Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is Wellness?



1. Evidence of wellness revolution in popular culture;
  1.1. rapid growth of consumer interest in spas, yoga, meditation, organic foods and alternative  therapies
  1.2. wellness coaching as an emerging field
  1.3. women's magazines focus on the spa and wellness lifestyle
  1.4. wellness is commonly used in the names of health products, ranging from vitamins to pet foods

2. All too often, wellness is defined within a disease framework - reducing health risks and preventing disease

3. In other word, the approach to wellness is from the disease - focused medical paradigm and this is reflected in the ways doctors are trained, the curriculum used and the model of delivery of services

What is Wellness?- Looking at the Whole Person

1. Wellness is a choice, a decision you make to move toward optimal health
2. Wellness is a way of life, a lifestyle you design to achieve your highest potential
3. Wellness is a process, an awareness that health and happiness are possible to achieve 
4. Wellness  is a balanced channeling of energy, energy received from the environment, transformed within you, and returned to affect the world around you
5. Wellness is the integration of body, mind and spirit, the appreciation that everything you do, and think and feel, and believe has an impact on your state of health and the health of the world
6. Wellness is the loving acceptance of yourself, a positive self esteem and self worth

Key Concept # 1: Wellness is a process, never a static state

1. There are many degrees of wellness, just as there are many degrees of illness
2. The Illness-Wellness Continuum illustrates the relationship of the treatment paradigm to the wellness paradigm

Illness - Wellness Paradigm

1. The Neutral Point is a state where there is no discernable illness or wellness seen
2. Moving from the centre to the left shows a progressively worsening state of health
3. Moving to the right of the centre indicates increasing levels of health and wellbeing
4. The Treatment Paradigm (drugs, surgery, psychotherapy, herbs, and so on) can bring you up to the neutral point, where the symptoms of disease have been alleviated
5. The Wellness Paradigm, can be utilised at any point on the continuum,and helps you move toward higher level of wellbeing
6. The Wellness paradigm directs you beyond neutral  and encourages you to move as far toward wellness as possible
7. On the left side of the continuum, it is not meant  to replace the treatment paradigm, but to work in harmony with it
8. If you are ill,then treatment is important, but don't stop at the neutral point. Use the wellness paradigm to move toward high-level wellness
9. Even though people often lack physical symptoms, they may still be bored, depressed, tense, anxious, unhappy with their lives.
10. High-level wellness involves giving good care to your physical self, using your mind constructively, expressing your emotions effectively, being creatively involved  with those around you, and being concerned about your physical, psychological, and spiritual environments
11. High-level wellness does not preclude periods of illness and weakness, nor does it attempt to deny that death is a natural part of life
12. In fact, it is not so much where you are on the illness-wellness continuum, but which direction you are facing

Key Concept # 2: The Iceberg Model of Health

1. Illness and health are only the tip of an iceberg. To understand their causes, one must look below the surface
2. Your current state of health, is just like the tip of the iceberg. It is the one apparent to you and others
3. If you don't like it, you can attempt to change it, do something about it, take away the unwanted condition but whenever you knock some off, more of the same comes up to take its place
4. To understand all that creates and supports your current state of health, you have to look underwater

The 1st Level: Lifestyle/ Behavioural level

- what you eat?
- how you use and exercise your body?
- how you relax and let go of stress
- how do you safeguard yourself from the hazards around ?

 The 2nd Level: Psychological/ Cultural/ Motivational level

- what moves us to lead the lifestyle we have chosen?
- how powerful is the cultural norms that influence us?
- what 'payoffs' we get from being overweight, smoking, driving recklessly or from eating well, regular exercise etc

The 3rd Level: Spiritual/ Being/ Meaning Realm

- it is more of a realm than a level, it has no boundries 
- it includes the mystical and mysterious, plus everything in the subconscious mind, as well as concerns such as your reason for being, the real meaning of your life etc.

Key Concept # 3: Wellness Energy System

1. The human being is an open system- we take in energy from all the sources around us, organise it, transform it, return (decipate) it to the environment around us
2. The efficient flow of energy is essential to wellness; disease is the result of any interference with this flow
3. Think of yourself as a channel of energy whereby energy flows in, courses around, and flows out - thus, your condition (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) is going to determine how much you take in, what it feels like inside, and how it moves out into the environment
    - when the flow is balanced and smooth, you feel good
    - when there is interference at any point-the input, the output, or in between- you feel empty, confused, pressured, or blocked, the end result of this disturbance is illness

The Factors affecting health & wellbeing - protective factors

1. Safe physical environments
2. Supportive economic and social conditions
3. Regular supply of nutritious food and water
4. Restricted access to tobacco and drugs
5. Healthy public policy and organisational practice 

1. Participation in civic activities and social engagement
2. Strong social network
3. Feeling of trust
4. Feeling of power and control over life decisions
5. Supportive family structure
6. Positive self-esteem

1. Provision of preventive services
2. Access to culturally appropriate health services
3. Community participation in the planning and delivery of health services

1. Decreased use of tobacco and drugs
2. Regular physical exercise
3. Balanced nutritional intake
4. Positive mental health
5. Safe sexual activity

Factors affecting health & wellbeing - risk factors

1. Poverty
2. Low social status
3. Dangerous work
4. Polluted environment
5. Natural resource depletion
6. Discrimination (age, sex, race, disability)
7. Steep power hierarchy (wealth, status, authority) within a community and workplace

1. Isolation
2. Lack of social support
3. Poor social networks
4. Low self esteem
5. Low perceived power
6. High self blame
7. Loss of meaning or purpose
8. Abuse

1. Smoking
2. Poor nutritional intake
3. Physical inactivity
4. Substance abuse
5. Poor hygiene
6. Being overweight
7. Unsafe sexual activity

1. High blood pressure
2. High cholesterol
3. Release of stress hormone
4. Altered levels of biochemical markers
5. Genetic factors

Definitions of wellness:

1. Hatfield  defined wellness as "the consciousand deliberate process by which people are actively involved in enhancing their well-being: intellectual, physical, social, emotional, occupational and spiritual".

2. Wellness is considered to be the positive component of good health which reflects how one feels as well as one's ability to function effectively

3. Wellness is therefore a state to be attained before disease starts or even risk factors set-in

4. Wellness can be promoted and inspired for at any stage of illness so that further progress of disease and deterioration of the quality of life is prevented

Six dimensions of wellness

1. Physical fitness and nutrition
2. Emotional well-being
3. Intellectual well-being
4. Social, family, community and environment
5. Occupational aspects
6. Spiritual values and ethic
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