Health vs Wellness: Ways To Live Happy

Health and wellness are tied together, just like peanut butter and jelly. Both are essential to taking care of yourself, not only from a self care perspective but in a holistic way as well. 

While there are differences between the two concepts, both are a way for everyone to learn ways to be happier and more satisfied with their lives. 

Understanding how best to focus on each concept can help you learn to better take care of every aspect of what makes you the person that you are… a unique, amazing individual worthy of love and self care.

Health

Health, for a long time, was generally described as being the “absence” of disease. 

However, the definition has changed over the years to include mental health as well. The World Health Organization (more commonly known as the WHO) officially now defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Health focuses on diseases, illnesses, and genetics. Essentially health, both physical and mental, refers to things that can be diagnosed and treated. In some cases, health is what happens to you and not necessarily anything that you have control over. 

Health is also something that is often managed by a doctor, although what you do also plays a major factor in your overall health and well-being. 

Tips to Improve Your Health

When we look to make changes to improve our health, it may be confusing where to start. Many of us actively cut ourselves off from how our body feels, so it may be difficult to figure out how we really feel. 

Here are just a few general tips that anyone can do to improve their overall health, in addition to going to the doctor when you’re not feeling well.

  • Work on enjoying de-stressing - Doctors suggest regular exercise and meditation to help manage stress. But, regardless, de-stressing should include things that you actually enjoy so that you want to actually do them. This can be things like reading a book, listening to music, or playing with your dog. Anything you can do to reduce your stress level will also make you more physically healthy. 
  • Try to eat less salt - Most of the foods in the American diet are full of sodium. Unfortunately, while they can be tasty, salt can also lead to an increase in the risk of high blood pressure. Instead of salting your food, try flavoring it with garlic, lemon or lime juice, herbs, or red pepper flakes.
  • Get more sleep - With so much to do, it can be tempting to stay up late trying to get it done. However, adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night to function at their optimal level. Overtime, not getting enough sleep can create an increased risk of a stroke or a heart attack. 
  • Grab a glass of red wine - For those who enjoy a glass of wine every once in a while, switching to red wine can be a healthier choice. Red wine is full of antioxidants that have the potential to protect against anxiety, depression, heart disease, and even colon cancer. Enjoying one in moderation can be beneficial, but don’t over-indulge. 
  • Watch your posture - Try to focus on your posture at least a few times a day. Sit up straighter, relax your jaw and your shoulders, and uncross your legs. Paying attention to your posture, and the ergonomics of your environment, can help you reduce the risk of one of the most common types of pain that people complain of… back pain.
  • Pay attention to your weight - While everyone’s weight is different, paying attention to it and being aware of what is healthy for you is important to your overall health. Keeping your weight in a healthy range can lower your risk of pelvic floor disorders, stroke, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer.
  • Monitor your diet - Making an entire diet overhaul isn’t always the best way to go. Changing too many things at once can increase the risk that you won’t stick with it and will quickly fall back into old, unhealthier patterns of eating. Making small changes, like switching out white bread for whole wheat, using healthier meats like turkey instead of beef, and drinking less soda can all make a big difference.

Wellness

Wellness, on the other hand, encompasses the concept of health. However, instead of a state of being like health is, wellness is an active concept. Wellness refers to focusing on living a healthy lifestyle to achieve your full potential. The World Health Organization defines wellness as “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.”

Wellness is the balance between multiple “dimensions.” There are eight of them altogether - emotional, physical, spiritual, social, intellectual, occupational, environmental, and financial. No one dimension is more important than another, but they will likely never be “equally” balanced either. 

Tips To Improve Your Wellness

Because wellness is divided into eight different dimensions, we’ll focus on tips for each separately.

Emotional wellness: Accept your feelings, don’t run from them. Develop more awareness of how you feel and deal with it head on instead of trying to suppress things. Learn how to separate your emotions from what is going on around you, to give yourself some distance before you respond. Accept and honor your mistakes, and learn from them. Light an energy-soothing candle and take a quiet bath and some time to yourself.

Physical wellness: In addition to the ways we discussed above about improving your health, focusing on adding more exercise to your life is a great way to help improve your physical wellness. Try going for a walk or a swim, or try a new exercise class that you think you might enjoy. Challenge yourself. Focusing on physical wellness can also include starting a new skincare routine, like using essential oil with a new face roller.

Spiritual wellness: Try some spiritual reflection. Spend time in meditation or prayer, whichever you believe. Attend church services, or attend services at a new church if you haven’t established at one. If a walk through nature is your church service, that’s okay, too -- just make sure you make time for it and look for deeper meanings in what you’re going through or the situations you’re facing.  

Social wellness: Figure out who your core group of trusted people are and spend more time with them. Take time for yourself when you need it. Develop quality communication skills and use them. Volunteer more. Make new connections with people, especially those who share your beliefs and values.

Intellectual wellness: Go back to school or take a class in something you’re interested in. Teach yourself a new skill or hobby. Read a book for fun. Learn a foreign language. Have long, intellectual discussions with your friends. Do a daily crossword puzzle.

Occupational wellness: Make sure that you are working at a job that supports you and that you feel like you are giving back to the world doing. Form bonds with your coworkers. Look for opportunities that you can share your specific talents and skills with your job. 

Environmental wellness: Spend more time outside in nature. Be aware of how you treat the environment. Make sure you recycle as much as possible. Snip your six-pack rings before recycling them. Cancel all of your junk mail. Bike more and drive less.

Financial wellness: Balance your checkbook more often. Set financial goals and then work to achieve them. Save money more often, spend less on things that you don’t know. Be honest with yourself about your finances and what you can do better. Praise yourself for what you’re doing well.

Are You Truly Happy?

In addition to focusing on both your health and wellness, there are also a few questions that you can ask yourself to get a better understanding of if you are truly happy or not.

  • Do I feel like I’m giving and receiving love?
  • Do I sweat the small stuff?
  • Am I healthy?
  • What do I really want to do with my life?
  • Am I being honest with myself?
  • Am I an optimist?
  • How often do I feel angry?
  • Am I spending time doing what I love?
  • Do I perform random acts of kindness where I can?
  • Am I alive?

Each of these questions helps you get closer to the real truth of if you are happy or not, or where you can help yourself to become more happy. Truly, though, if you are alive and still breathing, you have an opportunity to mold your life into what you want it to be. 

Life is about constantly growing and changing, even though that growth can be difficult. Trust the process.

~~~

Focusing on your health, wellness, and self-care is investing in yourself. 

The better you feel, both physically and mentally, the more good you’ll able to do both for yourself and in the world. 

Every aspect of your health and wellness is important, and each plays a major part in who you are and how you interact with both yourself and the world. 

Help fix your energy and put your aura back into balance by focusing on yourself for a while. You deserve it. 

Sources:

https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution 

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/10-simple-ways-improve-your-health

https://rm.edu/about-the-university/university-news/health-wellness/the-8-dimensions-of-wellness/