Everywhere you look, it seems “Health” and “Wellness” are bundled together – like coffee & cream, knife & fork, left & right. It’s like they’re inseparable.
These real-world items and descriptions are easy to discern … nobody will ever mistake a knife for a fork. But health & wellness are more vague.
So what is the difference?
I went to “The Google” to explore this, and here’s what I found:
From the dictionary:
Note how health is defined as a condition, and wellness is defined as an actively sought goal.
And therein lies the critical difference between the two. Health is a state of being, and wellness is something you do to improve it.
Maybe some more viewpoints might be:
- Health is what you are; Wellness is what you do.
- Health is a measurement; Wellness is what you do to improve it.
- Health is a noun; Wellness is a verb.
The World Health Organization says, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It’s the whole enchilada: physical ailments, emotional health and social fitness.
Meanwhile, the Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”
So, assuming good or optimal health is the goal, wellness includes all the things one does to achieve it.