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The term “wellness” has myriad of meanings, diverse in scope and significance—but all shares the core essence of having a sound state of being. For some, it is a state of well-being (Kozier et al., 2008), while for others it is a condition that allows an individual to address life’s numerous challenges and expectations (Laurente et al., 1997). It also means having fullness of life that allows a person to maximize his/her potentials (Taylor et al., 2005; Ryan & Deci, 2001). Others, identified its various aspects, such as knowing one’s purpose and achieving self importance, to define what wellness is all about.

Lucas and colleagues (2009) stated that “an essential ingredient of a good life is that the person herself likes her life”. Well being is measured base on one’s perception about life. It consists of the person’s emotional and logical evaluations of his or her life as a whole. These evaluations include affective reactions to events as well as cognitive and rational judgement of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment. Well being, having a wide notion of experiences with high levels of satisfying emotions and moods, and a high satisfaction upholding a real value to life.

The term quality of life (QOL) is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. Assessing quality of life having a wide range of contexts is being utilized by international development, politics and health care. Wealth and employment, environment, physical and mental state, education and profession, leisure time and recreation, and social belonging comprises the standard indicators of quality of life (Gregory et al., 2009).

Kozier and colleagues (2008) define wellness as a state of well-being—but a subjective perception of feeling well and vitality. Being well is being able to live without any problem physically, mentally, psychologically and other facets of being alive. However, being subjective—or something that depends on the person’s opinion—wellness can vary from one individual to another. Thus, what is already good to a person can be poor or not very favorable to another. Wellness, in other words, depends on a person’s worldview, insights, awareness and other things that make an individual unique.

Another group of scholars (Laurente et al., 1997) consider wellness as a person’s state or health condition, wherein he/she has the capability to adapt, perform roles, and a period of absence of any signs and symptoms of any disease. Achieving wellness, according to this framework, puts a person to a level where an individual can achieve his/her full potentials. Wellness can be considered as a catalyst to unlock hidden strengths and capabilities. Similarly, Ryan and Deci (2001) suggest that wellness is something that is complex which pertains to being able to optimize one’s function and experience. Wellness is state where one achieved a healthy combination of two conflicting approaches. The first, the Hedonic approach, focuses on happiness and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance. The other, the Eudaimonic approach, pertains to achieving meaning in life and self-realization. The latter defines well-being in terms of the extent to which a person functions completely (Ryan & Deci, 2001).

Using a top-down approach, Ryff (1989), unlike the abovementioned definitions, consider wellness as a whole made up of several parts (aspects), such as mastery of one’s environment, identifying one’s purpose in life, autonomy, positive relationships with other people, self acceptance, and achieving personal growth. Thus, the more parts (aspects of wellness) an individual has, the more proximate that person is to achieving the whole (state of wellness).

Carr and co-workers (2001), on the other hand, relegate wellness as a measure of quality of life, together with well-being. Quality of life, according to them, depends on a person’s holistic emphasis on the physical, social and emotional well-being (Carr et al., 2001). Thus, quality of life can be determined by the level of well-being and wellness a person has.

People can enrich well-being by seeking to achieve wholeness using all of the human faculties to maximize each and every potential that everyone posses and unceasingly discover to utilize all the hidden potentials, which are still unknown and untapped within a very being.

Wellness is the complete product of numerous good things, which all promote physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and psychological health. The science of happiness and life satisfaction has offer a better meaning of wellness, which is considered to be as one of the most important objectives of a person’s existence—giving meaning and purpose for a man in this journey called “life”.

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References:

  • Carr, A.J. et al. (2001). Measuring quality of life: Is quality of life determined by expectations or experience? British Medical Journal, 322, 1240–1243. Gregory, D. et al. (2009). Quality of Life”. Dictionary of Human Geography, 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-3287-9. Laurente, C.M. et al. (1997)
  • Advanced Adult Health Nursing. Philippines: UP Open University, 5, 45–56, 83–90. Lucas, R.E. et al. (2009). Subjective Well-Being: The Science of Happiness and Life Satisfaction. Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
  •  Kozier, B. et al. (2008). Kozier & Erb ’s Fundamentals of Nursing. Concepts, Process and Practice, 8th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 296–297, 12. Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E. L. (2001). On Happiness and Human Potentials: A Review of Research on Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-Being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166. Ryff, C.D. (1989).
  • Happiness Is Everything, or Is It? Explorations on the Meaning of Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5 7(6), 1069–1081. Taylor, C. et al. (2005).
  • Fundamentals of Nursing. The Art and Science of Nursing Care, 5th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 64, 11. 
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She is currently working as a medical-surgical nurse at Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman. A writer, blogger, researcher, correspondent and publication consultant for nursing journal and health-related educational websites. Her field of specialization focused on Intensive Care and Emergency Management. She is now taking up MAN major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the Philippines Open University. A nursing professor for 8 years in the Philippines and served as a staff nurse at UST hospital. A caring and devoted nurse who introduced a “Pinay Nightingale” in the land of the pharaohs. A nurse by profession, an educator by devotion and a writer / researcher by passion.