Wellness is often thought to be a state of being in which illness is absent. In such a simple definition, it could be implied that if a person is not sick, diseased, or injured, they are well. When it comes to a person’s mental well-being, however, the idea of wellness is much more complex. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was possibly one of the first people to write about wellness, his goal being to define good health in which one seeks for “nothing in excess.” Aristotle’s definition could imply that a state of wellness can be achieved through a balanced mental state and a balanced way of life. This definition indicates that to be our best selves, and live authentically and fully, we must strive to achieve a higher state of wellness, not merely be free of illness.
Although wellness is a fairly abstract concept, it was put into a more tangible visual in the ‘Wheel of Wellness’ originally developed by Bill Hettler. The idea of the wheel is that all aspects of wellness are interconnected, and when one or more ‘spokes’ are not functioning properly, the entire wheel suffers and will not turn as effectively. The original wheel had twelve spokes representing the life tasks of sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self-care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity. It has since been adapted and modified, and the most common ones seen today have 8 ‘spokes’ representing emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social wellness. Changes in any one area can contribute to or create changes in other areas, for better or for worse. Each choice made to improve wellness enhances life satisfaction by improving overall well-being.
The optimal state of wellness will look different for each individual and a fulfilling balance of the mind, body, and spirit can vary greatly depending on the wants and needs of a given person. When we look at our own mental health, it can be important to remember that all aspects of our lives are interconnected. Our physical wellness, such as getting proper nutrition, hydration, and exercise, can have a great impact on our emotional and intellectual wellness. The wheel can be a helpful visual representation to remind ourselves that no aspect of our lives exists independently of the others, and in finding balance, we will have the greatest chance of reaching our optimal state of wellness.
Would you like to speak to someone in person, call (850) 757-1552. Our team of professional therapists are dedicated to their clients’ care and services Fort Walton, Niceville, and surrounding communities. Schedule an appointment today at New Heights Counseling.