Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. This healthy balance of the mind, body, and spirit results in the overall feeling of well-being. Wellness programs are designed to help achieve a state of well-being by providing services focused on the promotion or maintenance of good health rather than the correction or treatment of poor health.
Dimensions of Wellness
There are seven dimensions of wellness: physical, mental (intellectual), emotional, environmental, social, spiritual, and occupational. These dimensions are related and one can affect another, which is why it is important to address multiple dimensions in wellness programs. Wellness programs primarily target physical, intellectual, emotional, and environmental wellness, but sometimes include spiritual wellness when incorporated in a faith-based wellness program.
Wellness is a term largely associated with worksite or corporate wellness. The purpose of worksite wellness programs is to reduce the costs of health insurance claims by improving employees’ health and subsequently, maximizing the return on investment (ROI). More companies are implementing wellness programs as an employee benefit for health promotion and disease prevention and may even reduce health coverage premiums as an incentive for participation.
Although there are many levels of wellness programs, a comprehensive wellness program comprises of five components. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Healthy People 2010, the elements include health education, supportive social and physical environments, integration of the worksite wellness program into organizational structure, linkages with related programs (e.g. employee assistance program (EAP), fitness centers, etc.), and health screening programs.
Personal reasons and goals to participate in wellness programs are usually driven by the desire to have good health and a better quality of life. Living 70 years is not merely enough because people want to live 70 years without sickness or disease, which is related to the quality of life, not quantity. Engaging in health promotion efforts aid in conquering this objective.
There are many variations of wellness programs. Smaller programs may include health promotion newsletters and health education presentations, while larger programs may provide fitness centers and health screenings. Regardless of the program, the goal is to make individuals healthier.