Wellness is holistic – it is more than physical health

We all strive for wellness, but what is it exactly? According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

Wellness is not passive or static, it changes the whole time. We are responsible for our own choices, behaviours and lifestyles which are significantly influenced by the physical, social and cultural environments in which we live.

We know SABMAS, as a healthcare funder, often focuses on the prominent physical dimension and the prevention of illness when we talk about wellness, but wellness is about more than just physical health. Wellness extends beyond physical health and incorporates many different dimensions that must work in harmony. That is why the National Wellness Institute in the US says that wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.

Dr Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute in the US, developed an interdependent model of wellness that includes the below six dimensions of health. When you look at the model, you see the interconnectedness of each dimension and how they contribute to healthy living:

  • Physical: The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength and vitality, as well as personal responsibility, self-care and knowing when to seek medical attention
  • Emotional: Developing self-esteem, self-control and determination as a sense of direction
  • Intellectual: Taking part in creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others
  • Spiritual: Developing belief systems, values and creating a world-view
  • Occupational: The enrichment of life through work, and its interconnectedness to living and playing
  • Social: Contributing to your environment and community, and learning how to build better living spaces and social networks

Wellness and nurturing yourself is important in keeping up your strength, resolve, motivation and inner resources. You need this to continue to give to others, like your significant other, family, co-workers and other important people in your inner circle, or the larger community around you.

When we think about wellness, we can also add financial and environmental dimensions to the list. Financial wellbeing can give you a sense of security and freedom, while environmental wellbeing promotes interaction with nature and your personal environment.

You can get more information about the holistic approach to wellness on:

Log in