Wellness and its Identity Crisis

How understanding the real identity of wellness will help you in 8 dimensions of your life!

By: Aya Alqarout

Aren’t wellness and wellbeing interconnected concepts? Yup, that’s true. 

And wellness is actually a synonym for health, right? Nope, that ain’t true, sis!

Wellness is often misunderstood to be the same concept as health. The word is generally used incorrectly and has become an ambiguous #hashtag with endless trending pictures and posts. Unfortunately, this leads to a lack of understanding of all the dimensions of wellness. In this blog, we are going to explore the concept of wellness in a more profound sense and distinguish it from health and wellbeing. Let’s get ready to own our power, get self-care tips, and conquer the world by thoroughly understanding wellness together!

What is wellness? 

The National Institute of Wellness considers wellness to be “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence”. Let’s probe into the meaning even more!

Girl, Do you want to know what this magical active process is like? It is a mindful, ongoing, and self-directed process to reach and achieve your potential.

The goal of wellness is to live a happy and fulfilling life, isn’t it? This will instantly give you “a more successful existence”, and “wellness” is the key, because it encloses multiple areas of our lives: emotional, financial, and social are just some of these areas.

This gives us a good base to start our journey into understanding wellness! 

How do we distinguish wellness from health?

Health and wellness are interconnected concepts. These concepts are all over the place, but don’t worry, you are in safe hands, boss babes!

Their definitions according to the World Health Organization (WHO) will help us gain a better perception of how these concepts are different:

  • Health: “the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”
  • Wellness is “the optimal state of health of individuals and groups”. A prevalent holistic view of health, as defined by the WHO in 2008, involves both the absence of sickness and a state of wellbeing.

This brings to the table a third concept, AKA wellbeing. When considering how to create a level of wellbeing, it is important to interpret wellness as a way of life. Well+being is a state of being well (happy and healthy).

The main difference between wellness and health is that wellness is the active process of gaining health while health is the goal and end result. In order to be healthy, you must first achieve wellness. Once you have achieved both, it means that you have  achieved that state of wellbeing. Wellness strongly impacts our health (mental and physical) and helps us achieve the life that we want for ourselves. Furthermore, one of the most crucial elements to a healthier and higher quality of life is wellness. 

I hope I helped you get a sneak peak into the identity crisis of wellness 😉 

Now, it is time for the big deal. What really differentiates wellness and what are its dimensions?

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness (Wellness Wheel)

Wellness encompasses eight mutually interdependent dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, vocational, financial, and environmental.

  1. Physical Wellness:

Physical wellness consists of recognizing and acting upon the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep, as well as preventing illness and injury or managing chronic health conditions.

  1. Intellectual Wellness: 

This component of wellness refers to knowledge acquisition and intellectual activity. When knowledge is acquired, it can be shared and used in developing one’s potential to improve personal growth and to make  society better. A healthy intellectual functioning contributes to an individual’s overall well-being by influencing behavior, particularly in the transformation of negative health habits into positive ones.

  1. Emotional Wellness:

Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They’re able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks.

  1. Social Wellness:

Humans are hardwired to seek connection, attunement, and validation in relationships as well as to establish a strong sense of belonging and support network. The reason why social wellness is so important is that people who have healthy relationships and a strong social network tend to live longer and respond better to stress. 

  1. Spiritual Wellness:

Spiritual wellness is about having a sense of purpose and meaning in life that revolves around your personal beliefs and values. A connection to nature, introspection, prayer, meditation, and other practices can all contribute to spiritual health.  Being spiritually healthy means you have strong values, a feeling of inner peace, and a purpose in life.

  1. Occupational Wellness: 

This is concerned with being able to gain personal fulfillment and satisfaction from paid or non-paid jobs. It encompasses one’s ability to handle multiple roles and being able to supply skills to meet the community’s needs.

  1. Environmental Wellness: 

The environment is made up of individuals’ homes, communities, work, and nature. Environmental wellness is concerned with the interaction of an individual with the environment on local and global levels.

  1. Financial Wellness:

It revolves around having satisfaction with current and future financial situations.  Attaining financial wellness gives a sense of financial security and freedom. As your financial wellness increases, so should your quality of life. Hence, you won’t be worried about these expenses that suddenly appear or about losing a job or a financial loss in your project. Instead, when these things happen, you will start singing, “It’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good!” 

Wellness tips for the finest self-care

I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you! Amazing job for reaching this far and getting this far. Our first step on our journey with wellness is about to hop to the second step. Understanding and being aware is always the first step, and we’ve reached this far.

It doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye, so don’t be hard on yourself and allow yourself to get into an active process that will give you a more successful existence. 


  • Now it is time for you to evaluate yourself. Get a notepad and rate your own wellness wheel according to each dimension of wellness. State the reasons as to why you have given yourself this rating in that dimension.
  • REFLECT, REFLECT, REFLECT! Alwaysssss reflect!
  • Hold each dimension on its own and go one by one (start with the ones you have the least rating for). Ask yourself what caused this rating for this dimension. What is the importance of this dimension to my life?


  • Do your own research because you are unique and you will go on a journey to find the most suitable method for you to get into this active process for each dimension. 


  • Trial and error is hard but yields great results, so give it a try and don’t be afraid. It is your own journey, so own it!

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