I don't know about you, but I spent a long time not understanding the difference between health, wellness and wellbeing, which I feel a little silly for saying out loud! But to be fair, I don't think I'm alone. 

These three words are commonly used interchangeably, and whilst I'm sure for many getting through life without knowing the difference is no biggy. As a founder, it was vital for me to get clarity as it would define the purpose of Potent Sapiens by Design.

But why should it matter to you? 

Words and how they are used are essential, especially when working toward health, wellness & wellbeing goals. Clarity is everything!

On researching these words, I found multiple definitions of varying degrees. For the sake of this post, I have picked the following from reputable sources:

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"

(World Health Organisation (WHO))

"Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential"

(National Wellness Institute)

"Wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well and comprises an individuals experience of life"

(UK department of health)

Now, in my opinion, these definitions don't provide clarity, and I know you are not reading this post for a text box definition! 

So let's have another go! 

Health comprises physical, mental and social wellbeing and relates to the optimal functioning of the body and mind. It is influenced by genetics, behaviour and our environment.

Wellness is an active process shaped by behaviour and choices. It is influenced by environmental factors such as sleep and light, but they do not define wellness. Wellness has an apparent physical dimension in that it is a practical way of achieving health and is firmly associated with prevention.

Wellbeing is the perception of a state of being. It is multi-dimensional and characterised by: 

  1. environmental factors such as living conditions, relationships and a sense of purpose (to name but a few)
  2. How these things are perceived. For example, fulfilment, happiness and satisfaction. 

Well-being has an apparent mental dimension in that it shapes our mentality, which influences our health.

If I were to summarise:

  • Health is the end game!
  • Both wellbeing and wellness influences health
  • Wellbeing is about mindset and perception, which varies depending on each individual and culture.
  • Wellness is empowering. It enables everyone to take their health and wellbeing into their own hands through individual behaviour and choice.

Hopefully, with this post, I've clarified the meaning behind each word and shown that it can improve your wellbeing and, in turn, your health through potent wellness interventions.

Do you have another take on the meaning of these words? If so, i'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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