive ways with those around you. Be sure to reach out for help when you need it and have a support system of friends or family around you that you can lean on.


Your intellectual health is the use of your knowledge and your creative efforts that you share with others. Every time you experience something new culturally, take steps to broaden your mind or challenge yourself with problem-solving, you are activating your intellectual wellness and improving your productivity.

Lastly, your spiritual health deals with you understanding your place in the world and your purpose for existence. Some may find this in religion, while others may find this in being more mindful of your life choices and more self-aware. Whichever path you choose, try your best to approach it in a positive way.

While each one of these factors will be different for each person and working on them can take time and effort, think of small ways you can make changes right now that will begin to move you towards greater wellness. Give real thought to ways that you can be happier and healthier in your day-to-day routine, and the benefits will become apparent very quickly

To learn more about how you can live a healthy lifestyle, visit