The main difference between health and wellness is that health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being while wellness refers to an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence. Thus, wellness is a choice for the lifestyle.
Health is a state of being while wellness can be defined as the state of spending a healthy lifestyle through which a person can achieve good health. Thus, the goal of wellness is to enhance the overall well-being of the person. Health and wellness of a person or a country depend on overall health status. Hence, health and wellness go hand in hand. Both these are common terms in medicine and health sector.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Health
– Definition, Aspects, Nature
2. What is Wellness
– Definition, Aspects, Nature
3. What is the Relationship Between Health and Wellness
– Outline of Association
4. What is the Difference Between Health and Wellness
– Comparison of Key Differences
Medicine, Healthy, Society, Wellness, Well-being
What is Health
The WHO or the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Accordingly, WHO highlights the primary pillars of health as social, economic, and physical environments, as well as a person’s individual characteristics and behaviours. Thus, this health and well-being depend not only on external or environmental factors but also on the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the person.
Health should be the ultimate goal or condition of a person. Thus, in order to gain this status of being healthy, a person should maintain his or her physical, mental and social wellbeing, being free from diseases and ailments. Moreover, a person cannot maintain his health if he cannot avoid factors like bad eating habits, stress, depression, addictions such as alcoholism, smoking, etc. , which have a deteriorating effect on health.
Thus, in order to be free from these negative impacts on health, we have to follow a healthy lifestyle.
What is Wellness
The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence.” Likewise, wellness concerns mental, physical, social, occupational, intellectual, and emotional well-being. All these aspects affect the overall good health and wellbeing of a person.
Accordingly, the National Wellness Institute has based the concept of wellness on three tenets:
- It is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.
- It is multi-dimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment.
- In addition, it is positive and affirming.
Thus, unlike health, wellness highlights the preventive care of negative effects on the overall wellbeing of an individual. Likewise, it points out some major factors that can affect the health and wellness of a person such as stable relationships, exercise, nutrition, access to clean water, as well as, safety and security of a person’s living situation. Similarly, good maintenance of these factors also predicts long-term wellness; even if a particular issue has not yet affected a person’s wellness, it can eventually affect the overall health of the person in the long run.
Moreover, wellness is more affiliated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This refers to an array of therapies that extend beyond conventional Western medical treatments; for example, eastern medicine such as Ayurvedic medicine and other oriental or eastern medicine.
Relationship Between Health and Wellness
- Both concepts concern the overall wellbeing of people. Most importantly, wellness should be followed in order to gain good health.
Difference Between Health and Wellness
Health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Wellness, on the other hand, refers to an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward a more successful existence. Thus, this explains the basic difference between health and wellness.
Health is a state of being while wellness is a practical way of achieving health.
The main difference between health and wellness is that the main aspects of health are mental, physical and social wellbeing. However, wellness goes a few steps further, emphasising the mental, physical, social as well as occupational, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing.
Health is more related to Western medicine while wellness is more related to complementary and alternative medicine that includes eastern medicine like Ayurveda. Hence, this is another difference between health and wellness.
Health considers mental wellbeing as being free from stress or other mental diseases. In contrast, wellness focuses on mindfulness and mind training as well, in addition to general mental health.
An interesting difference between health and wellness is that health is the ultimate goal that can be achieved if a person is healthy and free from diseases while the result of wellness is the health.
Health and wellness are inter-related, yet distinguishable health concepts. The main difference between health and wellness is that health is the physical, mental and social well-being while wellness is a healthy lifestyle that has to be followed in order to gain good health. Therefore, the goal of wellness is to enhance the overall well-being of the person.
1. “The Six Dimensions of Wellness”, National Wellness Institute, Available here.
2. “Frequently Asked Questions.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 9 June 2017, Available here.
3. “Wellness: Seven Dimensions of Wellness”, University of California, Riverside, Available here.