Defining Wellness: Concepts

Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. This definition has been used over time to describe the condition of health and its importance to people. However, health has different meanings for different people. Some consider health to be the absence of sickness and disease. Some others define health as complete and total wellness with respect to body, mind and spirit.


In the definition given earlier, sickness was considered as a part of the definition of health. When there is sickness, it would mean that the person’s physical and mental condition is not at its normal state. Other people would also view complete and total wellness as meaning absence of disease, pain, and suffering. Thus, a healthy definition of health would then mean having an absence of sicknesses, pain, disease, and suffering.

Good health is viewed as complete when it is accompanied by complete bodily, emotional, psychological and social well being. There are four components of good health: physical condition, psychological condition, social condition, and environmental factors. A state of good health can be maintained through proper diet and exercise, safe and clean environments, and good hygiene. The four components are interrelated and cannot be solely achieved through one single means.

A state of good health is achieved through prevention or control of disease. This is done by keeping away from diseases, which may potentially cause illness, such as diseases caused by microorganisms, chemicals, radiation, and other environmental factors. Preventing illnesses and preventing the presence of risk factors would reduce the occurrence and severity of health conditions. Risk factors may include age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, lifestyle, habits, and other factors. A healthy state of any of the four components described above would be considered to be healthy.

Socioeconomic status has been found to play an important role in the overall health of an individual. A poor economic status, on the other hand, may be manifested as poor health. The difference between rich and poor is usually the presence or absence of a good health system. Poor health is manifested through absence of clean environments, exposure to toxins and other environmental risks, lack of exercise, and low socioeconomic status.

A state of overall health implies that the body is functioning normally. It is also necessary for the body to be able to cope with stress and to recover from injuries. Illness often causes stress and can impede recovery, making one fall behind on work or school. A healthy mind and body work hand in hand to promote wellness and contribute to the overall well-being of a person. An individual who considers him/herself to be well-being can use the concept of well-being to set goals, evaluate current health, plan services, and prepare for additional challenges ahead. When an individual understands what it means to have a good health, the choices he/she makes regarding his/her health and well-being will be more informed and educated, resulting in a better quality of life.