October 2, 2012

Wellness defined in terms of health care

Since I work at a wellness center, I should talk a little about wellness and what it is. 

If you do a simple Web search, you'll find several definitions that are along the lines of “the state or condition of good health." It is easy to find a definition, but how far does this get us? How do you achieve it? How “well” are you right now? These are good questions, but there really is no specific test of wellness. 

I believe the best way to describe wellness from a health-care perspective is by using one of its antonyms, which is illness. Put simply, wellness is about preventing and managing illness. There are many different forms of illness; therefore, there are many forms of wellness. Wellness centers promote wellness through exercise and proper nutrition.

Before diving into wellness, let's talk about the importance of stress. In our modern society, it is easy to perceive stress as bad and rest as good. This simple dichotomy isn’t so simple. Stress can be good as long as it is well-managed. In fact, stress is needed in order to stay healthy. Stress is what we experience when working to reach a goal. This goal could be handing in a work assignment on time, finishing a workout or going to an audition. Without stress, we cannot really experience the true feeling of accomplishment. 

Rest, on the other hand, is not always good. Too much rest can decrease our resistance to stress. This concept of balance between stress and rest is explained through what is called general adaptation syndrome. It generally states that with an optimal amount of stress, we will adapt and overcome the stress. If the stress is too little or too much, however, this will not happen.

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