Definition of Wellness

Definition of WellnessWhat is the definition of wellness? More than ever before, we hear this word in the news, on billboards, in conversation and even at work. Interestingly, there is no universally-accepted definition of wellness. There is, however, a set of common characteristics seen in most thoughtful attempts at a definition of wellness. We generally see a reference to a “state of well-being,” which is vague, to say the least. Also frequently seen is a “state of acceptance or satisfaction with our present condition.”

The truth is wellness is a tough word to define. That said, we’ll leave it to Charles B. Corbin of Arizona State University who gives this definition of wellness: “Wellness is a multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.”

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.

  • Process means that improvement is always possible
  • Aware means that we are continuously seeking more information about how we can improve.
  • Choices means that we consider a variety of options and select those in our best interest.
  • Success is determined by each individual to be their collection of life accomplishments.

Dimensions of Wellness

If wellness is multidimensional, what are the dimensions of wellness? The most commonly described sub-dimensions are the following:
Definition of Wellness as shown by the Dimensions of Wellness which are physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, vocational and environmental in nature

  1. Social Wellness
  2. Occupational Wellness
  3. Spiritual Wellness
  4. Physical Wellness
  5. Intellectual Wellness
  6. Emotional Wellness
  7. Environmental Wellness
  8. Financial Wellness
  9. Mental Wellness
  10. Medical Wellness

Vocational Wellness and Environmental Wellness are not personal in nature, but a person’s working and physical environments are factors that influence personal wellness. Research is necessary to clearly establish the relationship among the sub-dimensions.   While the exact dimensions of wellness could be debated, we believe the ones listed here make up a good list.

Ultimately, the dimensions of wellness all fall into two broader categories, being mental and physical. This is critical to note, as the mental or emotional component is often overlooked as focus on such main staples as physical fitness and chronic disease risk factors. In order to achieve a state of wellness in our own lives or try to guide others to it, we must pay due diligence to each of the dimensions. We may not all be physically fit or free from disease; we can, however, strive for increased wellness by working with what we’ve been dealt.

Articles on The Dimensions of Health and Wellness

The following articles provide additional information about the dimensions of wellness and other related topics.